We began this past year of CAFA just a couple of months after the AIDA World Championships in Vancouver. The event was an organizational success and it raised the public awareness and knowledge of freediving all across Canada.
Now that people know about us and what we’re up to, it’s time to get more people into the sport. Towards that end, CAFA has attended a number of public events and trade shows. Earlier this calendar year we attended the Vancouver Aquarium’s Underwater BC Weekend, and the Advil Outdoor Shows in both Vancouver and Toronto.
One thing of note with this year’s trade show circuit is that more people are aware of freediving. Most know the basic idea and are aware that we have a local star in the sport. “some lady …” Of course they still think we’re crazy. 🙂
CAFA has also committed to having a booth at the upcoming DEMA (Dive Equipment Manufacturers Association) trade show in Las Vegas. The USAA, Performance Freediving and DeeperBlue will be there as well, providing a unified voice to let the dive industry know that freediving is the next big thing. In particular, we want to educate Canadian dive shops about freediving and encourage them to provide snorkeling, skin diving and freediving education and equipment in their stores.
Sport Canada Funding Project
Another project that CAFA has been working on since the very beginning is applying for Sport Canada funding. Sport Canada has a four year funding cycle. They took applications this year and won’t take applications again until 2009. However, they have several requirements before we can even apply for funding. Essentially, we have to have at least 3000 members. We need provincial or territorial freediving associations in at least eight provinces, at least six of which must send athletes to Nationals. We also have to have a number of policy documents in place and have all of our official documentation in both English and French. See this link for more details.
When we revisited those requirements at the beginning of this year, we realized that we weren’t ready for this funding cycle and even next cycle could be a challenge. The most challenging requirements for us are in membership and participation levels. Our membership numbers have been holding steady below 100 members so we have a long way to go. That’s the reason we’ve been hitting the trade show circuit so hard.
Obviously we’ll be without federal funding for the next four years if we ever get it at all. There’s no instant gratification but the process of aspiring to become a fundable organization will push CAFA into being the type of national sports governing body that we want to be, funding or no funding.
This year’s National Championships in Ottawa was particularly noteworthy because it set a couple of significant milestones for CAFA. First of all, this was CAFA’s first ever Nationals outside of the Vancouver area. It signifies that CAFA is growing beyond being a primarily Vancouver-based organization towards being a truly national sport governing body.
Secondly, this year’s Nationals along with the preceding Eastern Regionals competition were the first competitions in which Kirk did not play an active role. While Kirk is a definite asset and we always like to have him around, it is good to know that we can have a successful competition without him and that the competition schedule no longer depends on the schedule of one busy person.
It has been an interesting year on the CAFA board as all of us took on new jobs. Kirk resigned his long time post as President and moved to Past President, I moved from Vice President to President, Mandy moved from Treasurer to Vice President, Helen moved from Secretary to Treasurer, and Peter moved into the Secretary position. As the new President, I’ve had some particularly large shoes to fill. It has been a learning process for all of us and as a result, we haven’t accomplished quite as much as we had hoped. However, if we can keep some continuity by keeping our jobs into next year, I’m sure that the 2005/2004 year will be very productive for CAFA.
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