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Forums —» General Caching —» General —» Do we need a BCGA ?
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Do we need a BCGA ?
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HwyGuy



Joined: Oct 25, 2005
Posts: 129
Location: Langley BC

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:23 pm    Post subject: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

I thought the title would get peoples attention.

I had to think long and hard about whether I wished to sign up for another year as a BCGA member. There were a number of reasons for that being a harder decision than it should have been. Perhaps many others feel the same as I do.

With the exception of the BCGA being the leader in dealing with BC Parks and Metro Vancouver and Surrey Parks, I do not see the reason for a province wide organization in its current configuration.

I have watched as the Association has gone through a two of elections and a couple of trying times over the last 15 months. There always appears to be a problem getting people to volunteer for the Executive and I have wondered why. While it is a thankless job, there is a sense of accomplishment when the task is completed. Perhaps the Executive needs to blow their own horn when a project comes to fruition.

I have noted that with the exception of the Greater Vancouver area, every other portion of the province (Prince Rupert area excepted) has its own Geocaching group. These groups tend to organize a number of events for their members each year and generally "do their own thing". From well outside the inner workings of the BCGA I do not see that these regional groups take much interest at all in what the BCGA is doing, Parks policies aside. Obviously a few people interact, but I don't think the vast majority in one region think much about those in another region.

This web site appears to be much larger than any of the regional groups web site, but is that enough to keep the BCGA in the current configuration?

Would it not make more sense to have each of these regional groups have one or two Director at Large positions on the Provincial Executive who could then appoint one of their members to be President or Chairman for the year? Perhaps there could even be a couple of members "at large" voted into the group as well.

This would ensure province wide coverage, alleviate the yearly angst of an election where I am expected to vote for or against a Director from Prince George or Cranbrook whom I have never met, heard of, or know whether I agree with their beliefs about caching. At the same time there would continue to be a province wide group to represent geocaching with various parks groups and government agencies.

The current Executive has worked hard with various parks groups around the Province, but as in the past, very little information has leaked out to the the membership. While I think I remember receiving newsletters during the year, only one from January 2010 is listed on the web site. There have only been 2 posts on the Association Business page on this site since May and they were both about logo usage. What happened at the Metro Vancouver Parks Meeting on Dec 16? Would there not be better top-down communication if the local group had 2 people on the Executive?

I would assume that there would still be an AGM required each year, but it seems that the voting problems would be much reduced in this scenario.

What are your thoughts??
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couloir



Joined: Jan 19, 2008
Posts: 152
Location: Kamloops

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

I agree that it is helpful to have a critical look at the organization. I do believe it is important to have a provincial organization and as a former BCGA Director and current regional rep, I have tried to support the organization's goals wherever possible. On the other hand, I also believe that the business of the association has room for change.
The first challenge is having a Board that is spread across the province. We found it almost impossible to get a face-to-face meeting. Once we went to
Skype, it helped a lot because email just doesn't fill the needs of a Board meeting. If a structure that supports face-to-face meetings can be found, perhaps BCGA can function more like a regular association.
The second major issue is that too much of the "business" of the organization is embedded into Forums. Many of the problems of BCGA in the last few years have been started in Forums, where inappropriate, inaccurate, or inflammatory posts have divided the membership. I think there is a place for Forums, but the business of the organization gets "buried" in non-productive disagreements.
Perhaps a restructuring is the first order of business for the new Board?
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IRLPGUY



Joined: Mar 01, 2007
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:01 am    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

You make some great points HwyGuy and very well may have identified the apparent lack of interest in the BCGA by its members around the Province.

Communication or the lack of, from the elected directors seems to have been an even greater issue over the past couple of years. I for one would like to hear about issues that might be encountered in other areas of the province as well as the Lower Mainland. Communicating with the membership provides a means of engaging them in the Associations affairs. It keeps them abreast of what is being planned, tried and accomplished. I feel this would invite more interest, and possible create more interest in participating at an executive level. The Executive is elected to run the affairs of the organization, they must do that in a transparent and informative way. Communicating with the membership and “blowing your own horn” are two different things entirely.

