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2017 Annual Awards - Club of the Year Awards Part 2

We continue to take a look at our finalists for the Club of the Year Awards in preparation for the 2017 Annual Awards that will take place on 25th November, 6.30pm at JetPark in Auckland.

The District Winners for the Club of the Year Awards are as follow:

  • Northland - Whangarei Squash Club
  • Auckland - North Shore Squash Club
  • Waikato - Awards Night Not Happened
  • Bay of Plenty - Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre
  • Central - Awards Night Not Happened
  • Wellington - Tawa Squash Club
  • Canterbury - Malvern Squash Club
  • Midlands - Temuka Squash Club
  • Southland - Makarewa Squash Club

Winners from each of the 11 regional District Associations are put forward as contenders for the coveted National Award, which is aligned with the Squash New Zealand Strategic Plan: 'Squash on the Move'.

When deciding a judging panel considers the contribution to and achievements in the following objectives:

  • Participation Growth - increasing the number of people playing and participating in community squash
  • International Success - club members achieving success at significant regional / national events
  • Welcoming Facilities - improving the condition, accessibility and utilisation of club spaces and places
  • Financial Health - governing and managing the club to provide financial sustainability
  • Unified Delivery - working with the District and Squash New Zealand to deliver squash in the community

Our second finalist for the Club of the Year is the Makarewa Squash Club. Makarewa Squash Club was incorporated in 1972 and the one court was built by a few of the local farmers. Another court was added a few years later as the membership grew and it has served the local community very well over the last 40 years. Improvements made over the last few years have made the club a warm and inviting place to play squash and socialise with the other members and their families. The club has a great committee who are continually working together to create opportunities for their members and also to promote and encourage new players to our game and club. Weekly throughout the year they offer Club Night 20-25 players, Social League 32 players every 7 weeks, new players being added all the time, Interclub Teams throughout the season 70 members participated in this, Wednesday Whacker throughout the off season (20 players), Ladies training 6-8 members (pre season), Senior players drill sessions 6 members, Junior training Sundays and have increased this to Monday's also over the last couple of terms involving 10-12 juniors which includes members and non-members, Junior League for new and existing lower graded players started as an off season option for junior players (15 children).

During the summer months one of the Junior players offered summer training weekly to club members and an Adult beginners evening was run to help increase numbers into social league and this proved to be very successful with the majority of them now playing weekly social league.

In addition to this the club works alongside local school offering time on court to the senior pupils of the primary school at the club which involves 70 children.

Throughout the year Makarewa have run 2 one-day tournaments for J grade and below as well as ungraded players to offer them the experience of playing squash. This involved 56 children. They organised with the local Coachforce Officer to hold 2 coaching modules at the club which involved 8 of their own club members and 4 members from other clubs and also 2 of our members attended another module at a neighbouring club.

They currently have 2 club members who are Development Coaches for Squash Southland and this season they have had record numbers playing in their tournaments with the pre-season Masters having 38 entries, Makarewa Open 88 and Makarewa Juniors 40. The junior numbers were increased by offering an ungraded section in the tournament.

The committee last year organised a charity tournament raising money for Look Good Feel Better organisation which was supported well and a huge success. This year they are again running this tournament for women and are organising a Blue September Tournament for the men supporting Prostate Cancer as well.

The club has set up a Club Challenge with a neighbouring club, involving 12 playing club members and a bunch of supporters for an enjoyable night of squash and also as a club they have got their Town v Country members playing off in a cricket tournament back in the summer as a great club social day.

They again held their club champs at a later date (October/November) to cater for their farming members after lambing and calving which also kept members using the facilities continuously after the Interclub season was completed. This event is well supported by the majority of their members and runs throughout the week finishing with a prizegiving and a fireworks display.

They had club members attend the Squash NZ road show to get fresh ideas to help with the success of their club. They have also had a further member gain his bar license to help with the efficiency of the running of our facilities.

Makarewa Squash Club is a small but vibrant club situated on the outskirts of Invercargill. They currently have 86 members but contribute to squash considerably in their district. The members stage well both at regional and national level. Makarewa is always well represented at tournaments and the Masters Games in Dunedin with accommodation booked for this event in January 2018.

With the growth of members wanting to take their squash to the next level from beginning in the clubs social league or becoming involved in training sessions and junior programmes they were able to have 9 teams in the ILT Southland Wide Interclub Competition (39 players), 3 teams in the Central Western Ladies Interclub competition (21 players) and 3 teams in the Southland Junior Interclub competition (12 players). This equates to close to all of their graded members participating in Interclub this year and they were well represented in semi-finals and had 4 teams playing in the finals of Interclub.

The club members organised 2 visits from coach Nick Mita to improve the skills of their club members and they also invited other clubs to take advantage of this opportunity involving approximately 20 players in each visit. The club organised and entered 3 SuperChamps teams this year to play in Southland District Eliminations and were Successfully being given the opportunity to send all 3 to National Event.

They also had 15 junior club members selected in the Southland Development Squads for 2017 and 7 Junior members committed to travelling and competing in the Southland Highlanders Series 2017. Their club juniors hold the Southland Junior 2017 Champion Title as well as the Boys Runner up and Runner up Girls Champion as well as holding the Southland Open Men’s Title for 2017.

