Ballarat YCW

As part of the ‘Leaders in Clubs’ segment, Athletics Victoria caught up with Ballarat YCW Harriers President, Ash Rogers.

Ash Rogers first joined Ballarat YCW Harriers via a pathway familiar to many of us – as an athlete. Rogers’ first exposure to the sport came in 2003, as an enthusiastic physical education teacher rounded up Rogers and a few year eight mates, suggesting athletics could be their sporting niche.

Whilst Rogers and his mates hadn’t previously been part of an athletics club, the Ballarat youngster had found his calling in cross country racing and took a greater interest in the club.

Spurred on by club mates, Rogers attended the club AGM, “When I finished up school and started university in 2008, I attended my first club AGM. They were looking for younger people to sit on the regular committee and I felt that giving back to the club that provided me with so many great running opportunities was the right thing to do.”

Club President since 2016, Rogers is proud of the club culture, “Our club prides itself on the family-friendly and inclusive nature, with a big focus on participation no matter your experience or capabilities.”

Whilst the COVID-19 time period has differed for all clubs, Rogers highlights the importance of the club’s organisational structure.

“Evidently COVID-19 has made working on club projects somewhat difficult. The club has done a terrific job with the financials the last 5-6 years so we will be looking to upgrade some of your equipment (tents, club banners/flags, PA system). Obviously, we are also looking forward to planning some social events when it is safe to do so!”

Rogers’ best memories with the club centre around the Victorian Country Championships, a time for the club to come together as a group – and a personal ritual for Rogers since 2005.

A club president with a practical approach, Rogers involves himself with the club’s junior pathways.

“The best part by far is that I’m at the forefront of facilitating a wonderful program that gets young kids out and running. I help out with the club’s large junior training program and it’s been fantastic to watch them develop their craft over the years and then make their way into the senior ranks. In a time where sedentary lifestyles are becoming more apparent in young people, we all play an important role in getting the next generation up and moving.”