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[Moderated Topic] This Time Last Year We Were Ready To Bolt...


lhoover
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Hi @lhoover I'm glad you brought this up...Can you be more specific about the "outrageous fees?" As a skier, judge, driver, etc., I understand the frustrations with all of the paperwork, requirements and qualifications and how over-board they appear. Since joining the USA-WS staff however, I have seen an entirely new side to the organization and witnessed the frustrating roadblocks that continue to pop up ...mostly from an insurance standpoint. Believe me, we are trying to navigate around these issues with the smallest affect possible on our members. We are addressing the benefits currently offered to our members, sponsors and partners and are identifying new assets and opportunities we can offer to enhance our value as an national governing body and membership-based organization. One of the first things we are tackling in 2014 is prioritizing our member-benefits and clearly communicating exactly "who we are" and "what we do." I feel like that will help explain a lot of these "outrageous" fees you're referring to.

 

@ShaneH I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully with better communication from our organization we will be able to shine some light on this issue so at least their decisions not to partake will be based on the facts and the entire picture and not just assumptions.

 

Overall, I ask you guys just to hang in there and be vocal about what you want from us. We have a lot of plans in the works from national media initiatives, complteley new-membership growth programs, premier events planned and hosted by our organization and out of industry partnerships being forged. Thanks again for bringing this up, please continue to talk, ask questions, give suggestions, complain, etc. We are listening and we are trying.

 

Thanks!

Krista

 

Feel free to send me emails: krogers @ usawaterski (.org)

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@lhoover outrageous fees? I would pay the fee. I pay for my own CPR/First Aid/AED training, buy my own safety gear so I can be a safety official. TC's have who knows how much money invested in equipment. Scorers have to buy computers, printers ect. It's just now coming to light for drivers that commitment to the sport might have to come at a little fee.
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The fact is the association has been in decline decades.

 

From what I have seen there are real efforts to understand the issues and the turn it around. I have a lot of faith in @The_Krista and the other new staff but they do have an uphill battle.

 

Nothing is going to change overnight but I have renewed hope.

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@mattp Honestly, the $12 or $15 cost of the MVR check is a non issue. I can blow that amount in about 1.3 seconds. What got most people up in arms was the lack of communication from USA Waterski. And when it was questioned, the replies bordered on condescending. I know I got an email from an someone at USAWaterski that made me want to jump on a plane and go have a little face time with that person. I'm hopeful that with the new people being brought, some of that is behind us.
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@ShaneH If there is anything that I expect in the next year from USAWS is better communication. If there is anything the @The_Krista should be able to solve it is the communication issue.

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Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

California Ski Ranch ★ Connelly ★ Denali ★ Goode ★ KD Skis ★ MasterCraft 

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@ShaneH I think you nailed the driver issue from my perspective. Nobody really cares about the $12, but they sent completely the wrong message with how it was handled. Made me feel unwanted, and honestly I don't really want to be a driver anyhow. I got certified just to help the sport and enable tournaments to run smoothly. So even the tiniest inconvenience gets magnified by the context.
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I already let my coaching rating expire due to the pervert check and not sure what to do with driving. Our lake is in need of drivers for all the other USA requirements so they kind of force you into spending the cash to keep your rating.
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I have faith that @The_Krista can really make leaps and bounds over the communication issues as well as making Drivers, Scorers, etc feel wanted. I believe she will do great at this because she has a passion for the sport and truly wants to spread the word about competitive as well as recreational skiing in general. Coupled with her and the other new staff they have brought in, I have faith.

I wish I would have got a chance to talk to her at Orlando a few weeks ago, but what I saw, she was super busy running all around doing to best to be sure things run smoothly from her end. I would not distract her from that just to say Hi and pick her brain a little. That's what this site is for. lol

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You could be right, OB. In analyzing/troubleshooting any issue or risk, one of the best methods to employ is the 80/20 rule. 80% of your complaints(both internal and end user) will be caused by 20% of your issues. You spend time analyzing and determining what your complaints are, what your issues are, then you correlate the complaints to their cause. Then you work to fix/resolve/remove the 20% of the causes that are showing themselves in 80% of the complaints. Boom. It's amazing what one pass using that logic will cure.
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I'm with you @OB, just eliminate the USAWS insurance and use the savings on other things. I've never made a claim, but it's pretty much useless,much as you described. There is one thing that may stop any change In insurance: when litigators get involved they tend to sue everyone in sight. That could also mean USAWS administration. Don't think for a minute that they haven't thought of that possibility and want some CYA. So don't hold your breath waiting for USAWS to eliminate insurance coverage.
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I spoke to the @The_Krista today. I know better than to expect radical change overnight but real change or at least paradigm shift is definitely happening. Starting over with the Darwin Water Ski Association is no longer such a good idea.

