The Regional Community Development Centres are a series of well established, highly experienced fencing clubs in various regions of Ontario, selected for the RCDC program for their records of excellence in the delivery of grass roots programs, and their capacity for growth in the future. These centres are training to become models for club development, offering quality programming based on healthy child development and the principles of Long Term Athlete Development. They will become a hub for clubs, coaches, and community members to get training, share ideas and acquire new skills and expertise.
Since its adoption in 2002, the Canadian Sport Policy has represented the common vision and objectives of 14 governments in the development of sport throughout Canada. Aided by complementary action plans developed by governments, individually and collectively, the Canadian Sport Policy has increased dialogue and cooperation between
governments and their respective sport communities thereby focusing attention on sport priorities in Canada.
Energised by this policy, the sport system across Canada began to go through rapid growth and change. Programs such as Canadian Sport for Life (LTAD), No Accidental Champions, Own the Podium and Road to Excellence inspired change from the Olympic level to the grass roots in all sports. Fencing was no exception.
As funding partners, the Ministry of Health Promotion, through a program called Sport for More, encouraged us to identify and address barriers to growth in our sport. Unlike many other provinces, where fencing is concentrated in one region or even in a single city, Ontario fencing is spread out into many cities and several regions. This makes any kind of centralized programming difficult and slow. We also have the advantage of fantastic experience and knowledge right in our clubs. It was a simple matter to identify the most appropriate clubs that could satisfy a set of criteria.
We began setting up four centres and training the staff in 2008 and were able to meet our objectives of increasing the number of participants in our grass roots programs as well as getting coaches trained. Four centres were set up. By the fall of 2009, we expect to have six centres set up and operating.
The Program Coordinator, under the direction of the Ontario Fencing Association Development Committee and the Executive Director, will oversee the RCDCs. In addition to researching and setting up programs in schools and recreation centres, parks and clubs etc. The Program Coordinator will be responsible for the training of instructors and will also facilitate training in the principles of healthy child development and LTAD for all clubs in the regions. In addition, the Program Coordinator will promote the program in the community through demonstrations, media coverage etc.
The Program Coordinator will work directly with the RCDC Program Leader to coordinate training and programs in each centre. The RCDC Program Leader will be a Level 2 NCCP certified coach (or higher) who will act as mentor coach to the Community Instructors who will actually operate the programs.
Each RCDC will train and provide ongoing mentorship to two or more Community Instructors who will work out of these centres to offer programs in schools, community centres and the clubs themselves.
Each RCDC Community Instructor will have access to a RCDC Program Leader who will act as mentor coach and who will advise them on program curriculum, teaching methods and will give feedback on their overall performance.
Community Instructors will come from the existing athlete pool to provide part time income for competing athletes and to encourage them to stay involved in the sport after retirement.
Each centre will create a minimum of two Community Instructors who will each run a minimum of 8 courses (five weeks duration) per year.
Regional Community Development Centres (RCDC)
What is an RCDC?
An RCDC is a fencing club that is designated by the OFA to be a centre of expertise and training for community outreach programming in the region. These centres have a permanent venue or relatively cheap, regular, and open access to facilities, and qualified leaders to facilitate the training of fencers, coaches and referees, parents and volunteers at the community level.
The primary function of the RCDC is to open up new fencing programs in the schools, clubs and recreation centres in the region. They will also be responsible for the training of staff and volunteers to support these new programs and the subsequent growth that accompanies this, such as new competition circuits, new clubs etc.
What training and support will the RCDCs receive?
The OFA will provide a skilled trainer to educate all staff and volunteers in the Principles of Healthy Child Development and the Long Term Athlete Development Model. The centres must agree to use these principles in their programming.
All program coaches will receive training and accreditation as Community Instructors, which is a Provincial Coaching designation. The CIC program is now being developed as the first level of NCCP Community Instructor Level.
Each designated RCDC will be loaned additional properly sized equipment to run introductory sessions of fencing.
In addition, in year two, each centre will receive one scoring set to facilitate new competition circuits. The RCDC will own this equipment.
Each centre will receive a subsidy for honorariums for program staff and volunteers
A Program Coordinator will be provided to help each RCDC to arrange training sessions for coaches and volunteers, to help set up appointments and demonstrations in schools etc., to help develop retention strategies, and to generally support the program in any way required.
What does the RCDC do?
The main job of the RCDC is to offer fencing to as many new participants as possible using qualified Instructors and consistent methods currently being used in the sport community.
Most large centres are already doing this in their own way. This program allows centres to focus more resources on this job using methods that create a standardized approach, while still allowing for the unique character of each centre and coach.
In addition, RCDCs will provide meeting space for regional participants for two coaching clinics (one weekend each or equivalent), two officials clinics (one weekend each or equivalent), and one Long Term Athlete Development information and training session (half day), enabling training to be accessible more locally.