If each of the area Geocaching groups were to express an interest in appointing one or more representatives, among whom a Chairman or Negotiator would be determined. This person or persons to then become the representative in negotiations with Government bodies and other groups. Each local group would continue to represent themselves in local issues important to that group, no different than what is being done now by these groups.
Should the area groups find this idea to be workable, it would seem there would be no need for an AGM as there would be no need for a Province wide organization.

The problem then is what becomes of the BCGA, its website and financial assets. The thought alone presents a completely new problem. I believe there has to be a significant change in the structure of the BCGA if it is to represent the entire province. Perhaps that goal cannot be accomplished in any format. Do all the area groups want provincial representation though a Provincial body, or can it be accomplished in some other form as suggested. Input is needed from throughout the province on this topic.

It might be wise for the BCGA to take the upcoming year to look closely at how it might succeed in being a truly provincial body, solicit input from the existing groups and try to determine the best direction to take going forward. I would also suggest keeping the assets of the BCGA in tact, until such time as a means of representing and benefiting every cacher in the province can be determined.

Just my thoughts, for what they are worth.
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Teddy2k



Joined: Sep 12, 2008
Posts: 358
Location: Rosedale, BC

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

Even though there are numerous regional groups, I feel that there still needs to be a province wide body that pulls them all together in order to be a single voice for the province.

Perhaps we need to re-think how the Board of Directors is formed. I've seen other associations where only the Executive positions are elected and the remaining Director-at-Large positions are appointed from the various regional groups. This would guarantee regional representation and would ensure that all regional groups have a voice in the province wide body. The Ontario Geocaching Association does this, as well the Washington State Geocaching Association has a similar system where they have "chapters" throughout the state.

In terms of engaging the members, this year, we've had a small core group of members that always seemed to be available, but the majority of members are either never available or never willing to volunteer their time. The onus isn't just at the Board of Directors to engage the members... the members also need to take some responsibility by volunteering their time when necessary and/or need to make it known that they're available if needed. I'd like to thank everyone that either volunteered their time this year and/or put their name forward as being available to help us out with the various projects that we undertook.

I look forward to seeing what the next Board of Directors accomplishes and I will most definitely be offering my services as needed by them.
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Ozzie and the boys



Joined: Oct 04, 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

I'm not so sure there's a "lack of interest" in the BCGA. I would suggest and strickly my opinion, there's a lack of interest in being a target for the few who appear to think things should be different but won't step up themselves to initiate change. Prefering instead to sit back and armchair quarter back through the forums.

Generally as a rule the content will sit back while the discontent will... well... It doesn't mean the loadest voices represent the majority.

Perhaps the BCGA does need to re-examine itself and it probably should. I'll bet however you will find the majority are quite satisfied with the current direction and will grant the new directors the patients, encouragement and forgiveness for minor mistakes of procedure required to grow.

So happy caching! Its why where here isn`t it!
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MaliBooBoo



Joined: Jan 06, 2007
Posts: 100
Location: Kamloops

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

HwyGuy's post makes no mention of the idea of disbanding the BCGA. He simply is suggesting changing the configuration of elections so that all regions have representation. I support looking at this idea.
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Technic



Joined: Feb 29, 2008
Posts: 73
Location: Kamloops

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

I believe we need a province wide association that represents all geocaching members, clubs, organizations and associations in BC.
I have see, and I am sure that you have also seen, cache placements that not only violate our own geocaching.com guidelines, but also Provincial and Federal parks regulations.
Sooner or later there will be provincial legislation proposed that will regulate geocaching. They are already trying to regulate back country activity such as snowmobiling, cross country skiing etc. Likely before the province suggest regulation, we will be regulated by regional, district or municipal legislation.
Every geocacher in the province, all the local or regional geocaching clubs, groups, or loosely knit organizations need a central organization like the BCGA to eventually speak on behalf of us all. It may not be tomorrow, but the day will come when the government will put our activity to task. Most outdoor activity organizations have provincial representation.
Like most everything else in this province, the government will get their claws into it. If there is a way to make a buck, they will be there. This is when, and where we need to maintain unity in this great sport.
As with every great organization, there are spies among us. We need to remain united, for:

