Welcome everyone to another season at the Box Hill Little Athletics Centre. On behalf of the Committee I would like to welcome back past members, along with anyone new that is starting little athletics for the first time. I hope everyone is staying safe and doing what they can to help stop the COVID-19 virus. It is times like these where we really value family, friends and all the good things in life. I’m sure even through difficult times, the time spent with family over the last 12 months is something we can all reflect on and be grateful for.
I write this welcome with a great level of optimism for a fantastic and full season of little athletics. Regular lockdowns make it very difficult to plan ahead but I hope we can deliver a season calendar with little or no interruptions all the way through until March. Last season threw up many challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way that we had to operate as a club. There were a number of protocols implemented in order to protect athletes, helpers and families. This took a significant amount of time in the pre-season for the Committee to prepare for. This time round whilst we will still implement these protocols during the weekly program it has made preparing for the season a lot easier. I really would like to highlight and congratulate Peter Walsh for his efforts as the Covid Safe Officer for our club. Not only did Peter join the Committee but he took on the role of CSO for the season. This was enormous amount of work and had we not filled this role, we would not have been able to run the season.
Thank you Peter for your commitment to BHLAC and for taking on this role.
The Covid-19 pandemic also made it a difficult year for club memberships. We achieved a total membership number for the year of 201 financial members with an additional 15 in the winter cross country season. This was down 25% from the year before. An Olympic year always increases the hype and enthusiasm for athletics and with the recent games in Tokyo it has without doubt given our sport a great boost. We expect a significant rise in membership this year off the back of the fantastic Australian Athletics team performance. Box Hill Athletics' very own Georgia Griffith competed in Tokyo in the 1500m. Congratulations to her on making the Olympic Team and for her brilliant efforts, not only at the Olympics but right throughout the season.
There were also a number of athletes that have competed recently at our home track at Hagenauer Reserve. Stuart McSweyn, Hana Basic, Linden Hall and Jessica Hull just to name a few. All these athletes have at some stage started in Athletics as a junior. So it gives our children hope that maybe one day they may also compete at the Olympic level. Who knows, Brisbane 2032 might be a new goal for some of our athletes to aspire to.
The Box Hill Little Athletics program is a dedicated athletics program endorsed by Little Athletics Victoria. The program this year will revert back to our past format offering On Track to the U6 & U7's. With the shortened season last year we ran the event program for all ages but we feel learning the proper skills to run, throw and jump is an extremely important component of the development for the kids that are starting for the first time. As the season progresses most age groups will have the opportunity to compete in Region and State Carnivals. A reward for lots of hard work and something the kids have missed out on over the last 18 months due to restrictions.
As the President I am extremely focused on improving the overall experience for members. In the last season we were successful in receiving a grant for a new digital timing board. This will be a permanent feature in this new season at Hagenauer reserve. There are still a number of improvements we would like to make over the coming seasons and financial support is vital for these improvements to come to fruition.
I would like to thank our club sponsors Robinson Gill Lawyers in Box Hill for their continued support along with Bread Street Bakery and Fame Group.
It gives me great pleasure in announcing Smile to Go Dentists in Blackburn as a new club sponsor. Terry Wong and his team are leaders in dental and braces technologies. Their commitment to BHLAC is greatly appreciated and I look forward to a long relationship between BHLAC and Smile To Go over the coming years.
I would also like to thank our Committee for their contribution to the club. We have some amazing individuals that dedicate their own time to making the experience better for all of us. We said goodbye and thanks to a number of longstanding members last season. This season we will once again say good bye and thank you to some more. I would like to acknowledge Rosslyn Starick (Registrar) and Rajinder Atwal (Secretary) for their amazing efforts over a number of years. These two ladies have been the backbone of the club and they have been instrumental in assisting with the whole season year in, year out.
I joined the Committee when I could see the people that were in it, were nearing the end of their tenure. So now I am calling on parents of the club to join me in taking us forward to continue the legacy left by the people before us. It's not a lot of work but as they say, many hands make it lighter. We have a great opportunity this season for new people to work directly with Ros, Rajinder and the rest of the team. If your children are going to be involved at BHLAC for the next few years, we would really appreciate your assistance on the Committee.
I wish our athletes, parents and families all the very best for the upcoming season. Let's work together and make season 2021/2022 the best one yet!!
President - BHLAC