Over the past three years of my SCCA membership I have been very critical of the organization on many occasions because of things I perceived wrong. It turns out the criticism I voiced was misdirected and I was wrong to blame the organization, when the real culprits are those people I have been in contact with that don’t take guidance given to them through SCCA University seriously, and ultimately don’t take sufficient action to help the organization grow and improve.
But this post is not about blaming more people. The things I posted before still apply, just remember to strike the name SCCA in those posts and replace it with incompetent managers and supervisors that just happen to be responsible for the running of the local SCCA regions. Instead, it was pointed out to me some resources available for members on the SCCA.com web site that posses a wealth of information that if used would really help this organization going forward. The key is for people to use it. And for people to use it they must be aware that such information exists. At present it is buried among many uploads of various importance, documentation about various rules, forms, training manuals, etc. I must add that this information (and it seems to be quite old) is no different from the excellent training other countries ASN’s provide like CAMS in Australia, Singapore GP organization, ATCUAE and the many British clubs under the MSA. You read that right, SCCA training is no different than the FIA accredited training, the only difference is that the foreigners actually implement the ideas in their volunteer programs.
So to start I will point out the relevant slides from each of the two presentations I found. There may be more presentations that exist, and if anyone would be kind enough to forward me the copies I’m happy to talk about them in future posts. The presentations I stumbled upon are quite brief at 30 slides each, and cover very common sense concepts with the very goal I have been pushing for in my criticism, including training and learning opportunities.
VM101 Working with Volunteers & VM103 Volunteer Motivation
The presentation does not list an author, so if anyone has information on whom it is I should give credit to, please contact me and I would be happy to list their name here. At present the information is available for download for SCCA members by logging into the web site and following the link from the top menu to Resources and then the File Cabinet. You will also find many seminars on Leadership (which I think is very important) but this is very basic and critical to all of my arguments from day one.
The most important slide from VM101 is this nugget. Pretty much all of the argument against my suggestions for more training have been to state that SCCA regions offer “on-the-job” training. That, as you can see above is only part of the bigger picture of all training possibilities. I can’t stress it enough how dangerous “on-the-job” training is, especially for someone just starting out as a volunteer, but isn’t limited to newbies: being at the track is dangerous. Anyone, anywhere on the track can sustain serious injury or death whether they’re working as marshals or just spectators. Cars crash, debris flies, there are better and just as important training resources available that should be used first! (before throwing newbies to the sharks in the real world)
This is equally as important slide because from my personal experience I have had complaints made against me without being told what they were. Essentially I was accused and convicted by the “powers that be” without having a chance to defend myself. This blog and my posts on the facebook discussion groups are my way of defending myself, even when most people reading my posts criticize me that I have a bad attitude and refuse to listen to suggestions. (suggestions that are common sense. I already use them and would use more if only I was given feedback, instructions, clear expectations and given credit for stuff I do correctly!)
Motivation is a ridiculously effective factor that is practically most important with volunteers. If I’m not motivated to participate I don’t go to an event. SCCA as an organization loses out if people don’t show up. This is a continuous phenomena with the constantly small crews that man both club and pro events. People’s motivation is a legitimate concern and shouldn’t be scoffed off as something that can’t be satisfied with the limited budgets and strict organizer rules. Taking a few pictures motivates me. If I can’t do it while cars are on track, I want to be given an opportunity to do it in the paddock. As a basic example of my motivation.
From previous example, picture taking is not the only motivation I have. At some point (working six F1 events in one season for example) there are too many pictures of the exact same thing so that motivation loses it’s appeal, and there are other factors that motivate me. This is where Leaders and Managers should recognize the continuous evolution of motivation and expectations. People I’ve argued with tend to hang up on one argument when I’ve already moved on to the next. That is not to say that others aren’t still motivated by picture taking and it’s an important perk of volunteering. Similarly working Pro events motivates me more than working club events. That’s a given! Is it wrong?
Ultimately it is important to recognize why people volunteer in the first place, no further explanation needed.
The only question remains: why isn’t this information public? Why aren’t these guidelines used in practice like other countries do?