Quality Club of the Month – Ferny Grove & Districts Junior AFC
Community football clubs are the very foundation of football and AFL Queensland is committed to the development of clubs across the State.
The Quality Club Program is a club based accreditation program that recognises quality club administration by volunteers and promotes positive environments within our clubs. A three stage program, clubs start at Bronze and can progressively work through the program.
Each month we will profile one of our accredited clubs to find out what makes them an AFL Queensland Quality Club.
This month we sat down with Greg Paterson from Ferny Grove & Districts Junior AFC.
AFLQ: How long has Ferny Grove & Districts JAFC been around?
GP: The club was established in 1991 and played its first season in 1992. When we started out there were only 16 under 11 players registered and the club played at the Ferny Grove High School. By 1997 the registration base had expanded significantly and 95 players had joined the club and the FALCONS were up and away!
AFLQ : How many teams do you currently have?
GP: In 2012 we will have 2 under 6 teams, 5 under 8’s, 3 under 9’s, 2 under 10’s (but with late registrations sufficient numbers to field 3 teams), 1 under 12 and 1 under 16 team all playing in the AFLBJ competition.
AFLQ: What do you think makes you a Quality Club?
GP: Terrific volunteers, quality coaching and ensuring we meet and exceed our member’s expectations.
The monthly newsletter the Falcon Flyer keeps all members up to date with the club.
The club is driven by our core philosophy of player development focusing on developing a sound framework and processes that are not outcome driven. The strategic intent of the club is to ensure that AFL footy is developed in our area on a sustainable basis and that the structures implemented encourage growth and that Ferny Grove is viewed as a sporting option of choice within the community.
AFLQ. What is unique or special about your football club:
GP: Ferny Grove is very much a family oriented club that encourages participation, but more importantly, in a fun environment.
Presently we are not in a position to develop a senior club and are committed to being the best junior footy club we can by filling that particular niche in the market. This is supported by ensuring we have quality people with a combination of footy and business smarts involved in the running of the club.
We offer shared facilities (eg with the Ferny Grove cricket club) and are evaluating options to further diversify and form ongoing relationships with other sporting bodies.
AFLQ: What are some of the challenges/hurdles you have faced developing the club and how did you overcome them?
GP: We undertook a comprehensive analysis of the club player numbers a couple of years ago which reaffirmed the belief that we would not be sustainable for the longer term without immediate action. Consequently, it was agreed that significant work was required to strengthen the base numbers of the club particularly at junior level and a number of program were identified and implemented. The primary focus was to re-establish the club brand in the local schools and community and the support of the AFL was critical to this success.
We have developed the Exceed and Excel an Investment in Youth skills program that is supported by AFLQ and run during summer which is attended and run by some of the best coaches in AFL footy.
Further, we have developed satellite clubs at Mt. Nebo and Mt. Samson who are registered at Ferny and train at the local schools. In 2012 there will be 3 teams in the satellite program.
The 2012 year has seen 60 new players sign up with the club mainly in our under 8,9,10’s which is testament to the how both the AFL and club brand is being perceived in the local community particularly in such a competitive environment.
AFLQ: What fundraising methods have been successful for you?
GP: The club has a sponsorship co-coordinator who is responsible for attracting new sponsors to the club, which assists us in developing financial security. There are also a number of key initiatives in place such as the trivia night, BBQ’s and social functions. We have developed a commercial arrangement with our local bowls club which will develop mutual financial benefits.
AFLQ: What’s your approach to finding and keeping volunteers?
GP: We try to share the load by making the job as easy as possible and giving support and information to help in the execution of the roles.
By making the experience enjoyable members will come back to assist further and hopefully bring their friends. Make it fun and enjoyable rather than laborious!
AFLQ:Who are the key people that have helped shape the club and how have they been involved?
GP: The shaping of the club goes back to original meetings in 1991 and the work done by Clive Dunstan, Dean Warren, Brad Wyatt, Doug Hogarth, Dave Anderson, Paul Swann, Ralph Donnett, Steve and Rosemary Eddy to name a few of the people who set the course for a new club all those years ago.
Over the years the baton of responsibility has been passed on through many and their work is acknowledged until today where we have Greg Paterson as President, Kev Lingard as Secretary and John Galligan as Football Manager.
The next generation is being groomed to take over the club and the future is exciting.
AFLQ: What three words describe your club?
GP: Development, Friendship & Enjoyment.