NEBridge - President's Letter: February 2015

HELP WANTED!

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. And make no mistake about it, across District 25, we are blessed with some of the hardest working, dedicated, talented, and passionate bridge volunteers. But we need more. We need your help.

I’m often asked, “what can I do?” or “where do I begin?” These are both great questions and the answers are as varied as the skills, personalities, and interests of our 8,000 members across the six New England states. Let me highlight a number of ways you can help.

At the district level, our primary task is to host our Regional Tournaments. Tournament Chairs do an enormous amount of work in collaboration with our Tournament Manager, Helen Pawlowski, and they always are looking for help with partnerships, publicity, and hospitality. If you’d like to help with these, please contact our Chairs for the rest of this year:

Feb 11-16 Cromwell, CT Dave Rock and Sonja Smith
Mar 6-9 Sturbridge, MA (Rainbow /GNT) Sue Miguel and Dean Panagopoulos
Apr 29 – May 3 Hyannis, MA Ginny Iannini and Steve Rzewski
Jun 23-28 Nashua, NH Wayne Burt and Sarah Widhu
Sept 1-6 Warwick, RI Joe Brouillard
Oct 17-18 Sturbridge, MA (NAP) Dean Panagopoulos
Nov 4-8 Mansfield, MA Joe Brouillard

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The units schedule, promote, and run the various sectionals throughout the year. Here’s where most folks start getting involved in volunteer activities. Hospitality, publicity, and planning are all done by volunteers. There’s always a lot of work to be done and a lot of help gratefully accepted. Seek out your Unit President today and ask him or her how you can help.

We have 8 units within the district and these are ably led by the following unit presidents:

Central Mass Bridge Association Bruce Emond
Connecticut Bridge Association Esther Watstein
Eastern Mass Bridge Association David Aronson
Maine Bridge Association Dick Budd
New Hampshire Bridge Association Wayne Burt
Rhode Island Bridge Association Maureen Fahey
Vermont Bridge Association Phil Sharpsteen
Western Mass Bridge Association Dave Rock

Getting youngsters started off learning how to play bridge is an extremely important job. Adam Parrish of Cape Cod has been leading a dedicated group of volunteers in a group he started called New England Youth Bridge. (www.newenglandyouthbridge.org) Check out their website and see how you can help.


Recently, we started a movement called “The B’s Needs”. This is led by D25 Past President Ausra Geaski of Connecticut and has reps appointed by the various Unit Presidents. My guess is that if you’re wondering how you can help, you’ll find at least one activity of this team that fits your skill set and interest. Talk to your Unit President or speak to Ausra directly to find out how you can get involved in the range of activities currently being conducted by her team at the club and district level :

Club level activities:
• Announce upcoming regionals at the club games
• Encourage novice players to attend regionals
• Ensure that flyers for novice events contain all of the information, i.e. location
• Contact players in your clubs who have not been attending D25 regionals to understand why they are not attending and encourage them to attend
• Distribute bridge and club information at various locations (Senior Citizen's Centers, Community Centers, Doctor's offices, etc.)
• Introduce a Bridge Awareness Week at the clubs
• Set up a Mentor Program at the clubs
• Conduct bridge lessons on all levels at the clubs (new players, novice, intermediate)
• Conduct bridge lessons outside the clubs (Senior Centers, Adult Education, local schools, universities, Boys and Girls Clubs)
• Conduct bridge lessons on local cable TV
• Invite guest speakers to club to do a talk on specific bridge topic(s)
• Help to set up car pools for players who want to come to Regionals
• Conduct '8 is enough' events at clubs
• Hold Pro-Am games (match up more experienced with novice players)
• Ask bridge teachers at the clubs to bring their students to some regional event

Regional Activities:
• Organize meetings with club owners and directors to develop ideas and action plans to encourage attendance at regionals
• Contact club managers in D25 before each Regional To announce the upcoming tournament
• Distribute flyers to each club prior to each regional and display in central location (bulletin board, community table)
• Distribute flyers to other nearby districts
• Create list of I/N players and send out note with reminders about upcoming regionals via e-mail distribution
• Provide bridge lessons between sessions at regionals
• Encourage kibitzing
• Invite professional guest speakers to D25 regionals (Expert lectures by D25 pros)
• Remind players of Zero Tolerance Policy at the regionals
• Post Zero Tolerance Policy at regionals
• Report infractions of Zero Tolerance Policy
• Enforce Zero Tolerance Policy at the regionals
• Add different events to tournament schedule for variety (one session events not part of main 10 and 2:30 events)
• Hold Pro-Am games (match up more experienced with novice players, consider reduced entry fee, hold during evening pairs so it doesn't impact main events), '8 is enough' events
• Engage B's Needs Committee for scheduling decisions affecting B players
• Increase hospitality at the regionals
• Provide opportunity for more Social events at the regionals which allow players to mingle
• Take photographs of regional event winners and post
• Provide name tags for B's needs members to recognize their efforts and for players to talk to and provide their comments
• Continue to post the Leader Board
• Provide a suggestion box at regionals for players to make recommendations; publicize in Daily Bulletin
• Greet players upon arrival; provide small welcome gift, e.g. stickers
• Survey players who no longer come to the regionals to find out why

So, as you can see, there is a lot going on and a lot of work that needs to be done. Please consider giving back something to help our great game grow and prosper.

Thanks to all our existing and past volunteers, and thanks especially to you in advance for your starting to help.

We need it and we really appreciate it.

Mark J. Aquino, Sr.
President, District 25