We want Out to Swim to be one of the most friendly and supportive clubs in the country. Every single one of us plays a valuable part in its success story and we want to make sure that you have every opportunity to express your ideas, ask questions, raise issues and generally contribute to making the links between members stronger. We also need to make sure that you know where to turn if things don't go quite right. We have developed a range of communication channels. We want to encourage the use of social media and other channels to improve communication between members of the club, and with the Committee.
The main OTS communication vehicles are:
- The OTS website. This is the “official” face of the club, and is used to give information to members and prospective members, and to post news about events and achievements. The website is managed by members of the committee. Other club members can ask for items to be posted on the website, and such requests will not be reasonably refused, though items may be edited for brevity
- The OTS email system. Only committee members and the Head Coach / Teacher may send emails to the club members using this system. Club emails are used to communicate with all members of the club or selected sub-sets of it
- The OTS Annual General Meeting. This meeting is the formal meeting required by our Constitution, and its main role is to elect a new committee each year, but it can also provide a forum for debate
- Ad hoc meetings of members. In the recent past a Swimming Meeting was held to find out what people wanted from their swimming sessions.
- Facebook pages for the club and its separate disciplines. These are variously managed, and are not formal communication channels for the club, though they are often used by committee members to get information out quickly, and in addition to the formal channels. The group called OTS-Members is administered by some members of the Committee, together with ordinary members. This group is NOT an official Facebook group, but is intended to provide a closed forum for club members to discuss and comment as they wish.
- Twitter. There is an official OTS Twitter account managed by members of the Committee
In using these, and other, communication channels we ask that everyone adopts the principle of ‘First Do No Harm’. We want to ensure that everyone can express themselves openly, while also ensuring that others do not feel belittled or attacked as a consequence. You have a responsibility to ensure that your use of any communication channel does not harm or injure any other member of the club, or associated person, or the club as an entity. This doesn’t mean you can’t discuss ‘difficult’ issues, but we ask that you always respect the principle of ‘First Do No Harm’. This means, among many other things:
- respecting the privacy of others (do not post anything about an individual without their permission), and don’t re-publish any communication which took place in private;
- not revealing confidential information about any organization or individual. If you are not sure, don’t post
- not publishing comments that might be construed as hostile, harassing or personal attacks. Remember that written posts are generally more easily misunderstood or misinterpreted than face-to-face communication.
- Getting your facts right, and not spreading rumours
- Remembering that it’s probably best not to post on social media or email someone when you feel angry or wronged
Our hope is that these guidelines will enable all of us to participate in open, fun and healthy discussion on-line.
In particular, we want to make it expressly clear that Social Media is a forum for you to use as you wish, you can post what you want, whenever you want; we're not interested in trying to control any groups. However, if someone posts something on any forum that you consider offensive (that is, it breaches the principle of “First Do No Harm” as exemplified in the bulleted list above) you can contact any member of the Committee to discuss the matter. If we agree, we may take disciplinary action against the member who caused the offence. If the post was on the OTS-Members forum we may remove the post. Posts will not be deleted for any other reason. HOWEVER, if everyone always sticks to the guidelines above then this should never be necessary.
Please also remember that electronic communications can be public for an indefinite period of time, and can be accessed by people you may not have considered, such as employers.
For an organization like Out To Swim, that relies on dedicated volunteers, tirelessly giving their time to help create the club we all know and love, we all need to take responsibility for maintaining our reputation, and remember that negativity is damaging to everyone.
So if things aren't going to plan, if you've a question, a concern, or you'd like to help out with something you can see isn't working we'd appreciate it if you get in touch with your committee first. We just want to make sure that you know where to turn if you need help and that you know you might not get a response straight away but when you do we're genuinely interested in working with you where we can.
You can send us a private message on Facebook: www.facebook.com/outtoswim or send us an old fashioned email: hello (at) outtoswim.org. You can also get in touch with any member directly by clicking on them on the team page. We would hope to get back to you within 48 hours.
Thanks for being part of Out to Swim :)