Ideally each convener should be experienced in their respective activity. This is to ensure that they can pass on their knowledge to future club members. Some activities are more demanding in this respect due to the potential safety and environmental issues. However it is possible for a keen beginner to take up a convener position as long as there is someone around to help lead the trips.
The convener's primary role is to oversee and promote their particular activity within the club. This involves the promotion of safe and ethical practices, ensuring that knowledge is passed on to the next generation of club members and ensuring that the equipment is maintained at an acceptable standard. The most effective method to teach newcomers is running several club trips throughout the year, particularly those that focus on beginners. Alternatively the convener can encourage trips by other experienced members. The management of equipment involves the purchasing and inventory of equipment once a year and the maintenance and retiring of equipment during the year.
To summarize the convener should;
- ensure the trips are conducted in a safe and responsible manner
- pass on knowledge to the next generation
- instill appropriate ethical behavior
- manage the activity specific equipment
To ensure safety of all members of a trip it is important to restrict participation if an individual is unable to safely participate in an activity. Individuals may be restricted from participating in an activity if they are deemed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs which may affect performance. Individuals may also be restricted if they are unable or unwilling to follow instructions. Those with unsuitable equipment (i.e. jeans on a XC-Skiing trip or no thermals on a wet caving trip) should also be restricted from participation.
Some trips also require a certain level of fitness and those who are not fit enough may not be capable of safely participating. Other physical characteristics may also be an issue. i.e. A tight cave may restrict participation by larger people or a cave where long reach is essential may be inappropriate for short people.
The convener should be aware when the activity specific equipment is hired out. This is to make sure the equipment is in the hands of people who understand the correct use of the equipment and who will return it clean and in working order. In particular, the rock climbing, caving and kayaking gear is only hired out to people who have been checked off by the convener.
Each year, the convener for each activity should take a complete inventory of the activity specific equipment. This is to ensure that none of the equipment disappears from year to year and that the equipment is serviceable. The inventory should be completed prior to purchasing new equipment so that informed purchases can be made. The latest inventory should be made accessible on the committee.lumc.org.au website.
When purchasing new gear, the main aim is to ensure there is enough serviceable equipment to meet the anticipated needs of the coming year. What this actually means will vary from year to year and be highly dependent on the make up of the committee. The popularity of the particular activity and the loudness of the conveners voice often being the significant factors.
Purchases can be made from any suitable vendor. For expensive, compact gear it is often advantageous to purchase the gear overseas and have it shipped to Australia. The strong Aussie dollar and the low prices of technical gear in the US and Canada means that even after postage the gear can be purchased at 2/3's the price of purchasing it locally. Good examples of such goods include cams, head torches and GPS units.
Locally the following vendors have given good prices;
- Online retailer "Climbing Anchors" has given significant discounts on their already cheap products. Distributes rock climbing supplies. Has some caving gear.
- Online retailer "Rock Hardware" has a larger range of climbing gear and has excellent service. Also stocks some gear suitable for caving.
- Online retailer "Bufo Australia" has some decent durable shoes ideal for hire or gym use. (In particular the UnBreakable)
- Online retailer "Evo Sports" has a decent range of caving specific gear.
- Adventure Pros For Sale forum often has good deals on paddling and other outdoors gear.
Some international vendors that we have used before;
- "Gear Express" has some of the best all round gear deals.
- International retailers "Backcountry" and "Backcountry Gear" often have great deals on cams and high end climbing protection. The second store has more reasonable shipping rates.
- International retailer "Rock Empire" has cheap deals on cams.
Borrowing the Uni Ute
The Sports Center has a ute that can be borrowed by LUMC on weekends and some public holidays. There is no age limit or license restrictions (i.e. P-Platers are eligible to drive it). The insurance excess however does change according to age of driver. You will be required to give license details for all those who will be driving the vehicle before you borrow the ute. The key can be picked up from the Sport Center front desk after 5pm on Friday and returned by 8am Monday.
If on collection of the ute, it does not have a full tank of petrol, this must be reported immediately to staff at front desk. The vehicle should be returned clean and with a full tank.
The ute is given preferentially to groups that are competing and then to those who can benefit the most from it. So if you indicate it is needed to carry extra gear (i.e. muddy caving gear or kayaks) or is needed to tow the cage then you are more likely to be given preference. The request should be made to Rennie in the Sports Center and can only be requested by the president of the club on behalf of trip leaders. Once it has been confirmed that the ute is available, a form must be filled out at front desk asap.