Divided we Fall!
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WOLVERINESTacFour



Joined: Dec 13, 2009
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

Too often I see politics ruin what was a fun hobby/activity/sport. When that happens I preffer not to be involved with those that cause it. The nice thing about geocaching is that its going to happen with or without the BCGA. What the BCGA should be is an outreach and education group. As soon as it gets labeled as a governing (blech, yuck, what a bad taste in my mouth) body the problems start . Let cachers cache, if some of the cachers want to act as ambasadors/liasons to teach and inform the parks boards, local officials/government (yuck, there it is again) and non cachers then do so. Just don't over complicate things and ruin the fun. We cache to get away from stress etc, don't bring it into the activity.
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Cuddlefish



Joined: Oct 20, 2008
Posts: 297

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:32 am    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

WOLVERINESTacFour wrote:
Too often I see politics ruin what was a fun hobby/activity/sport. When that happens I preffer not to be involved with those that cause it. The nice thing about geocaching is that its going to happen with or without the BCGA. What the BCGA should be is an outreach and education group. As soon as it gets labeled as a governing (blech, yuck, what a bad taste in my mouth) body the problems start . Let cachers cache, if some of the cachers want to act as ambasadors/liasons to teach and inform the parks boards, local officials/government (yuck, there it is again) and non cachers then do so. Just don't over complicate things and ruin the fun. We cache to get away from stress etc, don't bring it into the activity.

Unfortunately those park boards/local officials/government (blech, yuck) can get in the way of our enjoyment of the sport if they decide to disallow geocaching. As a larger body, the BCGA can (and have) negotiate guidelines and show these organisations that geocaching can be aligned with their own goals also. There are jurisdictions in North America (and probably elsewhere too) where geocaching is banned with no good reason other than a vague notion of it being a potentially damaging thing to the environment and little opportunities for geocachers to band together to approach those local bodies to show it is not.
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IRLPGUY



Joined: Mar 01, 2007
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

”Cuddlefish” wrote:

Unfortunately those park boards/local officials/government (blech, yuck) can get in the way of our enjoyment of the sport if they decide to disallow geocaching. As a larger body, the BCGA can (and have) negotiate guidelines and show these organisations that geocaching can be aligned with their own goals also. There are jurisdictions in North America (and probably elsewhere too) where geocaching is banned with no good reason other than a vague notion of it being a potentially damaging thing to the environment and little opportunities for geocachers to band together to approach those local bodies to show it is not.

The BCGA over the years has done a great job of assisting in the establishment of policies in our BC Parks as well as other local parks. If you read those guidelines, you will realize that there are hundreds of caches in these parks that do not meet those guidelines. There continue to be caches placed within these areas that do not conform. The effort the BCGA has put toward ensuring that we are allowed to use these parks for caching opportunities, will be lost if the same amount of effort is not put toward promoting the updating of non conforming caches and educating and promoting conformity for all new caches in these Parks.

The Geocaching community will ultimately determine the rise or fall of Geocaching in all areas where we practice our sport. If the caching community places caches that are contrary to the policies of say Metro Parks or BC Parks, then there is a very good likelihood steps will be taken to curtail or ban the activity. If we act inappropriately, we cannot blame the Government or other Land Management agency for banning the activity.

Alberta Provincial Parks requires that permission first be obtained from the Park involved to place the cache prior to it being submitted to Groundspeak for review. It is my understanding this is working to the benefit of both the cache owners and the Parks themselves. The park controls the type of cache, and where it is to be located. In doing so they ensure the location is appropriate, the area does not become saturated, yet still allows and endorses caching in their Parks. I have three caches in Alberta Parks, I see nothing wrong with this process. Others I have spoken to in Alberta seem to favor this process over the random placement of caches. They feel it is the best way to ensure that caching will remain a part of the activities in their Provincial Parks.

