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BOC day two mixes education with fun

June 11, 2023

Day two of Curl BC’s 2023 Business of Curling symposium, at the Chilliwack Curling Club, hit the ground running with a blockbuster presentation by Curling Canada’s manager of club development, Bobby Ray. Ray’s talk was titled The (Future) Business of Curling, and in it he outlined the blurred lines that can sometimes separate the sometimes competing concepts of a social sporting club and a for-profit business.

Bobby Ray

Next up was Shaminda Perera, of Volunteer Canada, whose The Future of Volunteerism spoke to the need for consistent volunteer recruitment and management. During his presentation, he stressed making community connections, and making sure that volunteers are provided with meaningful opportunities.

Shaminda Perera

Andrew Paris, a curler, coach, and founder of the Black Rock Initiative, which helps BIPOC youth experience curling, addressed the subjects of diversity and fairness with Curling and Inclusion: How to Truly Move Forward Together. He covered a number of related issues including privilege, allyship, and bias, and encouraged clubs to reach out to historically marginalized communities. They most important element in any contact, he noted, is to build a climate of trust.

Andrew Paris

The first afternoon presentation was scheduled to be delivered by Cheryl Humphrey, who was unfortunately unable to make it out to Chilliwack, but she graciously forwarded her presentation – It Takes a Village to Build the Future of Curling – to Bobby Ray, who stood in for her. Ray proved to be a great alternate, and spoke to the need for engagement at the community level to grow membership and a volunteer base.

Following that, Jeph Maystruck of Strategy Lab gave a raucous talk entitled Stop Selling, Start Caring: 10 Shifts in Digital Marketing, which detailed a viewer-friendly approach to social media, based on creating conversations and true connection with others. The party atmosphere of Maystruck’s talk provided plenty of laughs, and even created a windfall for some of those lucky enough to receive scratch-off lottery tickets as incentives.

Jeph Maystruck

An instructional seminar by Bobby Ray explored the world of the online graphic design in Getting Started with Canva. A powerful tool for the marketing of curling clubs, Canva can be used to design everything from event posters to social media graphics to mass mailings. And, as Ray demonstrated, it’s simple to get started on and easy to use.

Ray followed that up with Recruiting and Retaining Curlers of the Future, describing how to not only bring people in the door, but to transform them into long-term curlers.

The evening’s banquet was a lively affair, consisting of roast beef with all the trimmings. As dessert was served, Curl BC CEO Scott Braley took the opportunity to hand out a few of the awards announced at this year’s AGM. The first recipients was Rick Robinson, for Adaptive Athlete of the Year.

A tireless advocate for wheelchair curling and a staunch supporter of Curl BC’s Try Wheelchair Curling program, Robinson represented BC at the Canadian Wheelchair Championships and has been invited to participate at the 55+ Games, and is also the 2022-23 BC Wheelchair Curling Champion. He’s known for his selfless assistance to other wheelchair curlers, lifting them up with help and advice.

Rick Robinson with Curl BC Governor Morgan Lypka and Curl BC Chair Brenda M’Clellan

Next came the U21 Team of the Year, which went to Team Holly Hafeli of Kamloops. who won the 2023 BC U18 championship, took first place in the Refresh Carpet Junior Tour Event, and still had time to volunteer at their club, in their community, and at the 2023 Scotties. The award was accepted by Monica Makar and Jorja Kopytko.

Curl BC Chair Brenda M’Clellan, Jorja Kopytko, Monica Makar, and Curl BC Governor Morgan Lypka

The Janette Robbins Builder Award was awarded to Nando Saviulo, who is a tireless promoter of curling in the Kootenays, and has created a website—buzzysbuzzword—which connects and informs curlers. He’s also a firm believer in and supporter of grass roots curling and can always be counted on to lead by example.

Nando Saviulo with Curl BC Chair Brenda M’Clellan and Curl BC Governor Morgan Lypka

The Williams Lake Curling Club was awarded Curling Centre of the Year Award (accepted by Rick Miller), which organized great events, fundraised extensively for its community, and made huge strides toward accessibility, proving that such work is possible in any community. At the end of June, Rick Hansen will be joinging them to dedicate their new elevator.

Rick Miller with Curl BC Chair Brenda M’Clellan and Curl BC Governor Morgan Lypka

The crowd was also treated by an appearance by Neil Imada, who was happy to show off his silver medal from the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island.

Neil Imada with Curl BC CEO Scott Braley

Curl BC’s most prestigious honour, Life Membership, was awarded to Dale Gregory. A curler since high school, Gregory has been one of curling’s hardest-working and most steadfast volunteers. This celebration of a lifetime of service and friendship—including six years on the Curl BC board—garnered rapturous applause, as well as a standing ovation.

Dale Gregory with Curl BC Chair Brenda M’Clellan and Curl BC Governor Morgan Lypka

Following the awards, Curl BC was thrilled to welcome Lisa Axelson, who presented a donation $2,500 from the Canadian Firefighters Curling Association, earmarked for the development of youth curling. Thank you to the firefighters for their gracious and generous donation!

Lisa Axelson presents a chequr from the Canadian Firefighters Curling Association to Curl BC CEO Scott Braley