Mike Riley

Welcome to the new cross-country and road season which becomes a busy time for most members of our club and that includes all junior and youth members. For the purposes of this newsletter article, junior and youth members are anyone who is currently at high school or a tertiary education facility and is under 20 years this year.

Over the last few years there has been a big drop off nationwide in this age group, especially at the upper end with many athletes taking up scholarships in the USA and leaving the local ranks fairly barren but that isn’t just in athletics. While we can’t combat that we can try to improve our base of younger teenagers and support those older ones who have decided to stay in NZ and in particular the Waikato area. Two winters ago Hawks had 2 or more teams of juniors who ran in the National Road relay with the girls winning by a wide margin (and I think the boys’ team placed but being a new member to the club at the time I don’t remember the detail so if anyone wants to take me to task for this that’s fine). Last year we didn’t have one team compete at all with only a couple of juniors filling in for the senior teams.

The junior side of any club should be the foundation of the future for a club, so with this in mind and noticing that the junior membership appears to be falling away I suggested to the club committee that we make a few changes which were discussed and approved prior to the season commencing.

As a first action, the Committee decided to create a new unofficial role for a Junior Club Captain who would be the first point of contact for all new, existing and prospective junior / youth members who will provide
information about the club, club events, inter-club events, social activities, coaching and whatever else might come up. We are very happy to welcome Kimbi Sanders into the role, and she is likewise honoured to be considered for it and is embracing the concept. Kimbi will be working with me (Mike Riley) on getting the role and expectations established so that her successor will have a much easier task stepping up in a few years time.

We have set up a Facebook group, Hamilton City Hawks – Youth that we’d like every junior / youth member to be part of, coaches and parents are also welcome. This group is to keep members updated with activities and events that are coming. While most of this information is also on the main facebook group for the club there will also be information specific to the junior / youth section. If you aren’t already part of this group please request to be a member or talk directly to Kimbi or myself.

There is also group training available on Tuesday and Thursday nights commencing at 5PM that I’ll be taking which will be appropriate for the age, fitness levels of each athlete there. This isn’t compulsory but is an option available to this age group. So far it’s off to a slow start but I’m hoping numbers will increase after Easter and when the school holidays are over. Initially we are training on the hills behind Porritt Stadium and meeting in the car park by the Wanderers club rooms on Tuesday night, but Thursday isn’t yet settled. There will only be Tuesday training for the week leading up to Easter. Details for Thursdays after that will be on the facebook page. Other coaches are welcome to come along or contact me on what we’ll be doing.
If you come across any potential new members point them in our direction and we’re only too happy to look after them.

I’m hoping everyone will get behind this group and help to rebuild the membership.
Any questions can be directed to either Kimbi or myself. Our contact details are:
Kimbi – 022 048 8990
Mike – 027 244 4414