The following comments were collected in August last year
The Calliope Story
Approximately 4 months ago I was backed into a corner by the president and had no option as to take on the secretary’s position of the Calliope & Districts Campdraft committee as the previous one had resigned with our draft only about a month away. Well after a couple of sleepless nights trying to work out where we where up to, it was a bit of a godsend when rain cause us to postpone until July. With the new date set I grabbed the opportunity of the extra time an decided to make my job as easy as possible especially on the week end of the draft as I witnessed the stress of many a secretary at events where anything could go wrong did, which in turn lead to late nights and very early mornings sorting problems that had occurred during the day. An to the majority of competitors couldn’t care less what had gone on as long as they got there runs and in the order they wanted them on that day, regardless of late scratching, extra runs etc and the list goes on. So I started to invent spreadsheets to take nominations and turn them into draws but was starting to get out of my depth so I rang a good mate an ACA treasurer Greg Wallace and told him what I was doing and if he could help. He said ring this bloke and gave me Clay phone number at Campdraft Central, he will sort you out.
So I immediately rung Clay and well the rest is history. From the first phone call Clay explained his software and gave me an first hand insite with a demonstration which he linked me (from home)to his computer in Gracemere and showed me how the system worked with competitors creating there own profiles, registering horses and nominating themselves. The payment of nomination whether being by Direct Debit or Cheque and the automatic invoicing side of the software I could see was going to be a big help to myself and treasurer straight away. I immediately took this information to a committee meeting which was meet with mixed immotions,most being with the introduction of something new that had not been done before and the question of what if I don’t have internet or don’t use a computer? Well those hurdles where reached and crossed with minimal of fuss with nothing but positives for those who tried.
With the committee on side, Clay and myself started to set up our draft which I think from memory took approximately 20 minutes which could of be shorter if I was quicker on the keyboard. Well that was it just had to wait for the noms to open. Then the fun began you can watch you draft fill in front of your eyes as up to 40 people nominating at once, as one would finish the system would let the next one on to nominate it was great. Had the about 10 phone calls from people manly asking about invoices but most turned up on there e-mail as they where talking to me. As a committee you can set your events limit and when that is reached those people then go to a waiting list until a spot become vacant from a scratching etc then they are contacted offering them the postion.Also the scratching of nominations didn’t seem to prove to be a problem for the competitors.
With three days to go before the draft it was time to do the draws well once again that was done in the click of button, just had to print them out and we where good to go. Competitors received either SMS or where e-mailed with there run numbers which I thought was great as no phone calls asking that question. At the same time all this was going on the treasurer was receiving the Cheques and Direct Debits checking them against the invoice reference numbers ,again other little gem in this software which made life so much easier knowing who and what was still owing. Friday night was spent enjoying a few refreshments as everything was done. Saturday kicked of on time and as the score sheets (generated by the software) came in they where entered and when the round finished quickly a final draw was generated and printed along score sheets for announcer/penciler and camp gate all done with no fuss. Then as the final finished the scores entered and place getters allotted ,printed and handed to the announcer ,event over on with the next. With the dreaded auditing that we are always threatened with is no problem as you have full account of your draft backed up with hard and soft copies.
So there is a brief out look on my experience with CampDraft Central and would recommend all clubs and committees to at least speak to Clay on how he can take the hassle and stress out of running your draft. Forget any fears you may have as Clay has made the programme very user friendly and the back up service is second to none. I know which way Calliope will be going next year as we had already made the decision before the week end was over. Who knows I am even considering putting my hand up for the Secretary’s position again next year.
Calliope & Districts Campdraft Acc
Having been the first committee to take on Campdraft Central, and subsequently the first committee to hold a second draft in the same year I would like you to know just how much I appreciate the program.
I have been secretary of Clarke Creek on and off since 1999 and so have experienced all
facets of running a Campdraft from ‘marbles in the hat’ to Campdraft Manager and now Campdraft
The difference in actual time spent on managing nominations and scratchings is immeasurable. The
difference in stress levels is unbelievable and I can only say to anyone who hasn’t yet used it ‘Just
try it and you will never go back’. I believe it has reduced the workload to such an extent that one
person could easily handle the secretary and treasurer positions.
Campraft Central also takes a lot of errors out of the system as everyone has their invoice totals
from the start and therefore you don’t have to spend a lot of time checking totals on nomination
forms and chasing people who have paid incorrectly.
At the recent information night at Paradise Lagoons one competitor stated that campdrafting ‘was
all about the competitor’. A statement I take issue with as I believe campdrafting is about the
committees who spend thousands of hours of volunteer labour to hold these events all over the
country so as people like ‘the competitor’ can turn up and do what she loves to do.
If people like this do not appreciate how much work goes into running a Campdraft then they do not deserve the privilege of attending campdrafts. I also believe therefore that if Campdraft Central can manage campdrafting to the level that I have seen then ‘the competitor’ should pay for this service.
As far as CC restricting people from getting into drafts I do not believe this is so, as I will personally take anyone’s nominations who genuinely has no access to a computer and at the end of the day there are still only so many runs available in any draft and if there are too many competitors then someone has to miss out.
