Voluntarism and national sports organisations (Part I)

The dominance of non-degreed persons at the leadership level of many sporting organisations here may well be viewed as militating against the involvement of others who have been in sports and who went on to gain degrees.
The Executive members of the vast majority of national sports organisations here, from the very beginning, were characterised by varying levels of competencies in so far as sports administration is concerned. It is perhaps more than a little unfortunate that Executive members seem unperturbed by this fact. But this may well be reflective of their varying levels of understanding of the role of the organisation and their commitment to it and its mandate.  It is safe to conclude therefore that there is a shortage of professional sports experience and exposure in respect of the persons elected to lead many of the national sporting organisations in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Executive members, over the years, have engaged in limited effort to ensure growth and development within their respective organisations and the global sports movement.  This has been restricted, for the most part, to attendance at the Sports Administrators’ Courses (formerly Itinerant School) organised by the NOC in collaboration with Olympic Solidarity. Even so, one does not get a sense that these programmes have significantly impacted the individual members of the national sporting organisations who attend them. In a presentation to a National Consultation on Sports in St Vincent and the Grenadines in 1991, it was stated:
Associations have failed, particularly in the recent past, to attract more mature and experienced personnel, committed to the process of developing the respective sporting disciplines in the context of national development objectives.
In the same presentation, it was observed:
Too often we find active sports people being voted on to executives of National Associations; a feature which weakens their performances at both levels of involvement.
Associations offer far too little by way of leadership training so that there can be greater depth within them to allow for capable continuity.
Succession planning seems not to be a critical feature of the management of national sporting organisations.
Whatever about the general problems of the different national sporting organisations, their leadership and general membership does not appear to see the General Meeting, the highest decision-making body of the institution, as being of any significance other than when international and regional Games, meetings and conferences are scheduled. They are also most active at the time of elections. These facts reflect perhaps the primary loyalties and sources of motivation of those who have become involved in national sporting organisations – the desire to attend Games, to travel to meetings and conferences abroad. All too often it seems a matter of self-interest before all else, for the most part.