Cayman can look to get active

Caymanactive.com launched itself onto the Cayman sports universe on 1 August.

The site is in its ‘beta’ form and offers links and information on various sports as well as on general health and fitness.

Andy Bonner is the man behind Cayman Active. Bonner, who hails from just outside of London, has been in Cayman for the last two years on a work permit.

Before coming to Cayman he worked in the British territory of Saint Helena. During his time in England he was a web manager where he picked up the training and interest to create websites.

Using his connections as an auditor for the Cayman government, Bonner has been able to talk to various sportsmen on island and get a glimpse at the heart and soul of Cayman sports.

From there Bonner used his knowledge of web programming to create a site geared for all sports and fitness lovers in Cayman.

Bonner explains the process behind creating Cayman Active.

‘I listened to a few people in the sports community. From what they said it would be good if Cayman has a comprehensive sports information site.

‘Without getting too technical it’s an open source website. It’s set up in keeping with the community approach.’

The idea of the site is simple: anyone can log on to the site, view local sports and fitness information and send an e-mail to Bonner to become a contributor and add content.

As Bonner explains the site is essentially a portal of information that can inform and direct users.

‘Cayman Active brings everything together under one roof. At its core is a powerful article-publishing engine combined with a sporting and fitness event calendar. Publishing content is as straightforward as using a standard word processor.

‘The casual visitor can see at a glance what general events are coming up or can zoom in [on the calendar] to find out all that has been published about any particular activity.’

An interesting feature of Cayman Active is a marketplace section termed ‘supplier directory’ where users can sell sports and fitness products.

Also visitors can see the latest, recently updated and most popular articles from the home page plus view the latest user-comments on the site.

Cayman Active is essentially a community website. There are no membership fees and the site is a non-profit enterprise.

As Bonner says, the only thing he has invested into it is his time.

‘For the site I used no personal money, just my time. The site was created by public feedback and the site remains changeable as my ears are very widely open so to speak.

‘This is a community project and anyone is welcome to contribute to it.’

It may sound demanding to hold a normal job and have time to administrate a website. But according to Bonner it’s not as stressful as it sounds.

‘I have a regulatory role and I deal with quality control. I simply monitor content and assist anyone new with the site.

‘As it stands the site is no great burden on me. I built the site with the mindset that it will be a stand-alone [project].’

Among those in the community Bonner would like to see use the site are sporting bodies. He says the site could be a great tool to help them to get exposure, even if they already have a website.

‘Cayman Active provides free and effective web publishing to any sports, health or fitness organization that does not have its own or wants to improve upon its existing online facilities.

‘Where a sports club has an existing web presence Cayman Active simply provides a direct link through to those pages.

‘For entities that don’t currently have a web presence they can publish their own content as much and as often as they like. They can easily have their own page and have control.’

One of the biggest supporters of the site thus far has been Ray Singh, Athletic Director for Kings Sports Centre.

Singh uses the site to post current standings, schedules and statistics for many sports programs at Kings. With five-a-side football currently in season most of the information is related to that sport.

Singh says he has found the site to be user-friendly and a great time-saver.

‘It is a great community website, devoted to all Cayman sports, and best of all it’s very easy to navigate. For those with family and friends off-island, it is a great tool for them to keep up-to-date.’

Singh said the site has been so useful that plans are in place to add more diverse content.

‘The website is still in its infancy but we do have plans to allow individual teams to create their own team pages to better promote their players and sponsors.

‘Other plans include featured teams or players and spectator feedback.’

Singh’s support has already paid dividends. As of 13 August the site had over 100 views (termed hits) per day with more than 50 hits being for five-a-side football at Kings.

Other sporting entities are also on the site. The cycling and triathlon community has a presence as they have added events to the online calendar.

On the health and fitness side of things, there are two nutritionists who regularly contribute. In addition there are articles on dieting, training and exercise among others.

Though the site is non-profit Bonner says he would like to see members of the business community come forward and make a presence on the site.

‘Cayman Active has no direct financing and all development time and maintenance costs are being provided free to support this community project in its infancy. There is, ultimately, no substitute for having some financial sponsorship to facilitate an ongoing advertising programme.

‘In other words it needs to get out there that Cayman Active exists. Sponsorship will simply help to advertise it.’

The site is expected to be out of its beta form by next month. From there Bonner says work will be done towards keeping the site fresh on its own.

‘Eventually I want to establish a core of regular contributors to create almost daily, new articles to keep the site alive. Ideally there will be regular stories and features to keep the site vibrant.

‘I also want to get a ‘Venues’ section in place to have comprehensive coverage of all sports activities. That way people are clear what sporting facilities are out there and what they can do at each of them.’

At the end of the day Bonner feels Cayman Active, like Cayman’s sports and fitness scene, has the potential to be great. For him only time and public reaction will tell.

‘If one day I hear talk in the bars here about the site then I’ll feel like my goal has been achieved.’

For more information interested persons can log on to www.caymanactive.com or contact Andy Bonner at [email protected].

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