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I am cautiously optimistic that change is coming. With the influx of new staff and a fresh perspective, I believe discussions can begin that will positively impact the organization. This is preferable over AWSA moving away from the larger organization and reinventing the wheel elsewhere. The January board meetings should be lively!!
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For years I had my club, The Slalom Club, be a member due to insurance benefit and we had a few tournaments, but not every year. The insurance requirements became too detailed, and I just didn't want to mess around with it, thinking it was more a reason for them to NOT cover something because I didn't have the log book right, or dates, skiers, drivers, boats, etc.etc... Didn't trust it, so have my own setup now.

 

 

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I run a club that maintains a course on a public lake. It would be tough for me to have insurance on it without USAWS.

 

We used to have a ski night as part of the club on the public lake but the burden of complying with all of the rules to have insurance for it made us decide to cancel.

 

On the private lake we ski at the insurance specifically states that we are not covered for tournaments or events. We are considering having some type of organized ski night there and possibly a tournament but I'm not sure if it will happen.

 

I really enjoy teaching people how to ski in every discipline but the insurance and rating requirements is a major hangup. Its much easier for me to maintain my pilot's license than it is to maintain the USAws ratings.

 

Thanks,

 

Tim

 

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Just got the reminder from USAWS.

 

According to our records, you received your driver's rating before April 1, 2012, prior to the new mandatory requirements proposed by the Risk Management Committee and approved by the USA Water Ski Board of Directors. As part of your driver's rating renewal requirements for 2014, you will need to successfully pass a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Review before 12/31/2013, and every two (2) years thereafter. Please review the applicable information below and follow the instructions for completing your MVR Review. If you already submitted your authorization and are receiving this e-mail, please e-mail me at mhanson@usawaterski.org. It could be that we just haven't received your results back yet.

 

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS: USA Water Ski/sport discipline rated drivers must:

be at least 16 years of age and a current Active member of USA Water Ski (Guest and GrassRoots members are not eligible)

have a current, valid motor vehicle operator’s license

comply with and meet all requirements for boater’s training and/or licensing under state law applicable in the driver’s state of residence

MVR REVIEW PROCESS: This process is conducted by a professional reporting agency ("The Agency") and includes the review and investigation of department of motor vehicle records where the applicant currently holds their license to determine if the applicant passes USA Water Ski’s minimum standards. The Agency will notify the applicant and USA Water Ski of Pass/Fail status. Results are returned on an average of three (3) business days. The applicant has the right to appeal results to "The Agency."

 

DISQUALIFICATION CRITERIA:

 

1. Conviction of a major driving offense in the past three (3) years including, but not limited to:

 

DUI/DWI

Possession of an open container

Any drug-related motor vehicle incident

Leaving the scene of an accident

Assault (in any form) by use of a motor vehicle

Reckless driving (willful or wanton disregard for safety of persons or property in any form)

2. Driver's license is currently suspended or has been suspended within the past three (3) years.

 

HOW TO PURCHASE AND AUTHORIZE A MVR REVIEW:

· CLICK HERE to log into your “Members-Only” section of USA Water Ski’s Web site. Your membership number and password will be filled in automatically…all you have to do is click the "Sign On" button to complete your login.

· Click on the “Drivers’ Programs” link from the navigational menu on the left-hand side of the page

· Click on the “Purchase and Authorize a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Review” link and follow the instructions to pay the $12.50 screening fee

· Click on the link provided on your payment receipt to go to USA Water Ski’s screening agency’s Web site to submit your authorization

 

Notifications: Upon successfully passing the review, USA Water Ski will send you an e-mail notification and post your MVR Review dates on your official's record which can be viewed by logging into your “Members-Only” section, using your membership number and password, and clicking on the “My Officials’ Ratings” link.

 

The screening agency will notify you via e-mail if you fail the review, with a follow-up e-mail sent by USA Water Ski, copied to your Sport Discipline President or Regional Executive Vice President (EVP) and, if applicable, your USA Water Ski-Affiliated Club contact.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

 

Thank you,

 

Melanie Hanson

Director of Membership Programs

USA Water Ski

 

 

 

 

 

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"DISQUALIFICATION CRITERIA:

 

1. Conviction of a major driving offense in the past three (3) years including, but not limited to:

DUI/DWI

Possession of an open container

Any drug-related motor vehicle incident

Leaving the scene of an accident

Assault (in any form) by use of a motor vehicle

Reckless driving (willful or wanton disregard for safety of persons or property in any form)

2. Driver's license is currently suspended or has been suspended within the past three (3) years."

 

Seems pretty OK to me. I wouldn't want anybody who has be convicted of the above to drive me, or more importantly, MY KIDS.

