2014-2015 Membership Structure and Fees

Friday September 12th, 2014

 

By now, many of you will have noticed that effective for the 2014-2015 season, the recreational level memberships have been eliminated and there are no doubt have questions as to why.  Here is some information to help clarify.

Background

The recreational level memberships were only introduced four years ago to address liability issues arising from clubs registering only members that wanted to compete.  Clubs were surveyed and the response was that the clubs would register all their members if a recreational option was available.  Consequently, a structure which included lower fees for recreational Judoka was researched and implemented on a trial basis with the understanding that all clubs would register all members.

What Actually Happened

  • Very few clubs took advantage of the opportunity to register all their members and recruit new members and instead had many of their full members switch to recreational memberships.  This significantly cut the revenue the association had to work with to provide programs to the membership and Judo Ontario has lost money each year since the introduction of the recreational membership structure.
  • Administration proved to be very challenging for Judo Ontario and Judo Canada.  Upgrades by individuals from recreational to full membership were not always as simple as paying the difference between recreational and full membership fees and the additional administration was costing Judo Ontario members in the form of delays with other administration and also additional Judo Canada fees as well.
  • Tournament and clinic directors faced a very difficult task of policing the membership levels when accepting registrations for their events as event audits revealed that sometimes recreational members participated in tournaments and clinics.
  • Recreational members who were mildly interested in competition weren't upgrading because it was yet another step they had to do and it became somewhat of a barrier.  This contributed to lower tournament participation and created poor competition experiences for many full members who would then decide to register as recreational the following year, effectively creating a vicious cycle.

Important Notes to Consider

  • The current fee levels are closely aligned with the fees place in 2009-2010 season before the recreational level memberships were introduced.
  • There is an estimated 6000 to 10,000 members actually practicing Judo in Ontario and the association would be able to lower rates considerably if they were all registered with the association.
  • Judo Ontario fees are lower than most other activities.  Also, Judo is an Olympic Sport and as such is required to have more programs and higher standards than non-Olympic sports.  Consequently the association has higher costs to sustain those programs.
  • Besides Membership Fees, Judo Ontario has three other sources of income, each of which comes with a limitation:
    • Government Grants - which have been in decline over the past few years
    • Events - with fewer attendees these revenues are at risk
    • Nevada - which can only be used for youth program delivery
  • It was announced at the Annual General Meeting in 2013 that recreational memberships would be eliminated unless there was a significant increase in membership for the 2013-2014 season.

After careful consideration of the effect the recreational membership levels were having on the association and membership, the Board decided it was best to discontinue the recreational level memberships and investigate other ways to address the liability and membership registration issues.

We assure you this was not an easy decision.  The Board considered at least seven full proposals for a membership structure with lower fees, which were reviewed and debated by the entire board over several weeks.  Ultimately, it was decided that without knowing how many recreational members would re-register under this new structure, it would be financially irresponsible to lower fees.

We hope you will understand Judo Ontario's position and support these changes.  Many clubs have already reported success in the shift and most families have not taken too much issue with the change.

 

Thanks for your understanding and support.

 

Sincerely,
Judo Ontario Board of Directors

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