From the Junior Secretary
In the past, I have had experience of running, for a few years, a well established Junior section at Leighton Buzzard A.C, in Bedfordshire. We managed a top ten finish (out of 64) in the Junior National in Milton Keynes, the high point of my time as their manager.
I have always had an interest in giving something back to angling and it was during a DDAS senior match that I suddenly realised that, out of the 23 people present, I was the youngest participant, with two exceptions. I was 47 at the time...
You don't have to be a mathematician to work out that this was not good for the future of the club.
After a couple of false starts, myself and Glenn Richards began to put together a plan to bring more Juniors in to the club.
We did a few one off events and the response was positive and, thanks to some great support from committee and club members, local fisheries and tackle shops, we started to organise some more structured Junior events in 2018.
We had a reasonably successful year. A year that highlighted some areas for improvement and changes were made for 2019.
The committee kindly agreed to send me on a course to train to be a certified level 2 angling coach and the training helped me to shape the Junior program to be more effective, with better coaching sessions and more organised matches. A Junior committee was formed to make sure we were heading in the right direction.
2019 was our first proper season with some great (and not so great) events that welcomed some new anglers to the club. Improvements in the skills of the Juniors participating was evident and I think we witnessed the birth of some new anglers for life.
Brand new trophies were purchased or donated for the 2020 AGM presentation evening and during the winter I set about writing, from scratch with help from Louise Hutchinson and Richard Butler, a structured coaching program with accompanying booklet. Coaching sessions with local schools were arranged and I even stepped right out of my comfort zone a hosted some in-school talks for up to 240 children.
Then the unthinkable happened. COVID-19...
We all suffered through 2020, some far more than others. But the momentum had gone from the previous years as priorities changed from fishing to survival.
During the many lockdowns, we didn't stop however.
Our successful Juniors from the previous year were presented with their hard earned trophies during several socially distanced or privately filmed presentations that were edited and put on to You Tube.
I wrote 4 more booklets for our Juniors as well as designing and launching our own Junior website.
A clothing range was created to help our Juniors feel part of something special and show representation of the club when they were out fishing.
Our coaching team swelled from four to eight, with many more available to help if needed.
We did manage to host three events in the summer of 2020, but it wasn't to last an we were forced to close once more for the rest of the year.
Now, on the eve of our first event of 2021, the world has changed completely and the way we will have to conduct our events will need to change too.
But there is an atmosphere of renewal and I am determined to get back what we had lost in 2020.
In time we hope to be bigger and better than ever. Teaching more new anglers about our great sport of Coarse fishing with Dorchester & District Angling Society.