 

I do think though that the cost for the MVR reviews should be borne by everyone skiing in tournaments (as part of the entry or AWSA membership fee), not the just the drivers themselves and I'd be more than happy to pay for my fair share of it.

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@jcamp The problem that I have with this, is that it's all about mitigation of risk. Which is purely a financial thing. And purely about perception. I'm actually trained in risk management, so I have some experience here. There's no inherent improvement of safety in this. One given is that safety has an inverse relationship to risk. Always, when you improve safety you lower risk. The reverse is not true. Risk does not have an inverse relationship to safety. Mitigating risk does not improve safety. It only improves the PERCEPTION of safety. There are so many measure they could have taken to improve safety, therefore mitigating risk. And instead chose a knee jerk reaction which does nothing for the safety of our sport.

 

For example......... you have two boat drivers. One is very, very safe and a very good slalom driver but he had a dwi 2 years ago. Another is sketchy around docks and people, yet has a clean motor vehicle record. This measure takes the safe, good driver out of the equation and leaves you with a sketchy driver. So the risk mitigation measure actually lowered safety in this example although the perception is safety improved. When thought of in this way, these new measures are a disservice to the skiing community.

 

Had safety been a consideration, we could have changed our driver programs, improved our driver training and added auditing of drivers to the equation. Instead, you got sold a bill of goods as there is no empirical data correlating boat driver performance with motor vehicle record. Which has the potential to do harm to me, you, and your family.

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I don't know how the relationship is setup from the Association and the Insurance company, but I work in the Affinity/Association Insurance and member benefits world.

 

Generally the Association would get a % of premium collected under the groups name, as a commission or administration credit, so the Association benefits financially from offering these insurance benefits to members.

 

I have read its costing the assoc. money and to me that doesn't make sense, unless the assoc. is subsidizing a good portion of its members premiums (big mistake).

 

USA Waterski is a pretty big group and should have the buying power to negotiate good programs and rates with the various insurance carriers out there. I know Carl Roberge is in the group insurance benefits world - might be a guy to look up?

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Any large corporation has a team of experienced procurement professionals who are constantly looking for ways to demonstrate leverage, generate competition for the sale, and drive down costs and prices for its organization. Despite USAWS's membership size, I significantly doubt that kind of skill set is a significant part of the organization's payroll. Those large corporations know the depth and value of functions like procurement, financials, budgeting and forecasts, demand management, manufacturing, etc. and their contributions to margin, revenue, and market share.

 

It is a shame that we all don't have more time to share our skills with USAWS to help fix these problems. Everyone has their own personal story about how they already spend too much time at work, not enough time skiing, and probably even less time with their families (yes, I put them in that order, because we are all addicts). It sucks, but that's kind of how it is. USAWS employees wish they could do more. We wish they could do more. We want them to succeed so that they can support us better. We wish we could help more. We wish we had more time to help... Change is not fueled by wishes alone.

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I got the same reminder from Melanie. Still haven't decided.

 

I keep looking back to the reminder- "including but not limited to"- what does that mean? what sort of second tier set of rules are we not privy to? (In criminal law, such vagueness re: prohibited conduct is intolerable.) Are open container rules universal across the country? I have reason to believe they might not be. Too- suppose a driver's license is temporarily suspended for say being in arrears for child support or other family court ordered issues- no driving for 3 years? (There ARE ways to get suspended that have nothing to do with driving an auto- at least there are in Washington.) Start as a Senior, end in 3 years with nothing. Nice! Great way to keep continuity. keep folks happy and involved, and grow the sport.

 

As mentioned, COMMUNICATION will no doubt get better. As amply demonstrated by last year's fiasco, it could use improvement...

Others note that the association appears to be run/managed in a less than financially sound fashion. Are some of the disciplines/programs (still?) losing money? New blood may get something accomplished, I truly hope so.

Was it Einstein that said 'doing the same thing over and over, the same way and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity'?

My folks called it "good money after bad".

 

Lastly, I, for one, would like to see that the sort of blind-side that occurred last year can not happen again. A by-law/rule change or other should be a priority. It would demonstrate to me that USA-WS understands they should have done it better, and that we are (still) annoyed with the process, and the virtual contempt shown an entire group of the membership. The tire marks from being tossed under the bus are healing but, I still remember the impact.

Maybe that new rule ought to have some language directing the removal of an officer of USA-WS found complicit in withholding information from the membership?...

 

Viva the Darwin Waterski Association!

2013 Rant over.

 

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@Dusty, that's a good point about open container violations. Currently, 11 of 50 states have no open container laws even though its a DOT mandate since 1998. Unlike the DUI laws that DOT forced states to enact or lose highway funding...... DOT has chosen not to withhold funding for not enacting open container laws. So a boat driver in 11 states could drive with an open beer in their truck and not be at risk for losing their volunteer status with USA Waterski.
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