Corroboree Little Atheletics

Life Membership of Corroboree (North Canberra) Little Athletics

John Hunt

John Hunt

John became involved in the ACT Little Athletics in 1984, joining the Association’s Board in its formative years when it split from the Monaro Zone.

Since that time and up until 2009 when he retired, John was an active member of the Board, always contributing to Board deliberations and was never afraid to put forward a different point of view to ensure the board considered all important aspects before making a decision.  John brought to the Board an intimate knowledge of the regulatory environment and a tremendous depth of experience within the athletics community in general.

John’s involvement with (Corroboree North Canberra) Little Athletics began in 1988 when his son joined our club.  Since this time John has been on the Corroboree committee for almost every year since then (only handing over the reins in 2011) and his tenure included many years as Club President.

At Club level, John has also been heavily involved in coaching and has represented the Club officiating at just about every ACT Little Athletics carnival, as either Field Referee or Chief Official for Jumps for as long as anyone can remember.

Many of our older athletes (Under 8’s and above) who commenced Little Athletics in Under 6’s will have their skills initially developed by John when her took responsibility for the On-Track Program.  John, as Head Coach, has also taken responsibility for running the Monday and Wednesday training sessions for many years to the benefit over 100’s of Little Athletes.  His results are best demonstrated by the many personal bests achieved by the children under his tutelage each year.

John is also extremely well known to all in the broader ACT athletics community.  Coaching high jump is John’s passion and the children under his tutelage look up to and respect him as a person with great knowledge of the event. John has coached most young high jumpers in the ACT at some point at his Sunday training sessions at the AIS Track. John is acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent high jump coaches in the ACT.

Apart from being awarded Life Membership of the ACTLAA a few years ago, John was awarded a Thanks Award by the ACT Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Mr Andrew Barr MLA, in October 2010 for his contribution to athletics in a voluntary capacity.

John has also been recognised by our Club by having our Club Person of the Year Award named after him.

Andrew Sutton

Andrew came to Corroboree Little Athletics in 2006, when his oldest daughter, Skye, started as an U6 athlete. Right from the start, Andrew became an active and passionate volunteer for the Club, taking on the role of Age group coordinator for the U6 girls. The following season, he joined the Committee, and was a member of Corroboree’s executive for nine years: as Treasurer (2007–2009), Vice President (2009–2010) and President (2010–2016). While he handed over the reins two years ago, he continues to be active as a general Committee member, sharing his knowledge and advice, and helping at Corroboree meets in many ways.

Andrew strived to improve all aspects of the Club and its operations. As Treasurer, he turned the Club’s finances around, taking the Club from a non-compliant entity to one with cash flow that could afford to purchase new equipment.

Andrew is an accredited coach and has lent his skills to many athletes during meets and at bi-weekly training sessions.

Under Andrew’s leadership the Club has flourished, both in terms of athlete numbers and in its stature. Andrew has always been focused on the ‘Family and Fun’ aspects of Little Athletics, and has fostered a club culture, whereby giving it a go, focusing on PBs and supporting others is more important than competitiveness and results. Over the years, he worked to improve and optimise the programs of the Saturday morning meets, of which we still see the benefits with meets that generally run smoothly and finish on time.

During his time in the Committee’s executive (9 years) Andrew hardly ever missed a meet. After stepping down from the leadership role, he continued to attend most meets, meaning that by now he would have been at about 150 Club meets! All of these times, he arrived early (8 am) for set-up and stayed late for pack-up. For many years he has been the straight-track starter, but in recent years he has ventured out to support the senior’s groups and help wherever required.

Since his youngest daughter, Bonnie, started participating in para events, Andrew has become more interested and focused on inclusion, and has been supporting the para events at ACT Championships. Andrew was awarded the John Hunt Award together with Bonnie in 2016.

So, for the last 12 years, Andrew has been a committed and dedicated Club member; always first to roll up his sleeves and get the job done. Andrew’s passion for junior sport, whether it be athletics or hockey, is testament to his commitment to his family, and community. You would be hard pressed to calculate the hours he has devoted.

Finally, not unimportantly, Andrew is known to bring chocolate to Committee meetings, much to the delight of others.

For all this and more, the Committee agreed that Andrew will be awarded Life Membership of Corroboree Little Athletics.

Ruud van Scheppingen and Ingrid Takken – inducted 7 April 2019

Words by Andrew Sutton

Ruud and Ingrid and their two children Lizanne (U9s) and Mischa (U6s) joined Corroboree at the commencement of the 2010-11 season and immediately became actively involved and embraced all that was special about Corroboree.