5 Junior members were also part of the James Hargest Squash Teams who won both the boys and the girls South Island Secondary Schools Titles 2017. The club has 4 junior club members consistently on the New Zealand Junior Age Group Rankings and two players in New Zealand Squads. Mitchell Kempton and Anna O'Connor have had significant success in 2017 as well as Nicky McNaught who gained her National Referee accreditation.

The clubs honour boards proudly hang around the club updated for all to see, photos of New Zealand reps were added to their walls this year to recognise the achievements of current members, the winning trophy of Div 1 Interclub last season proudly sits on the shelf and will remain there for the next year too. The bar/kitchen is clean and tidy and fully stocked, the inviting soft couches sit in the lounge in front of the TV hanging on the wall which adds additional spectators ability to view the courts, the computer for the online booking sits ready to use in the corner alongside that is our additional water filter. Downstairs they have freshly painted changing rooms/toilets with new soap dispensers in showers to offer complimentary body wash for all members, and they purchased a storage rack for downstairs to help with space in the changing rooms on interclub nights and at tournaments, they reorganised the store room to use the area more efficiently and to accommodate the new chiller to chill extra supplies for the bar. This year they have worked with a Southland business to recycle all broken glass for the bottles which is collected weekly. This has also prompted the club further and they are in the process of looking towards creating a Recycling Hub for our Makarewa Community.

The club now promotes all tournaments and upcoming events whether they are social or training sessions on the Makarewa Squash Club Facebook page as well as a monthly newsletter which is sent out to all members. The club has also taken part in the energy efficient power savings for clubs that was offered during the year. As you enter the club one of the noticeboards is in the foyer to see the up and coming events and notices for the club members.

The facilities effectively run tournaments, training sessions, rules and referee evenings, coaching modules, they assist with neighbouring clubs for their tournaments with the use of courts when needed. With the increase of people using our facilities they have employed a professional cleaner to clean wet areas to ensure our aging facilities are clean and give the remaining cleaning to a junior to allow them to gain a little income.

The committee is working towards upgrading our facility which is going to be a major exercise. A building committee was formed from the committee and individuals have spent time creating plans, finding out information regarding the land they currently are on, asking local facilities about options, thinking of rebuilding options, meeting with appropriate people to see what they can do on current building when it comes to extending and getting in touch with clubs who have already ventured into extensions and rebuilds of their squash clubs. Unfortunately, research over the year has found that extending our current building would be unable to be done. Rebuilding the facility is the option they would need to take. They have formed a fundraising committee within the committee to begin the daunting task of increasing funds towards this project which they have come up with some innovative ways for the club to make money and continue to do so with a list of ideas to go ahead with one at a time. The club have visited funders and they have given advice on where they need to head and they have written letters to the appropriate people. This work is all work that is being done behind the scene by the committee to enable them to build the dream for their club.

The club recently applied for a grant from Kiwisport to purchase equipment so our club had racquets, training manuals, training dots, balls, tape, cones, eyewear etc to have this equipment on hand for beginner players and to improve training sessions. The club is in a sound financial position with surpluses and money from fund raising activities retained to provide for the rebuild of club facilities.

As the membership increases and more tournaments and activities are undertaken so does the Treasurer's time commitment so they have instigated a number of measures to provide efficiencies in managing the finances.

They introduced eftpos which reduced the amount of money being handled by members and banking’s required. It also had a positive effect on sales and was a welcomed convenience for members and visitors. This year all subscription invoices were generated and sent out electronically saving a lot of manual labour and also resulted in a higher percentage of members paying by direct credit. A new accounting system was set in place where a large majority of transactions are automatically recorded and detailed reports are available online. Over 60% of accounts are now paid by direct debit and only on the odd occasion is there a need to write a cheque.

Subscriptions were increased 10% for all members after a number of years of no increases and this additional income has been set aside as part of our rebuild fund. Southland businesses support the club with court advertising, interclub sponsorship and tournament sponsorship. They have set up a separate fundraising committee to better tap the business sponsorship and donation of goods and services market.

The club successfully applied for 2 grants this year to date, one of which was to contribute to getting some building plans put together and the other was on behalf of our junior interclub members to help support those families having to travel to local competitions as the venues are quite a distance apart and on a weekly basis we felt this was a way we could continue to encourage families to be playing in this competition.

Makarewa Squash Club continually support Squash Southland, and have successfully organised and run the following Southland Junior Interclub 2017 and for the previous 2 years Makarewa Pre Season Masters, Southland Juniors 2017, Makarewa Open 2017, Makarewa Juniors 2017, Southland Highlanders Tournament 2017, Southland Masters 2017, 2 One Day Junior Tournaments, Champion of Champions 2017, Rules and referee training evening for all Junior Interclub players, Rules and referee training evening for all Senior Interclub players and invited other clubs to this also, Pre-season junior series prior to interclub starting to give juniors game experience before starting competition games and Ladies and Mens Charity Events

They also have 2 club members who are coaching the Southland Developments Squads for 2017

Spent time with our local school to encourage juniors into our club and they have made the most of the opportunity with the Coach Force officer in Southland and completed 3 different modules this year.

Congratulations to Makarewa Squash Club on being a finalist for the Club of the Year Award.

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