BSAC is finding ways for club culture to continue during the lockdown. Marketing Manager Debbie Powell explains how we can use technology to better engage with fellow members and continue training.
We hope you are all safe and well and are finding ways to adjust to this new way of living and working that is needed to overcome this terrible pandemic. BSAC life as we knew it has been turned upside down with no diving, snorkelling or meeting up possible under the current restrictions. It is a time like no other and is challenging for us all.
Whether you are now caring for children home from school; classified as being in an ‘at risk’ category; are facing income instability; have had to self-isolate or are feeling the wobbles that many of us are experiencing right now, please look after yourselves. You may find the ideas we've written about helpful in doing that.
Strength in our community
Thank you for your support as a member and everything you do to help BSAC function. We have already seen incredible spirit, generosity and kindness as we make our way through this new reality. And we are confident that as a network we will get through and come out of this together, so we can dive another day.
As the country begins to adjust to its temporary ‘new normal’, we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the changes we are making, and to reinforce the importance of our community coming together for the good of our sport.
Many clubs and members have been quick off the mark to utilise technology to continue with club life the best they – we’ve seen online learning, online club nights and a true community spirit in sharing these new experiences with the wider network.
It’s a cliché perhaps, but it is true that the whole of our network is greater than the sum of its parts. As our community learns new and creative ways of training, engaging members and furthering our sport (in any way they can), be assured we will work to share that with the whole network for everyone’s benefit.
From our various homes, HQ staff will continue to work on your behalf over these next few weeks and months, doing everything within our power to offer support to clubs and centres, and to engage and support members the best we can.
So what’s the plan?
In the light of the fundamental changes to how our sport and club life can now take place, we’ve clearly needed to reprioritise. We are working to streamline our operations, including furloughing staff where possible and other operations.
But our three main areas of focus are developing online learning, support for clubs and working to engage and support members. Let’s look at each of those in turn. We welcome any feedback you may have on this, or for you to share any thoughts or ideas on how we can keep our community strong. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0151 350 6254.
1. Online learning
One positive that has come from all of this is a race to get BSAC training online. Here’s a lowdown on the current status and the ongoing plan…
Many BSAC training courses could have the theory element delivered online and there’s no reason why that can’t be done. Indeed, many clubs are already offering this. If you’re not sure what your options are as a member or as a club, we hope the following will help you understand the broader thinking.
The plan with BSAC online learning has three main threads to it, as follows…
- Supporting clubs and centres to deliver their own theory lessons
Some clubs are already up and running with this, others are not yet and others may not be planning on it. For clubs keen to keep members engaged over the shutdown/social distancing period, this will be a great way to keep members in touch with your club. There is support already online at bsac.com/instructorsupport for clubs.
Already running online training?
If you are a club or centre already doing this and are happy to open the (online) doors to other members, please submit some simple event details and we’ll add your event/s to the new centralised listing of online learning being delivered by our network of clubs and centres, to share with all members.
- Delivering centrally-coordinated theory lessons using webinar software
There is now a centrally-coordinated programme of theory lessons for members to sign up to at bsac.com/trainingwebinars. These are being delivered by volunteer instructors from clubs, Regional Teams and the Instructor Trainer Scheme, and will be administrated centrally.
- Developing an integrated online learning platform
In addition to the above we are progressing a platform that will enable online learning in members’ own time, rather than attending webinars at a given time. This is a more traditional online learning platform that will enable members to take lessons whenever it suits them, to take any ‘quizzes’ online and receive feedback. Work has started on Ocean Diver, BSAC’s most popular course. Once we’re further ahead with this we’ll be updating clubs, centres and instructors.
If you need any help or support with online learning or have any feedback, please email the Diver Resources Team
at email@example.com or call them on 0151 350 6203.
2. Support our clubs
BSAC’s network of clubs will clearly be experiencing lots of challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. We will work to support clubs by giving you tips, tools and ideas to help keep your club functioning and working with your members.
While there isn’t any actual diving or snorkelling going on at the moment, there is still a great opportunity to keep in touch with your members.
- New online support section for clubs
There is already support online in the new Club support during Covid-19 web section.
It includes advice on advice on:
- Communicating and engaging as a virtual club
- Making the most of social media channels
- Chairing online meetings and AGMs
- Understanding the financial support available
- Club support email
A new club support email, that will go to Branch Officers, and when appropriate instructors, will deliver the new advice and support direct to key club representatives’ inboxes. Please ensure you’re signed up to receive emails from us! (You can do this by clicking on 'Email preferences on your MyBSAC page).
- Websites for clubs
Many of you will have heard (before the pandemic took hold) that we announced a partnership with award-winning web agency Kolodo Uniform to supply BSAC clubs with a solution to create stunning new websites quickly and easily. We understand that clubs may not want to spend money right now but for those that are willing to invest, this could fill some time now and ensure your club really hits the ground running when we’re in the position to welcome new divers again. More information at kolodouniform.com/bsac
3. Engage and support members
More than ever we need to work to keep our community supported and engaged. Just because we’ve stopped diving and meeting up, it doesn’t mean we can’t plan, entertain, teach, connect and do many more things to keep the flame burning. To follow are what we have started and have planned.
- New weekly email, BSAC Spirit
You may have noticed that we launched a new weekly email recently called BSAC Spirit. This new weekly email aims to bring our family of members together; to share new advice and support, member benefits coming online, and frankly, to share some small things that may make you smile, as I think we’re all looking to the small things in life to find joy right now.
- Blog posts, competitions and trip reports
We have already started publishing blog posts with the aim of keeping divers engaged and supported. Posts such as ‘How to feed your diving habit while you’re not diving’, ‘Let’s look after ourselves’ and ‘How to be together, while apart’ will keep coming. Also, soon we plan to launch regular competitions and member trip reports.
- Special interest webinars
We have many knowledgable speakers in the BSAC community and many are now working to put talks together to share with fellow members. Any hot topics you'd like featured? Or guest speakers you'd like us to ask? Please email us and we'll see what we can do!
Stay safe and keep in touch
We will keep you posted on all of these developments and more. If you have any thoughts, ideas or feedback on how we can keep members engaged in our sport, support for our clubs or anything else, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call me on 0151 350 6254. For online learning and anything else diving or training related please email the Diver Resources Team at email@example.com or call 0151 350 6203. We’d love to hear from you.
Thank you once again for your support as a member. Someday this crisis will pass. We look forward to celebrating with all of you when it does and everyone manages to get back into the water. Meanwhile, our thoughts are with you, our incredible network of divers, snorkellers, members and friends.
Check out this support section which includes tips to look after ourselves and the new online learning hub.