AWSA E&F Meeting

USA-WS Headquarters

April 20, 2001

Present: Don Bucher, Will Bush, Mark Crone (AAC), Jim Grew, Nikki Lee, Steve Lohr, Sherm Schraft (PP) and Steve McDermeit (ED). Missing: Rhoni Barton (AAC)

MAIN AGENDA

2002 BOD MEETING HOTEL: The E&F recommends that we choose an official hotel down town despite the added room night expense. (Approved by USA-WS E&F)

2003 NATIONALS: The E&F agrees to allow bids to be presented at the 2002 August BOD meeting for this event and for a vote to be taken, with time for discussion, by Email, immediately after. This process would allow Lago Santa Fe to make a bid, and the BOD to judge how well Lago Santa Fe fulfilled its bid in hosting the 2002 event.

U.S. OPEN: Terry Eberhardt, Tournament Director, would like to add a wakeboarding event as exhibition on Friday. It is important that we retain the "and Wakeboard" name because of our trademark. There were concerns about the fact that the pro slalom and jump skiersí prize money requests were not met. At this late date, with HQ taking back the event two months ago, it was not possible to address these requests, but we will work towards doing so for 2002.

MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND RENEWAL: Steve McDermeit provided a summary of the new programs, much of which had been mailed to the committee and BOD. New areas discussed were:

A. Radius Mailings: New software using zip codes allows HQ to produce direct mailings for any category of member within a given area, for example prior to major events such as the Masters, U.S Open and Nationals, to be used to encourage event attendance and upgrading to Active or to promote NSL events. Other examples are a mailing to NCWSA members done to encourage NSL and NWL attendance and another to 1500 guest members. The key is to focus on those members who are apt to attend and/or upgrade.

B. Listbot (Email list of USA-WS members): This growing database was used to solicit renewal and upgrades (1000).

C. Collaborative: Americasí Team formal grouping of 35-40 NGBs and sport governing entities could be finalized soon allowing for new avenues to solicit membership and advertisers and to sell product.

D. Ski School Solicitation: HQ is working with ski schools to get mailing lists of their students for direct mailings.

E. Increase Exposure: HQ is attempting to increase its exposure by having ads and news in a greater range of magazines.

F. Multi Package Sanctioning Pilot Program: With select clubs in WI, HQ is trialing a learn-to-ski clinic, max. 20 guest members per clinic, package for $100.

G. Using Overtonís Mailing List: The plan is to cross-reference this list to target certain groups on this list.

H. World Publications: Discussions are in process to use their magazine for membership promotion.

I. NSL Newsletter: This letter is sent to all industry

AWSA asks that HQ (1) concentrate on tracking the effectiveness of all these efforts, (2) be able to inform AWSA exactly how its $10,000 membership development allocation was spent and (3) research what happens to junior family members the year after they age out (Are they receiving a renewal mailing?). The initial mail out was late due to the move, but HQ was back on schedule by the end of March with membership processing. In fact, the second mail out was more effective than last yearís.

There was a lengthy discussion on the entire membership renewal process. There are more members compared to last year because of the continued shift from active to supporting, but dollars are down slightly. The consensus was that USA-WS needs to start its renewal process much earlier and have a specific, definitive process with a timeline announced to the BODs. Our committee recommends the following for USA-WS E&F consideration:

A. Earlier renewal effort with first mailing around October 1, the second to arrive by December 1.

B. Improved tracking.

C. Offer multi-year renewal with or even without incentive and cheaper post-Regionals membership.

D. Allow outside companies to take over with the renewal process after the initial mailings.

E. Last copy of magazine should be in calendar year with notice of renewal to maintain subscription.

(The USA-WS E&F agreed that the above suggestions be considered.)

BUDGET UPDATE

Other than membership renewal, most programs are just starting, so it is difficult to get a precise idea of what our financial picture looks like. Two areas of concern are the cost of utilities in the new building (electric & water) and the U.S. Open. The former results from problems that have been resolved by building a well and putting the lights on a timer. The latter stems from the fact that we are not licensing the Open as planned and receiving the expected licensing fee, but actually running the event, having to raise funds for sponsorship and to cover part of the costs. Another area is that of direct sales of magazine ads, which is way below target. On the plus side are that U.S. Team T-shirt sales have already exceeded budget now that HQ has taken over the entire process again and that Towboat Test income will increase due to the testing of Ski Fly (and Wake board for USA-WS) boats.

