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Dovercourt Recreation Association

The Power of Partnership

“Having NeoLore in place is like having a virtual CIO”

Dovercourt Recreation Association (DRA) is a not-for-profit charity that runs the Dovercourt Recreation Centre,
located in the Westboro area of Ottawa. The Centre has been in operation for thirty-five years. From aqua fitness to arts and culture, the Centre provides programs and services for all ages.

“When I first arrived at Dovercourt, they were still doing carbon-paper registration!” says John Rapp, executive director of the DRA. “We’d have people lined up around the block to register for programs.”

Rising volumes of clients, programs and new personnel put IT services under strain. “As you grow and change, you realize that you have to stop reacting. That’s what we had been doing,” John explains. “So we began shopping around for an IT company that would help us grow and give us solid advice.”

The NeoLore Approach

John met with NeoLore and discussed the Centre’s needs. “We found that we spoke the same language as NeoLore,” John says. “They’re entrepreneurs and so are we. They won the contract based on both their quote and approach.”

In addition to requiring an IT strategy to accommodate growth, the Centre wished to better serve the public’s increasing demand for technology-based services. “For example, we’re situated among a few high schools, and that means a lot of students are here on our computers,” John explains. “NeoLore was instrumental in helping us create an environment where each time the computers are turned on, they offer safe, clean access to the Internet.”

NeoLore supported the Centre in unique ways. “They became one of our earliest sponsors, offering us computers,” John points out. “We had free Wi-Fi for years because of NeoLore. They really have been a partner all along. In fact, NeoLore sponsored our board room – it’s named after them – and they set it up so community groups can use it, accessing the latest technology.”

““NeoLore was instrumental in helping us create an environment where each time the computers are turned on, they offer safe, clean access to the Internet.”

A Great Help Desk

John reflects on the importance of relegating IT systems and practices to dedicated professionals. “Until we joined with NeoLore, we were like a lot of organizations in that we tended to depend on someone in our group who thought they knew what they were doing with IT. Sheer enthusiasm doesn’t always work. Frankly, it can be a dangerous path. There used to be a lot of re-routing
wires under the desks! Now we contact NeoLore.”

John is quick to point out the importance of ongoing training. “Certain questions come up a lot. What do we keep on our computers? What should be on the servers? What should be on the cloud? NeoLore has a great Help Desk and has always been there. That can’t be undervalued.”

Responding to COVID-19 Challenges

The world-wide pandemic has introduced new and varied IT challenges for organizations of all sizes. In addition to accommodating user requirements, progressive groups have identified opportunities to help stimulate IT efficiencies in current and post-COVID-19 environments.

“Due to the pandemic, we’ve been forced to reduce staff by half,” John says. “We’re working with Neolore now to reconfigure our IT systems – which computers can stay and which should go? Should we be more cloud-based? It’s an opportunity and a good time to change some of our bad habits and introduce new approaches. For instance, NeoLore helped us with screening emails. It’s really effective and saves a lot of time.”

The Power of Partnership

“I can’t stress the relationship too much,” says John. “NeoLore has signed on for another five years as a sponsor. Yes, you could say we’re big fans of NeoLore.”
John sums up the power of partnership: “When I think of NeoLore, I can say that they certainly match our passion. It’s all been very productive.”