By John Grossmann, District 17 President
This was my first year as President of District 17 and I enjoyed the challenge. I very much appreciate the insight, hard work, and support of my fellow Board members.
We ended the year on a high note, with a very successful Taos Regional. Winifred Stebbins, Leslie Cronin, Dennis and Patsy Scott, plus an army of volunteers did an outstanding job in just their second year as a host city. They recorded 1435 tables, a nice increase over two years ago. The historic Sagebrush Inn was hopping with energy.
District 17 regionals averaged about 14,400 tables between 2011-13, but dropped to 12,184 in 2014, partially because of schedule disruption related to NABCs. This year was also affected by NABC scheduling - table count in Albuquerque and Las Vegas was down and, more significantly, Phoenix cancelled its fall regional tournament. From a purely financial perspective, 2015 will be at best a break-even year. With no national tournaments in our district next year, we have every reason to expect a rebound in attendance.
Table counts for our six regional tournaments in 2015:
Las Vegas 3062
D17 Grant Program
Over the past four years, District 17 has distributed $11,550 in grants to smaller units. About 26% of our members are in the 14 units that have not hosted a regional tournament in the past three years. These units are eligible to receive grants.
We recently asked units to focus on membership building and newcomer bridge education. Grant funds may also be used for technology upgrades or financial support for struggling sectional tournaments. No matching funds are required. To date, 11 of the eligible units have received one or more grants. Awards can range from $250 to $1000. Units may also tap ACBL’s CAP program, which provides a 75% subsidy for date specific membership building activities.
The district budget includes $3000 for this program in 2016. Applications require only an email explaining the intended purpose, the requested amount, and the unit’s current bank assets. Please send your grant application to me at Blackstone.firstname.lastname@example.org - award decisions will be made at the Denver D17 Board meeting in May.
The key number is 104!
I wrote about “Learn Bridge in a Day” in my October column in ScoreCard. John Wolf and I took the plunge in Northern Colorado. We had a major ad blitz in newspapers and asked current ACBL members to hand a colorful invitation postcard to their friends and neighbors. We ran LBIAD workshops in Greeley, Loveland, and Fort Collins on three different days for 104 participants who were either completely new to bridge or long lapsed players.
Now begins the hard work. LBIAD introduces folks to bridge over a four hour session. Participants get exposed to the basics of bidding, scoring, and play and get to play about ten hands. The key to success is channeling these potential players into “continuation” activities. John Wolf started a new sanctioned 99er game in Loveland that has been pulling 7-9 tables a week for a mini-lesson and 18 board game. I initiated two hours of supervised play in Greeley, which includes a short lesson and then lots of cards on the table. Some of the LBIAD participants will be taking lessons with other area teachers. We started a “Sunday Newspaper”, an email on the weekend to communicate with this new cohort of players. A database of every participant allows us to track their attendance.
District 17 has a site license for this program. Units and clubs have free access to the materials. Contact me if your area wants to try this program.
ACBL will be hosting a Learn Bridge in a Day event on Sunday November 29 at the Denver NABC, and another next spring at the Reno NABC. Folks interested in this program may become certified by serving as a table helper and attending a supplemental seminar the same day. Contact Patty Tucker (email@example.com or 404-735-4779) if you are interested. There is more information available on the Whirlwind Bridge website.
NABC Turkey Trot
This copy of ScoreCard should be arriving right around Thanksgiving and the kickoff for the Denver NABC. Bonnie Bagley has signed me up to work at the prize desk. I can’t promise you tickets to the Broncos versus Patriots game on Sunday night, but Denver is a lot of fun during the holidays, with wonderful crisp days and great restaurants. You can stroll to nearby museums, see a play, have high tea at the Brown Palace, or take an empty bag to the U.S. Mint. Come join the fun. Stop by and say hello.
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