The Importance Of Networking For Leisure Facility Managers

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” – Sound familiar?

ALFA Facility Manager Networking Breakfast - Networking

To succeed in business, you must continually connect with new people, cultivate your relationships and leverage your network.

These days, having a strong network of industry colleagues that you can ask advice of, seek assistance from, or exchange information with, can be more valuable to your success in business than the best college education. [Read more…]

Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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Community Aquatic And Recreation Facilities In Dire Situation

The community aquatic and recreation facility industry finds itself in a dire situation. In established areas our infrastructure is aging and in new growth corridors there is limited provision for community leisure facilities as part of the planning process. Either way, we find local communities with limited access to quality leisure facilities.

Why are we in this position? Amongst many others, the reasons include the a lack of a national plan for community leisure facility provision, an unsustainable funding model for our facilities and unrealistic financial expectations placed on our industry. [Read more…]

Gary Penfold

Gary Penfold (Manager of Warringah Aquatic Centre) has worked in the Recreation Industry since 1980 in a range of areas including Sports Development, Dry Facility Management, Special Events and Aquatic Facility Management. Gary has contributed to the development of the industry through various voluntary roles during this time, including: ARI NSW Executive Committee, ARI Training Committee, National Water Safety Council, ARI Conference and Magazine committees. A former ARI President for three years, Gary Penfold currently holds the position of Chair of ALFA.

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Aquatics And Leisure: Looking To The Future

We’ve come a long way in the 60-odd years since the huge boost that was given to aquatic leisure in this country by the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. And probably, in a sense, we’ve come even further in the last 30-40 years since the first moves were made to enclose some of the predominantly outdoor 50 yard pools that sprung up after the Olympics.

We’ve gone from summer-only, cold-water outdoor venues run with an iron fist by “hose and thongs” men to modern, multi-faceted, all year indoor and indoor-outdoor venues that offer a huge diversity of activities to millions of users annually. (Sadly, some hose and thongs staff persist: I met one not more than 10 years ago who bragged about pushing the clock forward 15 minutes near closing time and who got the hose going in the change rooms at 5.30 pm as a way of encouraging people to pack up and leave!)

The changes have been dramatic. The dominant model of an outdoor 50 metre pool and a static shallow-water “play” pool surrounded by lawns and rusty cyclone fencing (I think there was a company that manufactured it that way so as to be as unappealing as possible) has given way to heated indoor 25 and 50 metre indoor lap pools; specialised warmer water “program” and health pools; interactive water play areas; ever-larger fitness gyms (of increasing specialisation); a multitude of program rooms; consulting suites; cafes with quality food in place of snack-selling kiosks or canteens; quality lounges, seating and waiting areas; multiple change and other service areas including those for people with disabilities, and much more.

Management has changed too. Many of the hose and thong and family-managed venues have long since given way to professional management regimes with greater numbers of and more skilled staff. Many venues are still contracted out but most are to fully professional organisations (whether commercial or not-for-profit) with highly skilled staff, staff training programs and staff with a broad diversity of skills. [Read more…]

Are Poorly Designed Suburbs Creating An Epidemic Of Chronic Diseases That Will Cost The Health System Millions?

Today I appeared on the front page of The Age in Melbourne.  I would like to say it was because of my good looks, but the rather unflattering photo of my children and I indicates that this was not the case. The reason I was front and centre taking up most of the cover of one of the countries most read publications (as well as most of page 15) was because there was a major issue that is affecting many new communities throughout Australia that needed maximum exposure.

I got the gig as they needed a family in my suburb that could speak on the issue of urban design and how it can affect the health of families. As the Public Relations Officer of the Point Cook Action Group (PCAG), a role I perform in my “spare time”, I was happy to volunteer my image and comments, as this is something I am very passionate about. The PCAG is currently lobbying all levels of Government on the unsustainable and “unhealthy” development that is taking place in our neighbourhood without adequate infrastructure to support it. [Read more…]

Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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YMCA Undercover Boss Australia – Lessons Learnt

I am not one to watch reality TV shows, but made the exception last night to watch ALFA member, industry colleague and Chief Operating Officer of YMCA, Nick Cox, take off the tie and return to his roots volunteering in a range of roles for the YMCA as “Undercover Boss”.

Nick donned his disguise as “Chris Williams” to experience some of YMCA’s programs and services firsthand to gain unique and valuable insights into the organisation.

I loved watching Nick (I mean Chris) at Camp Yarramundi (NSW) where he almost got kicked in the head by an abseiling kid, tangled in a rope whilst attempting to wind it up and dropping the “s” word in front of the kids as he got catapulted on some sort of bungey like trapeze.  If that had’ve been me, I probably would’ve said a lot worse.

[Read more…]

Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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The Future of Australian Sport and the Importance of Leisure Facilities

Sport is fundamental to Australia’s society, culture and economy.  However, there are new challenges confronting our nation both on and off the sporting field.  The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) understands that identifying the emergence of new trends in lifestyles, social values, technology and competitive advantage and understanding their impact is vital if we wish to plan for the future success of sport in Australia and as a result is about to embark on a landmark study into Australia’s sporting future.

Old Lane Rope‘The Future of Australian Sport’ is a joint initiative between the ASC and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).  The aim of this project is to provide a direction for the Australian Government and sports community by identifying a range of trends that may impact Australian sport over the next 30 years.  This is the first research study of its kind within the field of Australian sport and will examine the multiple trends that will impact the future of sport in Australia.

[Read more…]

Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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The industry doesn’t receive the level of recognition it deserves

Australian Leisure Facilities AssociationALFA hosted an industry forum on 26 July 2011, with invited industry guests representing local council, management organisations, department of sport and health.

The forum was aimed at gaining industry feedback on what ALFA should focus on, how this can be achieved in a sustainable manner and how the industry can work together to strengthen our voice for the betterment of the industry.

Discussions focused around what ALFA needs to do to actively pursue it’s vision of “more people actively participating in quality community facilities to improve the health and wellbeing of the Australian population”.

There was overwhelming agreement that the industry does not receive the level of recognition it deserves for the important role our facilities play in developing healthy communities.

[Read more…]

Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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Census 2011: Which industry do you work in?

After having just completing my census commitments for the next five years, I was forced to (yet again) think hard about what “industry” I work in. Granted, on this occasion there wasn’t much choice.  Health service and community care service industries were the closest fit, but it was “other – please specify” for me again.

This seems to be a common occurrence these days, regardless of what survey, application or form I am filling out at the time. As I work in a Council owned and managed leisure facility, sometimes I select “Local Government” (which excludes a significant percentage of Recreation Professionals), not because this is the correct answer, but because it is usually the closest fit. Sometimes “sport” is the closest option, as people undertake sport activities in the facility I work in, but seeing as though our industry doesn’t get any access to the national sport budget I don’t like selecting that option. But quite frankly, I am sick of ticking “Other”.

Where is the “recreation” industry box? Surely we are a significant enough industry to warrant our own box.

[Read more…]

Gary Penfold

Gary Penfold (Manager of Warringah Aquatic Centre) has worked in the Recreation Industry since 1980 in a range of areas including Sports Development, Dry Facility Management, Special Events and Aquatic Facility Management. Gary has contributed to the development of the industry through various voluntary roles during this time, including: ARI NSW Executive Committee, ARI Training Committee, National Water Safety Council, ARI Conference and Magazine committees. A former ARI President for three years, Gary Penfold currently holds the position of Chair of ALFA.

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