CPA welcomes any members that wish to become more involved in the running of the club – from dive organisation to committee posts.
If you would like to help organise any aspect of the club – or have a burning desire to dive a particular destination but don’t know how to get involved just ask a committee member at the club – or come to a committee meeting on the first Tuesday of each month. We would love to hear from you, and you might be surprised at how easy it is to get great results and a feeling of real satisfaction.
For more information, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do little things that make a big difference
New divers often stuck for kit, so offer to loan your kit to them when not needed. Donate old kit to the club for training use. Check who else lives in your area and offer to share lifts to the pool/pub/dives. Get lots of your friends to do try-dives and earn the club a little cash. If can give free access to computer design, printing, photocopying, laminating, storage facilities etc., offer to help produce handouts or merchandise, or keep things whatever. Volunteer for valuable non-elected roles: assistant D.O., T.O., E.O., or Soc Sec; newsletter editor, webmaster or whatever. Become lottery syndicate organiser (see “… Operate the lottery syndicate”) and make it happen on a regular basis. Buy CPA tee-shirts, polo shirts and caps, end get others to do so. Offer to fill club cylinders every now and then, store club kit and take it to pool and back each week for a period to spread the load. Organise a personal social event like a house party, barbecue, or night out in a pub/restaurant/disco etc. Run special events like golf ball dives, carnival stalls, get-togethers with other clubs. Get everyone playing silly games in the pool on club nights. Think of anything that might be fun, sociable, entertaining, even a little earner … and just go for it. It’s an ‘executive’ style club, don’t wait for committees and groups decisions – if you’re happy it’s in the club’s interest, just take the initiative and do it.
Give lectures & pool training to novices
People gave up their time to lecture you. Return the favour. Take on a novice or volunteer to lecture occasionally. Helps the club but also most find it enjoyable. Big advantage is keeping your diving current. Everyone forgets theory or gets slack on skills. Teaching others a great way to refresh learning. Even with perfect memory, remember that dive lectures change & new things discovered. Lecturing keeps you up to date. Ring/e-mail the Training Officer to agree novice to train or dates to lecture.
Do a try-dive
Generally: safety 1st naturally, but try to make big fun close second. Guest may be nervous – always be confident, relaxed & reassuring. Remember ‘Brief’ in ‘briefings’ – guests here to dive not listen to lecture. Well beforehand: check guest has no medical problems; find if has mask, fins & snorkel; make sure date, time, directions known; tell to bring old tee shirt. Check dates with Training Officer to ensure equipment & air fills available Get medical waiver/disclaimer forms, info pack and try-dive certificate from committee member. If guest is friend or family, consider underwater camera. Younger guests may get a thrill if ‘treasures’ for them to ‘find’ in the pool. On the day, arrive early & pre-assemble own kit. Pre-place “treasures” or hoops underwater. When guest arrives, introduce yourself. Try to remember guest’s name. Show where to change & remind about safety, securing valuables, and removing shoes. Explain aim to have fun, so guest free to make requests. Ensure guest completes medical waiver / disclaimer forms before diving. Check mask fit carefully . Find most comfy BCD & fins. Assemble guests kit, briefly explaining what it does. Pre-dive briefing: crucial to stress “never hold your breath” & explain ear clearing (stay shallow if problems). Go through key signals: submerge, ear trouble, go up, swim this way, kneel down, stay put, watch me etc. In general, always explain what’s about to happen, give good eye contact underwater, and stick close. Enter water in shallow end & kit up in pool. Show how buoyancy aid works (but you do it for them normally). Check guest’s equipment carefully & fit light weightbelt if needed. Get guest to kneel down underwater for few breaths to see how DV feels. Surface & check guest happy. Swim width underwater, holding on to guest. If ok, steadily progress to deeper water, always checking they can ear-clear. If guest seems confident, see if wants to do barrel rolls, somersaults, hoop swim-throughs etc… Only do diving ‘drills’ if guest expresses interest. Take photos if appropriate. Post-Dive: ask if the guest enjoyed it, and if did well, say so. Ask if any questions about this, diving in general, or club. If guest seems keen, offer an information pack. Make sure get a CPA try-dive certificate. If done on try-dive voucher, give this to the treasurer to cross-check that voucher paid for, else ask guest to give money to you or treasurer. Give medical waiver and disclaimers to D.O. for filing.
Organise and run a Social Event
Socials really important in keeping club together, getting everyone to know everyone else, retaining members and having fun. Traditionally, CPA does things like skittles evenings, barbecues, nights out, 60’s discos. Also done activities like decorating. Easiest ones to organise are ones that don’t need booking – parties, discos, pub crawls, days out to theme parks etc. Ones that need booking must have minimum numbers else risk losing big money. Best idea is to get commitment in form of payment up front before booking for definite. If falls through, return cheques/cash, if not, take money and if then can’t make it see if can sell ticket on for them (but after all spaces filled!). Needs to be done well in advance though. Make sure bookers given either ticket or receipt else can be big arguments later. As with holidays, hard to do it by committee – just come up with good ideas and go for it. Delegate to others in club – get them to sell event and raffle tickets to maximise income/participation. Think about pricing event tickets. Often a good idea to offer very cheap rates for children to encourage whole family participation. If enough interested, then book venues, DJs, bands etc and pay deposits. Good to include a raffle in evening events to raise a bit of extra cash. Ask around club well in advance for prize donations. Often get given bottles of booze, perfumes, chocolates, camera films, amusing trinkets etc., especially of it’s not long after Christmas! If prizes looking poor, club can buy bigger prizes as long as confident raffle will make a profit.
