Code of Conduct and Ethical Responsibilities

As members of the Ottawa River Runners, we believe:

  • in creating an inclusive paddling environment accessible to all that is healthy, safe and fun.
  • that each member of ORR has a responsibility to maintain operations and activities in an ecologically sound manner
  • in promoting leadership and the social value of volunteerism and collaboration
  • in the importance of an advocacy role within our community
  • that each member has a personal responsibility to demonstrate ethics, respect, sportsmanship, and teamwork that extends into the community.
  • in encouraging both recreational challenge and competitive excellence
  • in promoting physical literacy and excellence in training in an environment that encourages life-long physical activity
  • that young paddlers must make a commitment to doing their best in both academic and athletic fields.

The code of conduct is presented as a set of basic guidelines and a few supplementary rules. The guidelines are a set of general conditions which are to be followed by all participants in ORR activities. The supplementary rules are strict, clearly defined rules which must not be violated under any circumstances. In the event the guidelines or rules are not followed, the section entitled “disciplinary procedures” outlines procedures to be followed. Acceptance and support by paddlers, coaches, support individuals, parents and volunteers will benefit everyone.

When the ORR racing team goes on trips, athletes are under the direction of the coaches and team support people. During the course of a trip, decisions have to be made, often in a very short time frame by the responsible adults based on their experience, which they feel are in the best interests of their paddlers. Athletes by participating, agree to accept these decisions even though they may be difficult to accept at the time. While all attempts are made to minimize risk, whitewater paddling has inherent risks of serious injury, hypothermia or drowning. For this reason, decisions by the coach or responsible adult to not run rapids or participate in events because of unsafe conditions must be clearly understood by the athletes.

The goal of the team is to perform at an optimum level. In order to achieve this, we require mutual respect and understanding between the individual athletes, coaches, managers, officials and group as a whole. Remember almost everyone you will interact with in the paddling and racing community is a volunteer. Failure to consider the effect of our actions on others can easily reduce the success of our paddlers.

Basic Guidelines

We will always wear a helmet and lifejacket in whitewater and have an approved rescue throwrope in the boat on river trips.

We should always strive to do our individual best in our sport.

WE should always demonstrate good sportmanship and show respect for other competitors and officials (esp. judges).

We must avoid interference with competitions or preparation of other athletes for competition.

We should always behave in a way which reflects favourably on our sport, our club, our sponsors, as well as our families and others who support us.

We should strive to be positive and supportive of others in our programs.

We should always help others who are in difficulty by rescuing paddlers, boats and paddles without putting ourselves at risk.

We should always strive to be on time for practices. Lateness shows disrespect for the coach and fellow athletes.

We should always offer to help with race and practice course preparation. Volunteers in charge appreciate this immensely.

We must work cooperatively at team meetings on the establishment of acceptable team guidelines and strive to observe these. Such guidelines may relate to quiet times, curfews, mealtimes, meeting times and practice times.

Supplementary Rules

All laws in effect in the team location must be observed. Such laws relate to amongst others:

  1. illegal drug or alcohol use
  2. destruction, defacing or theft of property
  3. Possession or consumption of alcohol by an athlete eligible for competition in a junior category or younger is strictly forbidden on team trips. Violation of this rule will result in immediate suspension from the team.
  4. All team members must ensure that the head coach or his designate is aware of and in concurrence with their whereabouts and activities at all times when they are away from the team accommodations or race/river site.
  5. If room or tent visiting involves persons under 18 years of age, doors (and except where impractical due to weather, etc... curtains) are to be open, allowing clear view of the room and occupants.
  6. There shall be no visiting of rooms during quiet hours or after curfew.
  7. Club membership fees must be paid prior to the commencement of the paddling season. Without such, the athlete, the club, the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission, and all coaches and managers do not have insurance protection in the event of an accident or lawsuit. This is not negotiable.
  8. At every ORR event and particularly those away from our home base, the head coach is in charge of all members of the team. Where team members are travelling as part of the team, that responsibility will start at the time the team leaves the designated starting point and finish when the team returns to the designated drop-off point. In cases where the permanent head coach does not accompany the team, a head coach will be designated. During a trip or event, the head coach may appoint a designate for certain periods.
  9. In any case, common sense should prevail: athletes should follow all reasonable guidance or direction provided by coaches, managers or others travelling with the team in positions of responsibility (eg. parent drivers and chaperones) even where they may not have been formally designated by the head coach.

Facility Etiquette

Athletes are expected to take the time to adjust slalom gates that are in the water, replace gates which are partially off the crosswires, fix wires and generally take care of the site as though it was home. This is an important safety issue. Garbage should be picked up and disposed of in the closest refuse bin. The boat storage containers should be kept neat and orderly. In the interest of all who have valuable equipment in them, they should be kept locked at all times. It is not acceptable to leave them unlocked while you are paddling. Replacing the locks and keys alone would cost more than $1000. Boat storage fees will be paid with the membership and boats will be identified by the owner and removed when the membership/storage fee has expired. The club will have the right to remove the boat within not less than two weeks after informing the boat owner if the boat owner does not inform the club of his intentions.
On the water, paddlers should not rest near the gates and should leave room for upstream and downstream passage through the gates. Always look upstream before attaining and downstream before descending. Paddlers attaining should yield to paddlers descending. Share the river. Avoid sections of the course already being used for coaching. Paddle defensively. Respect scheduled coaching time slots. In all cases, safety and common sense comes first.

Parent and Athlete Volunteer Involvement
The Ottawa River Runners was founded in the early 1970’s by a group of likeminded paddlers and continues to operate entirely as a volunteer run cooperative. Aside from some coaches and instructors, there are no paid positions within the organization. The backbone of the club is volunteers. It is extremely important that the parents and athletes become actively involved in the activities of the club. Examples include race timing, first aid, judging and safety support, facility and equipment construction and maintenance and club administration. Coaching support such as timing and videotaping at practices and project fundraising are other notable areas of need. None of this happens by itself and if left to a few individuals, it may simply cease to function when athletes and their parents are most counting on it.

Staff and Volunteer Screening
All staff responsible for instruction and coaching of minors must submit a Police Record Check “for a job in the vulnerable sector”. Volunteers who work directly with minors in an instructional or coaching capacity must also provide a Police Record Check. Forms can be downloaded from the Ottawa Police Services website. Cost is $15 for Ottawa residents and $52 for non-residents for paid staff positions. Volunteers are not charged. Please allow several weeks for processing. In addition, all staff must provide character references as part of their resumes.

Aside from our interview process and character references, staff are monitored and mentored by more senior staff. In addition, board members and / or program committee members review staffing on a regular basis. Parents are encouraged to observe as much as they wish to.

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