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While some members of the Board may think that Spark is doing well, unfortunately the good name of Spark has been negatively eroded within the Severna Park community, as well as within the Indoor Hockey community. The level of turmoil and ensuing frustration among participants and the community has led to the belief that a growing number of players and families will not be returning to Spark. Specifically, it is our feeling that the following summarizes the numerous problems that have plagued the program and MUST be corrected in order for the program to remain viable:

Poor Communication: The communication flow through Spark is abysmal, and the person(s) responsible for communication are ineffective. In this day and age of cell phones, e-mail, web sites, etc, not getting the word out is simply not acceptable.

Poor Organization: The complete lack of any coordinated approach to the management of practices and tournaments is a constant source of frustration among coaches, players and parents. The shell game that is played with the different teams creates confusion, uncertainty, and feelings of unfairness.

Resource Allocation: Many see the distribution of resources (number and quality of tournaments, practice times, skills work with coaches, league time, scrimmaging) within the program as inequitable and unfair. Certain teams receive the lions share of Spark resources and opportunities, while other teams are neglected as an afterthought. This prejudicial practice causes many to feel that they do not get what they paid for and are treated as second-class citizens.

Tournament Participation: It is an undeniable fact that there is an unfair and extremely biased practice regarding tournament participation. Some teams are not given the same opportunities (number and quality of tournaments and games) as their counterparts. Many question Sparks motives in forming its teams, and it seems that Spark uses its developing teams to subsidize the A teams. Spark also uses the play up option as a bail out for its own lack of organization and poor planning, with little or no regard for the players and families involved.

Spark Culture: The undersigned would like to ask The Board to develop and enforce a code of conduct for its managing members. Although some conflict is inevitable, key individuals within Sparks managing ranks have shown an alarming habit of being overly antagonistic, abusive, and in some cases vindictive when dealing with day-to-day issues. The Board must create and maintain a culture within Spark that encourages all those associated with the program to act in a mature and adult-like manner and NOT be quick to demean or chastise kids, or argue and rebuke others whenever questions or problems arise. The focus within Spark needs to be taken away from the adults and brought back to the players.

Summary

Because of these problems, we feel that Sparks current policies and practices will continue to have a detrimental effect on the organization as a whole. These practices will and have already begun to lead to a significant loss of membership as unhappy parents and players are looking elsewhere for playing opportunities.

Spark was created by a few dedicated individuals who simply wanted to provide playing opportunities for our communitys youth within the exciting and growing sport of indoor field hockey. By signing below, we collectively express our wishes to see Spark return to its roots as an organization of integrity, providing equal and positive opportunities to all of its members.

Therefore, for the reasons provided, we the Undersigned, urge the Board to review this document (the names and e-mails of the Undersigned will be withheld to protect the identity of the kids). With the issues clearly defined, we would then ask that Spark document any and all proposed changes and provide this documentation to its members prior to August 31, 2006.

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Lindsey McculloughBy:
People and OrganizationsIn:
Petition target:
Spark Board of Directors

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