Hosting An Online AGM: Blog Takeover with UBWRFC Captain, Frankie

COVID-19 can be seen everywhere in the news today, in fact it’s almost impossible to open up social media without seeing an article about it. However, at UBWRFC (Women’s Rugby), we didn’t let the fact our members are all hundreds of miles apart get in the way of everyone’s highlight of the year – the AGM.

The aim of our AGM was to make the best out of a bad situation and to ensure newly elected committee don’t miss out on the experience of this important event in our club calendar.

I hope to share with you some tips to ensure every club is able to host a successful, fair but most importantly inclusive, virtual, AGM for their whole club.

Our AGM

  • 65+ members voting
  • 70+ people watching along
  • 11 newly elected committee members
  • Accessible to both members and coaches

Our Tips

Choose an appropriate media platform!

As silly as it sounds, the choice of platform you decide to host your AGM on can really detract or enhance everyone’s experience. An application such as house party is in accessible to a lot of members and quite frankly rather messy-especially for a group of rugby girls. Our solution was to use Facebook live stream as we were able to broadcast the event to everyone without having to make a new group, ensuring everyone was included…coaches too!

Keep it as true to a real AGM as possible

Admittedly this years’ AGM aren’t exactly going to be the same as normal, however by making it as realistic as possible makes the night seem as if it is no different. In our AGM we included speech videos to watch together and live facetime calls to record the newly elected committees’ reaction of the best moment of their life. Additional to this, we had a committee stick man drawing in the background, so that as people were elected their paper faces were moved up, gradually forming the committee as the meeting went along-this even made a new committee picture possible. Play about with this, plus it makes the night more memorable.

Keep everyone involved

As well as live facetimes on the night, club members were also able to comment along and express their thoughts and feelings throughout the night making sure everyone was included.

Be prepared

Even on a regular AGM night, there is bound to be an unexpected curve ball that needs to be dealt with. In our case, a vacant committee position was opened up on the night and people put themselves forward for the position. Ensure you have the ability to deal with situations like this, i.e. be able to make a voting medium quickly to cater for these changes.

Let’s just say these alternative, virtual AGM events will be remembered by club members for years to come but remembered as an event that continued to unify the club even during the craziest time of our lives!

Race Report: University of Bristol Boat Club Head Race 2019

Guest post written by: Iwan Rees (Press and Publicity Officer, UBBC)

University of Bristol Boat Club joined forces with their Nonesuch Alumni rowers!

Last Saturday (30 November 2019) the University of Bristol Boat Club hosted our annual Head Race. Over 150 crews from a range of University Boat Clubs came to Bristol’s Boat House in Saltford, and took to the River Avon to battle it out to be the fastest crew down the course!

Our senior squads took to the water in morning with both first eights looking to defend the headship. As the first boat down the course, the Men’s 1st VIII had a clear course on which to make their mark.  

“After much anticipation, and a dominant display at the BUCS Indoor comp, the Men’s 1st VIII was fired up and rearing to go in search of their third consecutive win at UBBC Head Race.” – Simran Gill, Cox Men’s 1st VIII

Simran Gill was the Cox for the Men’s 1st VIII. For those who don’t know, the Cox (aka Coxswain) in a rowing crew is the team-member who sits in the stern of the boat and is responsible for steering, and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers. Simran he told us:

The boys got up to the start with confidence in their strength, with five members already having featured in winning crews over the previous two years. After settling into the loose rhythm they had been honing during training, they maintained this through the s-bends. Once onto the ‘Salford Straight’ they drew from practice and went all-out to secure Bristol’s Men’s Championship Medal for another year.

Men’s 1st VIII came away with a gold medal and an impressive start to the winter racing season!

Up next, the Men’s 2nd VIII stepped up, to follow the 1st VIII to a medal winning time. Isabel Burridge is the Coz for the Men’s 2nd VIII, and she spoke to us about their performance on the day:

“From our progression in sessions, we felt confident going into head race and were aiming high. The race itself went pretty well and the guys rowed fantastically, despite a few hiccups with the cox box and a last-minute manoeuvre! As a team we produced a good time, putting us first in our category and finishing sixth overall – a wonderful result that we as a crew can be proud of.”

The Women’s 1st VIII was the next crew down the course, and were another team looking to defend their headship from last year. They adapted well to new combinations, introduced by new Coach, Holly Stead, and the team put their training progress to use.  They finished in with a gold medal and an impressive 10 second gap between themselves and Bath University team, who finished in second place.

Our Men’s and Women’s Intermediate 4+ crews were the last of the senior boats to race. Both were filled with relative newcomers to the senior squads, but despite this put in a really strong effort, with Women wining Gold and our Men’s crew winning Bronze. We spoke to each crew about their performance on the water:

Motivated by the home crowd we saw a big shift from the dynamic middle pair to overtake the crew out in front at 750m, with a sprint to the finish – we were all exhausted but delighted with our performance as a team.” – Rose Scotton, cox Men’s 4+  

“We went into Head Race with a strong race plan, setting out our goals for the race developed during our training sessions. Once onto the bend after the final bridge, we had to take a wider line due to a capsized four but, after a quick technical reset, we got back into our final focuses for the straight and held our focus on strong grip through the water till the end, achieving first place in our category. – Ophelia Morley, Women’s 4+ crew member.

To finish the day, in Division II, the Novice Squad made their racing debut. This came just weeks after their selection and with very limited time on the water beforehand.  

The Men’s Beginner VIII were first down the 1km course, aiming for a smooth race and to build on the basics they have worked on in training. They finished ninth in their field, but felt positive after the race with Anna, the Men’s Beginner VIII cox, said that despite her nerves:

“The atmosphere and buzz of race day was incredible. I am so pleased with how we did and the resilience demonstrated by everyone. Bring on the next race!”

The Women’s Beginner VIII followed, and finished in eighth place. Overall they were very pleased with their performance as a full crew, having done very little full crew rowing in training. 

We were really happy with our first race, we were energised by the crowds cheering [and] there was a high feeling of morale and team spirit – everyone was very pleased” – Kirsty Partridge, Cox Women’s Beginner VIII

To end the day the Beginner 4+’s raced with an equally impressive debut – our Women’s Crew came third in their category and our Men’s crew finished in ninth (despite a collision into the bank at one point)!

“Our Women’s Beginner IV got off to an excellent start in their rowing career this weekend. During the race they rowed at their very best, and ended the race pushed on by cheering support from the bank. We are very happy with the result and excited to build on this strong foundation going forwards.” – Mollie Cornell, cox Women’s Beginner IV

Ultimately, the day was a huge success for the club. We want to say a huge thanks to Simran Gill, our Events Officer, who organised and executed the day flawlessly. Also, a huge thanks to our Alumni Club – Nonesuch BC – for coming down and giving us a good run for our money!

We now look forward to the rest of the season and to next year’s UBBC Head Race!! 

Find us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with the club activities!

Full results – MENS:  

Championship VIII – Gold
Intermediate VIII – Gold
Intermediate IV – 3th
Beginner IV – 10th
Beginner IV – 9th
Championship I – 2nd
Championship II – 2nd

Full results – WOMENS:  

Championship VIII – Gold
Intermediate IV – Gold
Beginner VIII   – 8th
Beginner IV – 3rd
Championship I – 4th
Championship II – 5th

Full results – MIXED:  

Championship II– 5th