Willow Wheelers Adult Section

Proposal to Establish an Adult Section of the Willow Wheelers Cycling Club

 24th November, 2017

Dear Member,

Introduction

We are writing to you on behalf of the Willow Wheelers Committee to inform you about an exciting new development for the Willow Wheelers Cycling Club. This is a proposal to officially constitute an expanded adult section of the Willow Wheelers (“The Wheelers”) which will be a section within the existing club catering for new and existing members aged 18 upwards. We are seeking your feedback on the proposed concept which is outlined in this letter.

Rationale for the Proposal

As you may be aware, the Willow Wheelers was founded by Christy Mc Daid in 1989 with the support of Willow Park School. The Wheelers had the objective of providing a cycling club for the pupils of Willow Park/Blackrock College and their parents.  Since its foundation the Wheelers has also used its cycling and social activities to raise funds for deserving causes in Africa, Asia and South America, including many Spiritan Congregation Missionary Projects.   As a result, the Wheelers have already raised nearly €2 million to date for these deserving causes and many of our boys and their parents have visited projects in Africa supported  by the Wheelers.
The Willow Wheelers have always actively encouraged parents and their sons to remain members of the Wheelers when their boys graduate from Junior Membership of the Wheelers and leave Blackrock College. As a result, a number of our “past parents” remain actively involved in the Wheelers many years after their sons have left the College. These “past parents” undertake an essential role assisting coaching boys and parents starting to cycle with the Wheelers, and in leading cycles for various age groups. They are also key in organising and supporting club events including the 100 Mile Cycle and our overseas trips and are represented on the Committee.

In recent years the number of “past parent” members has grown materially and now includes those who want to cycle predominately with fellow adult members in addition to support wider club activities. As a result, we already have a number of members in informal “past parent” groups who continue to cycle with each other and this includes some adult new Wheelers members whose sons have not cycled with the Wheelers. In addition, a growing number of our new adult female members now cycle with the fast growing Willow Wheelerettes.  This group has now grown to more than 80 active cyclists who organise weekly spins.

In summary, the Willow Wheelers already has an active and growing informal adult section comprising adult members cycling with each other. But we would also like to attract and retain more of our boys when they pass 18+ and more “past parents” as members of the Wheelers and would we would like to organise more activities for these members.

Proposal

To achieve our expanded objective we believe establishing a new section which organises additional cycling and related activities for adults is now a necessity.

We are also proposing to attract new adult members from the Willow Park and Blackrock College Community. This follows dialogue with representatives from the Blackrock College Union and Blackrock College representing the newly established Blackrock College Past Parents Association.  Both have been considering how they could introduce leisure cycling activities for past students of the College and the wider group of Past Parents of sons who attended Blackrock College.  The Wheelers were asked if we could accommodate new members from these groups in preference to them trying to organising something themselves.

The  Willow  Wheelers Committee have been considering this initiative for some time and have drafted and discussed a proposal as to how an Adult Section could be formally established and operated within the club while ensuring the ethos and objectives of the club remain unchanged. We now believe that this section can be established and developed without having a detrimental effect on the current core parent and son section of the Club.  But prior to progressing this concept we would now like to obtain input from the wider membership of the Wheelers.

To assist you in providing input, we have outlined a summary of the concept below:

The adult section will target and cater for existing and former members of the Wheelers aged 18+ so that an increased number will remain on as active members of the Wheelers through active participation in the Adult Section. This includes:

  • Current or past students of Willow Park/Blckrock College aged 18+ who were previously junior members of the Wheelers.
  • Past parents/members of the Wheelers who have lapsed in their membership of the Wheelers.

The Wheelers would also operate as the Cycling Club for the wider Willow/Blackrock College community and so would offer membership of the Wheelers to the following groups within the wider “Rock” community:

  • Past students of Blackrock College who were not previously members of the Wheelers, including those who are members of the Blackrock College Union;
  • Parents of current Willow Park and Blackrock College students who are not members of the Willow Wheelers;
  • Parents of past students of Blackrock College including those who are members of the Blackrock College Parents Association;
  • Adult females aged 18+ who are sisters of current or past Blackrock College Students;
  • Members of the Willow Park and Blackrock College Teaching Staff;
  • Members of the Spiritan community.

Programme of Activity

Further research is required among you our members to develop a programme of activities for the Adult Section but could include some of the following:

  • Formally organised Weekly Sundays spin for members with three sub-group categories depending on numbers and ability;
  • Formally organised spins for the Wheelerettes to continue as is;
  • An  annual overseas cycling  trip to Majorca, France, Spain;
  • A charity trip to Africa;
  • Group participation in a number of sportifs including Wicklow 200, Ring of Kerry.
  • A rock cycle for Africa open to all, to raise funds for Spiritan missionary  projects run in collaboration with  the Willow Park, Blackrock College Community;
  • Cycle in the Wheelers 100 mile cycle and fund raise by doing so.
  • Participate in other existing Club events e.g. Quiz, cake sale.

Summary/Next Steps

Prior to proceeding further with this proposal we are asking on behalf of the Willow Wheelers Committee for feedback from you. Please direct this to the members of the Willow Wheelers’ Committee (see names below), or to the group leader of your age group, or simply respond to this email. We would really appreciate all feedback into the proposal.

Kind Regards

Christy Mc Daid

Willow Wheelers’ Committee:
Christy McDaid (Chairman)
John Beatty
Ken Casey
Caroline Caslin
Denis Diggin
Marcie Dowdall
Keith Mangan
Tony McCluskey
Steve Facer
Patrick Nolan
Brian O’Neill
Aine O’Donoghue