As part of the ‘Leaders in Clubs’ segment, Athletics Victoria caught up with Andrew Boudrie of Athletics Essendon.
In a tale all too familiar to many a club president, Andrew Boudrie’s time in an administrative role with Athletics Essendon began with a nudge. A 22-year old Boudrie was encouraged to apply for a committee role by his coach at the time.
Making the move from Altona Little Athletics in 2000 as a competitor, Boudrie had two clubs close to home, ultimately choosing Essendon after a welcoming reception from club and committee when first enquiring about the club.
“I could tell even at a young age that they were a successful club and I wanted to be a part of that. Little did I know then that I would later be a part of the committee welcoming new youngsters to the club myself.”
Boudrie is particularly proud of the breadth of opportunities offered by the club, priding itself on catering for men and women joining as elite athletes, weekend runners, juniors or masters. A club with a strong competitive history, Boudrie is thrilled with the progression of multiple elements of the club.
“Of course, we love to regularly bring up our elite athletes and their successes on the national and international level, but it’s equally as satisfying to see the club do well in other areas of the sport, such as winning the first AVSL Premiership and also seeing our now enormous recreational running group. Red & Black Running has gone from strength to strength attracting runners to dip their toe into the sport who may be initially intimidated by the thought of organised competition – it’s proven to be a fantastic gateway.”
In the midst of his 20th year with the club, Boudrie struggles to tie down one specific memory of his time with Athletics Essendon. Boudrie’s favourite aspect of the club community he now guides the development of involves the familiar hum of a training evening at Aberfeldie.
“I think it’s just the energy that comes with a full track of athletes of all disciplines training on a given night. The chat and banter between groups creates a positive environment that allows every athlete to enjoy their time in the sport.”
Athletics Essendon took the COVID-related downtime to re-energise a series of projects, “The pandemic gives us an opportunity to focus on many areas that would otherwise be on the backburner, such as community engagement, which we’re actively working hard on.” Never straying too far from the area, Boudrie has directed focus locally, “We believe our club and athletes deserve to be recognised within our local community to the level of some other sports.”
Relatively new to the role, the first few months as club president have given Boudrie time to reflect on where his new position may lead.
“So far I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of trying to raise the profile of our club and sport in our local community to where we think it deserves to be. Our athletes regularly accomplish some amazing feats and they should have more recognition outside of the athletics community. Being on a club committee is a real privilege, to be able to impart the direction in which you believe the club and sport should take. For Essendon, I believe the sky’s the limit, so it’s pretty exciting.”