Run a fund raising event
Previous ideas include car boot sales, golf ball dives, public raffles, and group try-dives. New ideas always welcome.
Organise the RESCUE event
Every March since around 1994, CPA’s helped with Rivers & Environmental Spaces Clean-Up Event (RESCUE – originally “Cleaner Kennett Campaign”, see RESCUE overview & pics). Preparations starts around July for following year. Club contacted by one of organisers from Reading council. If not, ring them on RESCUE hotline. Regular meetings leading up to event – they sort out sites, timings, advertising, plans, radios, boat cover, food & drink, permissions, St John Ambulance, rubbish disposal, media coverage, etc. CPA gets usually 8-12 divers to help in one or more sites. Apart from contribute to meetings, main thing to do is drum up support and plan safe diving. Ensure proper shore/boat cover. Make sure all have warm suits & surface clothing as river very cold in March. Bring oxygen, first aid kits & A-flag. If split site working, make sure sites in phone/radio contact to get help/oxygen/1st aid in incident. Make sure plenty of ropes to hand to pull out rubbish. Brief divers: use tough gloves – sharp objects often retrieved; agree rope/bubble signals as dangerous if shore crew pulling while diver snagged; make sure nobody throwing grapples while divers down. Otherwise, much same as for other river dives (see “… Run a River Dive”). Try to guess how many dives to be done by each diver to see if extra air needed. Most divers had enough by end of single cylinder though. Usual for teams to be invited for drinks/sandwiches after event so arrange for divers to be warm & dry in time. Press/TV/Radio often around so give interviews and try to get a plug for CPA (including contact phone number ideally).
Run St. Gabriel’s Gala try-dives
Traditionally, every year CPA does try-dives for pupils of St. Gabriel’s Girls school in Newbury, at annual Gala. Normally the third Saturday in June and weather invariably really good. Pupils are junior school age (6-11ish). Typically charge couple of pounds or so per dive, take out air/servicing costs and split proceeds between CPA and school funds. Event great fun. Girls thrilled by scuba experience and CPA members usually pleased they did it. Pupils often come back for second and third goes. Open air school pool used – very clean clear water & always heated. Organised through head teacher Jenny Felton (see CPA directory for number). Publicise well in advance of event and get people to put in diaries. Make sure no hardboat dives planned that day (or ideally weekend). Really need three or four divers plus the same on surface to decant air and do forms/certificates. Ten people a good number. Because pupils small, need special equipment. This borrowed from John Young (also see directory): small cylinders on backpacks, sets of small masks and fins, decanting rig and a couple of 15 litre bottles to decant from. Make sure all filled before going and try to get plenty of extra air. Of course, take usual safety gear: oxygen and first aid kit. Need to take loads of disclaimer forms for guardians to sign. Mustn’t do try-dive without this signed. Also take CPA try-dive certificates to give out on completion. Important to have non-diver helpers to do paperwork and money handling. Good idea to bring folding table & chairs, and pre-drawn posters for “check-in desk”. Also take float of change, sandwiches, flasks of hot drinks. Good idea for divers to use 3mm suits and have coat for periods of non-diving – although warm water, in there all afternoon. Dives themselves like other try-dives (see “… Do a try-dive”) with allowances for tinies. For dive itself, remember many won’t even be able to swim. Hold on to all but boldest good swimmers throughout dive (holing first stage is good – feel less ‘mothered’). Some may need holding onto securely throughout dive: not unusual for them to be scared but still keen to do it. Check masks fit well & try several if not. Take it very steady in shallow end to be sure won’t freak before going to “deep” end (2.5m). Always praise & re-assure, never tell off or make feel useless, watch for any sign of panic and either sort out or abandon try-dive. Congratulate at end. They’ll love it, so will you.
Operate the lottery syndicate
CPA has lottery syndicate system when anyone bothers to run it. Each week, members buy a number of ‘goes’ at a pound each. First ones to go pick a number for ticket. If up to 8 pounds raised, that number of lottery tickets bought with same numbers for that number of successive lottery draws (could easily change this if preferred to be that number of lucky dips for one week). If more than 8 pounds, surplus goes into club funds. If any ticket a winner, prizes up to £30,000<<??>> go to club funds for new boat etc. For prizes over this, first £30,000 goes to club and rest split between those who bought goes on winning ticket. Split according to number of goes bought – effectively one pound buys one share of remaining winnings. Works well if run weekly, builds up steady extra club income and ‘just maybe’…
Organise the Annual Christmas dinner
CPA has a Christmas Dinner every year without fail. Choose venue well in advance. Much later than June and dates start getting restrictive. Before March gives good choice. If possible pick venue that whole family can enjoy. Try to get prices for under-18s that keeps family cost down. Venues have varied. Safest is hotel meal (past venues are Trust House near A33, and Winning Hand on A4 near Theale – both good). More adventurous ideas have been: mediaeval meal at “Knights Out” theme restaurant in Reading, riverboat meal on the Caversham Princess from Piper’s Island, and meal on steam train chuffing along the Watercress line in Alresford. All great fun. Once venue decided, will have to book well in advance. This is one social event club takes a risk on. Club will pay deposit. Once minimum number of guests known, important then to be sure to fill places so club doesn’t lose out. Nearer the day (October/November AGM a good place to start), get tickets printed and delegate ticket sales to several other members. Also traditional to have a raffle at Christmas Dinners (see end of “Organise and run a Social Event”). Around October/November too, agree who should get “Aquanaut of the year” cup. Retrieve in plenty of time from current holder to have engraved with this year’s winner. Traditionally, cup then presented at Christmas Dinner.