CONFERENCE CALL: This August call will only take place if needed.

AWSA E&F FALL MEETING: This meeting will take place on Saturday, December 8, in Orlando.

AWSA E&F/BOD MEETING TIMES (January, 2002): The E&F recommends the following to USA-WS E&F and its own BOD: AWSA E&F at 2 PM, Friday, January 18 and the AWSA BOD at 8 AM, Saturday, January 19. (Endorsed by USA-WS E&F) Note that USA-WS E&F would meet on Friday morning, the USA-WS BOD on Sunday pending the necessary BOD approvals. This recommendation will be presented for consideration at the August BOD meeting. The AWSEF board of trustees has been informed of this possibility.

USA WATER SKI TRICK SKIING ASSOCIATION: This is a new organization similar to the other event organizations (PASS slalom & jump) and has been formed to promote tricks. AWSA welcomes this effort to promote our sport. USA-WS has donated funds for a mailing to all trick skiers because it develops the sport and its membership, similar to our support for WOW. AWSA would like to see this organization supported no matter what form its affiliation with us takes. Concern was expressed about the name being similar to that for USA-WS and the chance for confusion. Steve McDermeit will convey this concern to the organization as well as the need to keep a positive tone in all communications.

 

STRATEGIC PLANNING SESSION

OVERALL ISSUE TO RESOLVE

Declining Membership/Declining Tournament Participation

GOALS

1. Cater to the top of the pyramid people (competition, Class C and above -7500).

2. Bring the second tier of this pyramid into the top group (Class F/ski club/ski school - to Class C).

3. Draw the third tier (boat owners, etc.) into the mix.

We do not have the means to reach the 9.6 million skiers (fourth tier/bottom of the pyramid). We need to energize our sport to make it attractive to achieve all three of these goals and bridge the gap between the tiers by selling our services and making individuals aware of these services and their value.

OVERALL GOAL: INCREASE MEMBERSHIP IN ALL THREE GROUPS (TIERS)

PROBLEMS/BARRIERS

1. lack of visibility of our sport as being practiced

2. introverted attitude of those already performing sport

3. value of sport and its NGB not known

4. difficulty of performing sport

5. Difficult access to facilities to perform sport

6. The fact that we do not control every element to affect change

CURRENT ACHIEVEMENTS

1. USA-WSí efforts in new program membership development are currently geared to bringing membership from the third tier into the second.

- USA-WS is already doing an excellent job in energizing the transition from tier three to tier two (packaging/ski leagues). Now we need to get this information out to more entities, more persons (expand the universe we contact).

2. USOC contributions go to the very top of the top tier and have increased our service to that small group tremendously.

SOLUTIONS

1. Incorporate true competition into the water ski tournament system.

2. Put the fun factor/the "event" back into the tournament scene in addition to the actual skiing.

3. Add other types of skiing (wide ski skiing, wake boarding, etc.)

HOW TO ACHIEVE SOLUTIONS

1. Promotion

2. Change tournament experience

3. More goal levels

4. Add intermediate stages

5. Optional tournament format

IMMEDIATE SOLUTION

Create Optional Tournament Formats (overall consisting of x scores from x events (slalom, tricks, jump, wide ski, wake board, ski fly, kneeboard, etc.). The following is a list of possibilities with some duplication:

-Require C & F sanctioning

-Develop rules format to include wake boarding

-Unite slalom and wake boarding to increase youth involvement

-Implement the above two at Ski League level

-Create tournament formats that allow for less restrictive venues

-Write articles in Water Skier about these possibilities

-Allow C to add wide body slalom events organized by ability

-Offer a variety of options in sanctioning process itself without imposing additional requirements, outlining value and offering incentives for doing so

-Define and accept the above as a national policy

-Create a simplified tournament manual describing different formats that emphasize competition

-Emphasize novel formats that are exciting (team scoring, placement, etc.)

-Create a new separate, enhanced classification of tournament that would allow and encourage the use of one or more of these novel, optional formats without imposing it upon sponsors or requiring it, but offering incentives to do so.

IMMEDIATE PLAN

HQ will look into implementing the final suggestion above, working with the E&F.