Starting a Parkour/Freerunning Club


Consider these important issues:
Public or Private College/University
                      Whether the college or university you go to is a private or public university does not make a difference in the general approach to proposing the creation of a new club. The standard issues of safety and liability associated with the operations of a new club applies for all institutions of higher learning. But, there are key differences between private and public colleges or universities that must be understood in order for a group leader to propose solutions to an institutions issues surrounding liability and risk. 


Defining risk and its effect on a student organization or club
                  It is important to understand that no waiver or set of regulations for an activity will eliminate all risk associated with the activity. This applies directly to all student organizations and club activities. Risk refers to the effect of uncertainties 
caused by a lack of information or ambiguity. No waiver can completely cover all information or address every detail associated with an activity. 

               Generally, state or public universities are part of the state and thus fall under the protection of sovereign immunity. This makes state universities harder to bring suit against and thus more likely to assume risk associated with activities. On the other hand private schools do not enjoy this protection and thus must assume more risk of legal action against the institution when supporting a similar activity. For private institutions especially, regulations, certifications and universal safety procedures become more important to make certain how an activity is defined and how the activity is to be performed, limiting the ambiguity and lack of information regarding the operations of the activity.

                 As a group leader and the one proposing a new club, you must understand the position of the institution. Institutions are constantly concerned with the risk of lawsuits that will cost the institution money and are concerned with anything that might put the institution in the media and possibly damage the image of the institution. 

                Understanding the position of the university and the issues they are concerned with enables students and administrators to get on the same page. The ultimate goal in the early stages of proposing a club to a university is to establish an open dialogue and understanding of where each side stands. 



Categorizing Your Group:
Club Sport or Student Organization?

Sports and Recreation or Student Organization
                       It is important to understand how your institution categorizes groups on campus. How many student organization departments are there? Ask around for the best fit for the purposes of your group. It does not matter what you would categorize parkour as ; it matters what the institution would consider your group. A parkour group can fit in some ways into many different categories. It can be an art form, performance group, athletic group, recreational group or workout group. But, parkour is not just one of these and thus can be hard to find a place for a parkour group on campus.
                  The best way to approach this issue is to understand the mission statement and resources each type of student organization provides. Some student organizations will consider a parkour group an athletic group, thus requiring a liability waiver for training, but cannot provide such a waiver. They might refer you to the club sports office or recreational sports office because they can better fit the needs of a physical group. On the other hand, the mission statement of a club sport or recreation activity might focus on competition and thus not be the best fit for a parkour group.
                     We suggest you relate how your group will operate with an existing club such as a martial arts group. This is where you will be able to find similarities in a group that is instructional, physical and not entirely competitive. If you find it necessary that you should not go in the direction of a club sport or recreational activity, include a liability waiver to cover the physical side of parkour and run the group similar to every other student organization. Also consider that some student organization departments do not allow affiliation with a larger organization outside the institution, but will allow sports or recreation clubs to become members of a larger organization in order to follow general regulations followed by all collegiate clubs. If it is necessary to become a club sport or recreational activity, you should emphasize that your group will not be competitive but does have a larger organization that acts as a standardizing and governing body that organizes national and regional events similar to USA Rugby and USA Ultimate. In this way you can relate to other clubs in the same student organization category and easily explain how College WFPF can help regulate and ensure the safe practice of parkour within the new club. For more information on how College WFPF operates and what benefits we provide to groups see the membership tab and resources tab. Once you have picked a direction of approach then you must research the process of how to propose a new club and make note of the deadlines for submitting a new club proposal.



Writing a Proposal
                 Here are some tips and guidance for writing your own proposal. For examples of proposals written by groups around the country go to the Club Documents Tab. Have you written a proposal that is not included in our list? Do you have tips to add to our content here? Send them to us at college@wfpf.com.

State organization's official purpose and mission
-For example: "to teach Parkour and share the philosophy of Parkour", "focus on the development of the whole person", "emphasizes safety and respect"

Describe the goals and vision of the future of the group.
-"We hope to breed leaders, develop camaraderie through traditions, and most importantly have fun." Consider including ideas for community engagment and community outreach (more information and ideas here)


Define parkour for the institution
- For guidance refer to the College WFPF curriculum


Describe how does new organization differ from other registered organizations.
-Schools are interested in seeing how a parkour group would differ from a running club, excersise club or martial arts club. They want to avoid clubs being repetitive.

Explain why group should become a registered student organization
-Each institution awards their own benefits to becoming a registered student organization. How would you use the benefits of becoming a registered student organization to better your group and student life on campus?

Describe how the organization will add to the quality of student life on campus.
-Before an institution takes on the responsibility of supporting a group, and before you are awarded the benefits of being a registered student organization they want to know how you will better the quailty of student like on campus and how you will represent and promote the mission of the student organization department. 

