The Belonging in Bowls program is a great way to develop as well as get great rewards like marketing resources to help you promote your club! We interviewed three clubs who have finished the program for their thoughts and experiences. Hear about Calgary Lawn Bowling Club’s experience below!
- Can you provide an example of how your club used or implemented the Safe Sport Foundation program (can be in general, or specific to one component of the program)?
We started the different levels of the program and then worked our way down the steps. So for us, when I brought it to the board of directors, they were very overwhelmed by the information, which was one of the biggest struggles of the program, but we would break it down into smaller tasks. That helped them, and others, to understand more of what Safe sport entailed.
2. What were some of the benefits that you experienced during or after completing the program?
One of the key benefits we experienced after completing this program was first the key message to the broader community of the importance of our commitment to safe sport and welcoming and inclusive lawn bowling for everyone. We made sure that message was also available on our website. For the broader community, this message actually helped to increase our membership.
Another benefit was ensuring participants have a clear understanding of what the code of conduct and ethics meant. This program helped us do that!
3. In your opinion, what were 2-3 of the most important learnings or outcomes of the BiB program?
The most important would be more of the top-down approach when it comes to safe sport. We needed to get the club board members’ support to be successful in completing the program.
It really helped to have those templates and resources within the program as the guide when implementing at the club level.
The increase in membership at the club was also a benefit of the program!
4. What were some challenges you encountered while working through the BiB program, and how did you overcome them?
Some of the initial challenges would be making sure the club and the board understand the program and the end goal of the program. At our past AGM we talked a bit about unexpected behaviors and messages we want to ensure we promote within our club environment. Also making a point for all participants to clearly understand Safe Sport and that these procedures are the new normal for the club.
5. Did you use the rewards (marketing material, services, etc.) that were provided at the completion of each level in the program? If yes, how so?
Yes! For the awards, we haven’t used a lot like on our social media we have them posted on our website. We have the posters posted up on our clubhouse and then the customized materials created for us that promote the safe, welcoming, and inclusive sport, are all on our website as well.
6. What is one piece of advice you would give to clubs starting or currently working through the program?
One piece of advice I would give to clubs that are starting or currently working through the process is not to try to get overwhelmed. Just keep in mind to start with the first step.
When it comes to the safe sport members pledge, what we did at Calgary Lawn, instead of having another piece of paper, we put that directly on our membership form. Because we already have the liability form and the membership form, instead of another piece of paper, putting that on your membership form helps a lot.
I helped Calgary Lawn with the Safe Sport Foundation, but I have also helped the provincial associations through this as well. I think the top-down approach would probably be the best; where you get your provincial associations to do the stuff and it goes down the line. That would be my biggest advice for this, and it would help other clubs across the country too.
7. Now that you have completed the program, what does Safe Sport mean to your club and members?
It basically means that everybody is here to be their authentic self. And to come and play regardless of who they are.
8. In your opinion, was the BiB Safe Sport Foundation program helpful in creating or reinforcing a safe, inclusive, welcoming, and fun environment at your club? If yes, how so?
I believe that Calgary Lawn has always been that way. But you may encounter those few members or those few people that are kind of difficult, but this program gives you a foundation of how to handle these situations better. It helped not only with just members, but also the governance side of Calgary Lawn because the By-Laws were very vague on how to handle these situations, so it gives more of a foundation of this is how we go about creating solutions.
Before the board used to deal with things or other people used to deal with things, now when complaints come in, they actually send that to the Safe Sport Officer. If the complaints come in, now there’s a process!
Update from Calgary LBC
Since completing the Safe Sport Foundation in Belonging in Bowls, Calgary LBC has integrated a Safe Sport announcement at the start of their men’s and women’s tournaments, as well as, at the start of their weekend jitneys. Calgary LBC has a very dedicated Board and leadership, including a hard-working Safety Officer and a Head Coach that fully supports the Safe Sport protocols and practices. They emphasize the importance of Safe Sport (both the understanding and implementation) within the leadership, which provoked the creation and use of the following announcement:
“Calgary Lawn is an accredited SAFE SPORT CLUB and is committed to ensuring that all our members and guests enjoy our sport in a safe, positive & inclusive environment that is free from HARSSAMENT, MISTREATMENT, or ABUSE of any kind. Calgary Lawn’s Code of Conduct and Ethics ensures our club is a safe environment at all times. We ask that you, as members and participating today, will lead by example and do your part in making our club a safe, welcoming, and inclusive place for everyone. Have a great day bowling and enjoy each other’s competitive spirit.”
This announcement is being used at the start of each event. Club members greatly appreciate the announcement as it reinforces the notion that creating a safe sport environment is not only a concern for members, but also needs member involvement to achieve this goal!
Become a Belonging in Bowls Champion by promoting your club as fun, safe and welcoming !
The Safe Sport Foundation promotes the sport of Bowls as a welcoming, inclusive, safe, and fun game for all by encouraging clubs to implement policies, procedures, and practices that align. BCB has created templates that your club can easily use and/or customize. The program also helps your club develop through resources such as promotional and marketing material and consultations with Bowls Canada staff. The program begins with the Safe Sport Foundation, which has 3 levels and by completing simple steps toward being a safer and more inclusive club, your club can receive professionally developed social media posts and ads, a credit to boost these ads, and a promotional video and radio ad to attract new participants to their club.
Please feel free to contact Samantha Burelle at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.