I am not aware of any areas in North America where caching is banned for “no good reason”. The ban may seem unreasonable to us without an understanding for the ban, but I am sure there are concerns and reasons. It is my opinion that there are places where no caching should be allowed. I do not feel we have the right to place plastic boxes wherever we think our sport should take us. We must be respectful of private property and the impression we present to others in pursuing our sport. We must also take into account other uses of the land and environmental concerns.

Each of us will play a part in determining our destiny.
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landsharkz



Joined: Sep 28, 2005
Posts: 356
Location: Victoria

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

This is a very interesting discussion... its been a while since I've put my 2cents in, but I think there are a few good points here and I have something to add.

I'll start by saying I think the BCGA is a very appropriate organization, however the current model is, in my opinion, no longer appropriate.

I think the solution begins with a long hard look at the goals and focus of the organization... something I think the upcoming exec should look very seriously at. I would say that regional groups have the potential to do (and in some cases are doing) more good for geocaching in BC than a central body can - but a central body is an important part of the landscape. There are so many local events, local cache hide and seek activities, local community activities, that perhaps the time for BCGA Blitzes and province wide events under the BCGA umbrella is not as necessary as it once was. Perhaps the BCGA should focus on the encouragement and support of local/regional groups... after all, it is on a local level that communities are built.

I would like to see the new exec put some serious effort into looking at the focus and structure of the organization. Invite ideas from around the province - develop a new direction - and if it makes sense, develop a new structure (executive and representation etc) that supports that new direction.

Finally, if you consult people along the way then you should have majority buy-in. Don't be afraid to amend the constitution and bylaws as required to support this new direction. It takes time, but it'll be worth it for the long-term sustainability of the organization.

Cheers,
Chris
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CAMOKELLY



Joined: Mar 24, 2008
Posts: 482
Location: Abbotsford BC

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

This topic has become very important to me as a candidate for the next executive. I agree with many points made here and will be taking them all into consideration for the next executive if elected. I also agree that more input from our members regionally and locally is needed if we are to possibly use this upcoming year as a year of change for the BCGA. I will be watching this thread with great interest.
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landsharkz



Joined: Sep 28, 2005
Posts: 356
Location: Victoria

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

Cuddlefish wrote:
Unfortunately those park boards/local officials/government (blech, yuck) can get in the way of our enjoyment of the sport if they decide to disallow geocaching.

This is perhaps in the wrong thread, but I'll comment here and perhaps admin can move it to its own thread.

I must say I don't like the above statement. I don't see Parks boards and governments as "getting in the way" - ever. One must keep in mind that parks departments have a variety of mandates which usually include environmental protection. Parks departments have a huge problem with garbage... why is leaving a plastic container behind a rock any better than leaving a piece of garbage? Because people will go blazing trails to look for it over and over again? Really?

We must look at permission to geocache in parks as a privilege, not a right. Parks are there for a reason and the managers rarely ban an activity unless there is a problem (or a perceived problem). There are definitely benefits for parks department to allowing geocaching, and we all know its pretty harmless (usually), but only from the point of view of respect for the park dept's mandates and policies will we ever maintain the ability to cache in parks.

Sometimes parks boards need input to help them make the best decision for their parks... that's where the BCGA come in.

I hope the new board sees parks as allies and respects their wishes, rather than seeing them as "getting in the way" of our right to leave plastic containers wherever we want to.

Chris
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Cuddlefish



Joined: Oct 20, 2008
Posts: 297

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

landsharkz wrote:
Cuddlefish wrote:
Unfortunately those park boards/local officials/government (blech, yuck) can get in the way of our enjoyment of the sport if they decide to disallow geocaching.


I must say I don't like the above statement. I don't see Parks boards and governments as "getting in the way" - ever.

Perhaps I too should have put quotation marks around that phrasing, but you'll notice that I do not have an us vs. them mentality with respect to the various parks boards. Please do not take that one statement out of context.
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bcrockcrawler



Joined: Jan 24, 2004
Posts: 85
Location: Nanaimo

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

It is my opinion that there will always be a need for a Provincial origination. Local area groups may do more events and such but even a local group would benefit from the 'weight' of a Province wide entity behind it when dealing with a local issue.