List or describe events or other activities the group will host or participate in.
-Approval Committees want to see how you might add to existing events or activities on campus or what new and exciting events or activities you plan to bring to the student body.

Describe the monetary, space and support needs for the activities of the organization.
-Be very careful how much you ask of the institution when proposing a new club as it can have a huge effect on their decision to approve your group. Most institutions capacity to accommadate new groups is very small. We suggest you ask the very minimal amount at first then once you have built a relationship and foundation of trust with the institution, it can become easier to gain more support. 



Writing a Constitution
College WFPF has developed a Template Constitution that groups can use as a guide for developing their own constitution or editing their current constitution in order to make college parkour constitutions uniform.
 

Developing a Liability Waiver
 
Use the waivers of other schools as a template for developing your own waiver. Work with student legal services on campus, your student organization office or risk management office to tailor the waiver to the needs of the university.  HERE
               College WFPF will be developing their own waiver based on the waivers in use around the country that will work as a universal waiver or template waiver used for everyday activities as well as events!
(Coming Soon!)



Creating a Workout Schedule/ Workout Plan

There are many things to consider when developing a workout schedule and plan. In order to keep a semester running smoothly and take the pressure off of the leaders of each workout, you must develop a schedule that will inform your members when and where they can expect to find you on each official workout day. Sample schedule HERE

Tips:

Give your members options:

                  Offering a few days a week for training gives your members multiple days that they can attend as not to interfere with class schedules.

How many days a week?

                 The number of scheduled training days depends on the availability of the leaders. But, we suggest having training as many days as possible as it is essential for members to not only have as many days as possible to train and learn but parkour training like working out or running should be done on consecutive days in order to maximize the comfort, endurance and strength involved in training.

Vary the focus of the workouts. Designate days that focus on upper body techniques and conditioning and days which focus on lower body techniques and conditioning.

Vary the teaching techniques and type of workout:

                  Consider varying the amount of freedom and instruction given on a particular day. Designate instructional technique days or conditioning days with structure, but make sure to also designate days that are looser in structure and give individual and group freedom to your members so they may work on techniques on their own and give them opportunities to teach themselves. Above is a sample schedule that includes “Personal Progression” days. These are the days designated for personal exploration of movement. Leaders must recognize the importance of freedom, creativity and self taught/ self exploration of movement in parkour training. Basic instruction and guidance when learning techniques can only go so far, so you must give opportunities for your members to work through the techniques themselves. In this way members will teach themselves and truly start to understand how their own bodies work.

Warm-up/Cool-down:

                Every workout should start with a warm up and end with a cool down, whether the warm up or the cool down is dynamic, static or a combination is at your discretion. (More details/advice to come)

 

Workouts for different skill levels-

                 When designing or using a structure for a workout, you must try to incorporate different levels of difficulty or alternate ways to workout in order to accommodate every type of member. The great thing about parkour is that anyone can do it and this applies to the parkour workouts or techniques as well. There are always ways to progress into a technique as they become more and more complicated. Parkour is adaptive to any environment and every type of person and should never exclude people because of skill level or any other reason. Make sure to accommodate for different physical abilities or genders.

More specific instructional tips and guidelines for progression and safety coming soon!

  
Promoting Your Club
Email-
Create a group email address for public use and a group email listserv for contacting members of the group about training, events, jams etc.
Media-

Create a Facebook Fanpage as a pubic page to display club information. Include leaders, club mission statement, definition of parkour, meeting time and place, and contact information, as well as links to your youtube channel , twitter account and any websites. The fanpage will be a great way to connect with your members, but also a place for friends and family of the club to learn about the group and “like” your page.

Create a private Facebook group. A way to communicate, share information and get updates specific to training and the inner workings of the group.

Create a Twitter account. Twitter can be a very valuable resource and outlet for a group. A place to share photos, video and updates with members and friends of the group. Use the account to post updates about training and use it to update members where you are training and as you move from spot to spot around campus or during a jam.

Create a Youtube channel. Use a Youtube channel to showcase videos of your members, your entire team, jams, training, and even create a video blog to keep members and fans up to date on the club!

Advertising on campus-

Use a combination of many different forms of advertising for member recruitment and event promotion, including flyers, chalk messages, university television channel, school newspaper, or word of mouth!

A Demonstration is a great way to show what parkour is all about and what members will be learning! Use it as a chance to define parkour, introduce leaders and tell people that parkour is more than what they see on youtube and in the movies; its accessible and fun!  Use an arts Showcase to put on a school wide demonstration that can even be choreographed to expose the club to a wider audience!

Apparel-

Design a logo and create tshirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats etc. We suggest using spreadshirt.com/ or cafepress.com enabling groups to design their own apparel and have members order their own apparel.


Fundraising
 


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