A possible solution could be that if Campdraft Central makes it so much easier to hold a draft then more committees may hold more than one draft a year.
Feedback-- Cuts down office time and personnel before and during the
weekend. Secretaries and Treasurers actually have more time on their hands as everything
is prelogged onto the system prior to the weekend. Cross examination for refunds/payouts
and horses can all be done on the one screen.
I think one of the most important things is this program could potentially update the ACA
database with all the information they need to update horses and membership information
through being linked.
Horse status is a big issue with more and more drafts restricting horses to their status and
this could help secretaries track that horses are in their correct status. For example
Paradise Novice for Novice horses - How could the secretary have checked these Horses
nominated were officially Novice horses.?. Also horses history can be tracked through
winnings and placings ect.
The question of those people without computers or are computer illiterate, there is always
the avenue of phone a friend or communicate with the campdraft secretary..It's not that
hard to communicate.
Please see my feedback below for the ACA meeting – hope email will be ok, let me know if you need me to put in a formal letter.
Being Secretary/Treasurer of a campdraft I have discovered is an extremely time consuming thankless job, it’s no wonder that no one wants to take it on! I have only been secretary of Dalby & District Campdraft club for 2 years and we have had to cancel 2 drafts in that time at the last minute due to rain & flooding. The July 2011 campdraft was the first draft I have managed from nominations to payouts.
I found that using Campdraft Central’s online nomination system in comparison to receiving postal nominations more than halved my workload and phone calls leading up to the Campdraft. It was amazing how quickly the nominations filled online with the waitlist kicking in only after 15mins. A few people were disgruntled by this but what they don’t realise is that when I received postal nominations I only got through one and a half mailings and had to return approx 200 nominations. The postal nominations fill up just as quick, you just have the advantage of finding out immediately if you are in or on the waitlist using Campdraft Central rather than finding out a week or two later. The cost for our Committee to print and post programs/nominations is substantial and then when we had to cancel our drafts there is an added cost to return nominations, using Campdraft Central we can avoid these costs.
I have had many people say to me that it is not fair to use Campdraft Central because many people cannot use a computer or do not have internet access. Well after my experience using Campdraft Central I can now confirm that people in this situation are definitely the minority, I only had two people contact me asking for assistance. There may have been more people out there, but they were obviously happy to asked friends or family members to assist them.
I also feel Campdraft Central is a much fairer way for all competitors to nominate as it allows equal opportunity for anyone to nominate at the same time and can accommodate those who receive their post by mail service and usually don’t receive the nominations before they are full. The waitlist also enabled the people who were next in line (to the second) the chance to get into the draft if there were scratchings. When you have 100 postal nominations with the same date stamp it is very hard to decide who should be first in!
It was also great that I had complete control over the system and was able to enter “Early Nominators” before the nominations went live to the public. This enabled me to accommodate Sponsors, Cattle Donors, Committee Members and people that help us out on the day. We were also faced with responsibly managing the risk of Hendra Virus at our draft so through Campdraft Central we were able to notify all our competitors immediately of the Biosecurity plan we had put in place and send them all a copy of the Horse Health Declaration so most of these were completed before the draft and we didn’t spend all weekend chasing them up.
It was easy to manage the scratchings with the waitlist and I felt comfortable taking scratchings on the day of the draft as it was very quick and easy to do. The weekend of the Campdraft ran extremely smoothly with the draws only taking a click of a button to generate. Clay was also available if we had any problems so support was excellent. I was actually able to at times sit back, watch a bit of drafting and enjoy the weekend.
I received many positive comments from competitors during the weekend about Campdraft Central. Many people were surprised how easy the system was to use and the SMS draws being sent out on their mobile phones a few days before was a great hit! Apart from people complaining that they didn’t get into the draft I didn’t receive any negative feedback about the system and we all know Campdrafters will complain if there is something that upsets them!
I strongly recommend Campdraft Central and now after using it, would not accept the Secretary/Treasurer position if I had to go back to doing it manually! If committees choose to use Campdraft Central I am sure attracting new Secretaries/Treasurers and retaining them will not be as hard.
Since trialling Campdraft central for our Moura Draft I myself have nothing but positive feedback to provide.
I have been the Secretary at Moura since 2005 and have seen many changes in how we manage a Campdraft from taking hours and hours to complete and still not having it right, to using Campdraft Manager which is not a bad system but still a huge amount of time is taken to input the data and attempting to get every entry correct (as you soon hear about it if it isn’t).
From the Secretary’s point of view, Campdraft Central is fantastic for the following reasons:
Anyway Clay hope my comments have been of assistance.
Talk to you soon
Having not been involved in a committee before and not knowing any different ways of the Treasurer's role, I found Campdraft Central to be a great program to use. Very quick and easy. Clay is a great help too. Support from him leading up to the draft, during and after was fantastic. For him to be physically present at the draft was a huge help and great peace of mind, considering the demands of his business we were very greatful he was able to be at our draft.
I have no hesitations in recommending Campdraft Central to any committee.
Treasurer Moura Campdraft Committee.