Communication is the key, as others have alluded to, as this would help the membership see the inner workings of their association.

_________________
Rock crawlin' in my Bronco and Geocaching with xstitcher. Life is good.
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Bestred



Joined: Jul 08, 2008
Posts: 280
Location: Abbotsford, BC

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

I truly believe we need a centralized organization .....
though I like the idea of having the smaller groups as directors, not as President, Vice, Secretary or Tresurer- I see problems arising from this.

I also notice that we are now looking at this after 2 years where the Executive in the BCGA has changed. People don't like change, and when they don't like change, they want to remove it. Yes I know it wasn't mentioned of disbanning the BCGA, but if you read between the lines....it is there.

I would have liked to put myself out to run this year, but it has been told to me that if my husband and I run together only one of us will make it, if that....as we can not have husband and wife on the BCGA.....due to it looking like we are 'taking over' - geez, I didn't realize 1. my husband and I are the same person and think the same way and 2. the other people on the BCGA did not have a vote...(if we were on the BCGA together) *shakes head*

I think in the past two years and the years prior the BCGA has done wonderous things that they should be darn proud of...and if it wasn't for the BCGA, would never of happened. Had we not the BCGA and only the little groups who there to help themselves mainly (sorry but true....and hey the Fraser Valley doesn't even have a group), I don't see Project Blue Sky or the Geocaching 101 events with the Metro Vancouver Parks happening at all.

(just lost all train of thought, will stop now)

I hate being sick Sick

anyhow...just my 2 cents

_________________
ALL VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE MY OWN...not Kelly's, he has his own - ask him.
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plumbrokeacres



Joined: Feb 16, 2007
Posts: 172
Location: Prince George BC

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

Good topic, Having been on the board for two years I agree that the BCGA is a necessary organization. However the representation is skewed more to the mainland. and I don't think as a whole the existing structure. represents the province equally. I do think the idea of the executive being elected then appointing a member from the other groups in the province could help the perception of an organization that truly represents the whole province.
My decision not to run was more a case of knowing I can do more by focusing on my group Pgcachers. I look forward to working with the new board and will be very interested in seeing how this tread evolves.
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SOLONM



Joined: Apr 12, 2008
Posts: 125

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

plumbrokeacres wrote:
Good topic, Having been on the board for two years I agree that the BCGA is a necessary organization. However the representation is skewed more to the mainland. and I don't think as a whole the existing structure. represents the province equally. I do think the idea of the executive being elected then appointing a member from the other groups in the province could help the perception of an organization that truly represents the whole province.

One option would be for the various regional organizations (not BCGA) to put forward their designated representatives to liaise/work with BCGA. These representatives would be full voting & working members of the BCGA Board of Directors. I think this would go a long way to making BCGA more inclusive for the entire Province.
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soobaxM



Joined: Oct 18, 2008
Posts: 18
Location: Shawnigan Lake

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:46 am    Post subject: Re: Do we need a BCGA ? Reply with quote

Teddy2k wrote:
Even though there are numerous regional groups, I feel that there still needs to be a province wide body that pulls them all together in order to be a single voice for the province.

Perhaps we need to re-think how the Board of Directors is formed. I've seen other associations where only the Executive positions are elected and the remaining Director-at-Large positions are appointed from the various regional groups. This would guarantee regional representation and would ensure that all regional groups have a voice in the province wide body. The Ontario Geocaching Association does this, as well the Washington State Geocaching Association has a similar system where they have "chapters" throughout the state.

.

I agree. I do think with the size of our organisation that there should be representatives to the BCGA board. Each area in BC is already doing a lot for geocaching. On the island we have the GCGV (greater Victoria), MIG (Mid Island Geocaching) and VIGP’s (Vancouver Island Geocaching). On the mainland there is a large group in Prince George, the West Kootenays, lower Mainland etc. One voice from each area representing these groups would be great. A rep from each area would help with communication, organization of events, and ideas to improve the sport.
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