Captain’s corner: Cameron Dawson

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Our national captain reflects on his first three months in the role and sounds the rallying cry for volunteers…

You may have been wondering why there hasn’t been a ‘Captains Report’ in recent issues or maybe you hadn’t even noticed, and that is the point. We’ve agreed that articles will appear only when there is something to say – leaving more room for members’ input and information. Some may say I have already said enough, but more of that later.

I am now in my third month as national captain and I have begun the usual tour of the regions, giving short presentations on matters either close to my heart or of national relevance.

Time constraints at most regional meetings mean that I cannot always pursue my personal campaign to improve how clubs treat gender equality and my desire for a handicap system that is also gender free. I am sure many members are quite pleased about that, really.

But as requested by HQ, and with my happy agreement, I have been covering two subjects that are slightly related to this. These are the role of national captaincy and the election of new faces to the board.

Both of these require members either to put themselves forward for consideration or be put forward by others.
Each requires people with the skills and time to do the role and it would be really beneficial if the past captains and existing board had a list to choose from that included younger and gender diverse candidates. Anyone chosen would, of course, be those who most suited the positions.

In the case of the captaincy, this does not mean it has to be your region’s turn but rather somebody who can represent and promote the association at regional, national and international levels.

It does require a significant time commitment. I have 84 days this year, but I have chosen to attend all the events to which I am invited as well as leading all the matches. That is not an absolute requirement of the position and it could be done with fewer days’ attendance.

I will be asking every regional manager to give me at least one name who could be considered – if not for 2020 then for future years.
If you think you have the qualities required please let your regional manager know in confidence.

You will be asked to provide a brief CV, but that is only to allow the past captains to make a considered decision. After all, it is pretty likely that most will not know you.

And while the commitment is undoubtedly significant there are a few benefits, in addition to the educational value of attending meetings and being part of the board.  Since April, I have played Royal Porthcawl, Pyle & Kenfig, Royal Cinque Ports, Prince’s, Ganton, Moor Park (three times), Bamburgh Castle and Sunningdale – to name just a few. There is much more to come.

Regarding the positions for directors, the time commitment is much less and involves attending around four board meetings a year,
usually in central London. For the most part, it is manageable in a day by train and there are email communications and conference calls when, and if, matters arise that require urgent decisions.

The skills you can bring to the role will be the main deciding factor determining selection. The association are looking for at least two directors at the next AGM as the rules dictate that two, who have served their terms, must stand down. If you think you fit the bill, and would like to be considered, please contact chief executive Bob Williams at HQ.

As I said earlier, I do have some strong opinions about equality, and even the running of the association, and I am not afraid to pass on those views. However, I never intend to offend or upset anybody. In my magazine interview in April, I was trying to say that too many clubs had the captain’s selection procedures that I described and that was aimed at them and not our past captains’ committee.

I in no way said, or meant to say, that is how our past captains’ behave.  They can, however, only choose from the list of members they are given. As I’ve already stated, I implore regional managers and individuals to think about nominations. Your association needs you.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at future meetings, and matches, and having a good laugh while taking in the invaluable education we receive.

I think I am now up to date on GDPR, enlightened about flexible memberships and embracing Facebook advertising. I will leave you with what I consider one of most useful things I have learned so far as national captain. It’s how many pairs of underpants you need for each trip!

As someone with an A-Level in further pure maths I have come up with a simple mathematical formula that you can all use. U=D2–1. Where U = number of pairs of underpants required. D = number of days you are away x2 (cleanliness at all times) – 1 (the pair you are wearing when you set off). You can, of course, convert the equation to socks (simply change the U for an S).

By Marie Taylor

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