Ruud’s vast experience in athletics became apparent very quickly and this saw him drafted into assisting in the running of On-Track and in the role of Carnival Manager for one of the carnivals that season.

At the end of the season I, as President, approached Ingrid who, like Ruud, had immediately shown a strong interest and commitment to Little Athletics, to take on the role of Vice President.  I still remember the conversation vividly – she firstly made sure I wasn’t going anywhere in the next year or so before agreeing to take on the role.  Fortunately I was in a position to assure her that was the case and Ingrid agreed to step up.  In her first year as VP Ingrid was more than happy to put her efforts into anything that needed doing.  We were going through a lot of change and the first thing that took her focus was updating our very old Constitution, not the most exciting role, but one that was necessary and as a result of her work, the Constitution has required little to no change since then.

Ingrid was also happy to attend LAACT meetings which were never my favourite thing to do

Ruud in the meantime took on a key role supporting John Hunt as a member of our coaching ranks, having migrated from The Netherlands as a Level 2 Coach.   This was finally accredited in 2017-18 as a Level 4 Specialist Coach (Sprints, Relays Hurdles) and Level 3 Advanced Event Group Coach after many years wrangling with bureaucracy!

At the end of the 2012-13 season Ruud was awarded the John Hunt Award.  This was in recognition for his outstanding efforts throughout the season, not just in regards to the above which he did as a matter of course each week, but also for taking on the thankless but extremely challenging role of the Northside Regional Championships Manager.  Ruud also acted as the Assistant Chief at the ACT Championships and became involved in ALAC.

At the end of the 2014-15 Ingrid was recognised for her outstanding and consistent efforts in also being the recipient of the John Hunt Award.  As I described Ingrid when delivering my President’s Report at the AGM “Ingrid is very much the glue that keeps us all on track.  Her family are obviously all passionate about athletics and Corroboree and Ingrid best exemplifies the culture of the Club.

That year, Ingrid was responsible for the preparation and submission of our successful ACT Government Grant; she prepared the Officials Roster for the Northside Regional Carnival with great success; took on the responsibility for our uniforms, and has spent much time preparing the duty statements for each of the committee.  Ingrid is always happy to help, whether it be attending ACTLAA meetings, coaching juniors, helping set up on each Saturday morning, timekeeping, assisting other Committee members when they are under the pump, assisting in managing the Carnivals and Championships etc etc.  A most deserving 2014/2015 John Hunt Award recipient.”

Whilst I remained President until the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, Ingrid had already in effect taken on that role.  As I was quietly withdrawing myself from running the Club, Ingrid stepped up and whilst she had some reservations about taking on the role of President, there was no doubt in my and the rest of the Club’s mind that she was right for the role.

Ingrid continued in the role of President for 2 seasons, stepping down at the end of the 2017-18 after being on the Executive for 7 years, but has continued to remain on the Committee this year.

In the meantime, Ruud’s contributions to Little Athletics also continued unabated.  Not only did he take on an ever increasing role at the ACT Level acting as Referee for Field Events at every Carnival and Championships, he became involved at the ALAC level initially as Assistant Coach and then in recent years taking on the Coaching role, one that he has filled with great regard..

One of the things that Ruud does behind the scenes that demonstrates perfectly his commitment to Corroboree is whenever hurdles is on the program on a Saturday morning, he spends quite a few hours marking out the positioning for all the hurdles so that the Meet runs so much more effectively than it would. He is also the man who marks all the Javelin throwing areas, fixes those tapes that get broken at Saturdays meets, glues High Jump bars back together, delivers tents to carnivals when the association asks for our assistance, acts as selector and manager for representative teams and the list goes on.

Also of note, Ruud was nominated in the Volunteer category for the ACT at the last National Roll of Honour awards for Little Athletics; while Ingrid was in her final year of her Club Presidency when Corroboree was awarded the LAACT’s Club of the Year.  These are both recognition of their commitment to Little Athletics.

In a way this is very much reflective of both Ingrid’s and Ruud’s contributions to our great Club, but also to Little Athletics generally.  Neither seek the limelight in what they do preferring to undertake their roles quietly and effectively.

Both have been consistently and actively involved in each and every Saturday morning Athletics Meet getting there first thing to help with set-up, helping run athletic events either as a coach, timer or whatever role needed filling, as well as being the last to leave after everything was packed away.  I can remember either not being present at our meets on a handful occasions and invariably it is because they were involved at another ACT or National Athletics Meet.

Not only are Ruud and Ingrid so committed to Corroboree and Little Athletics in general, they do it in a way that reflects so positively on our Club, our sport and especially themselves.

They are always very positive, very calm, but assertive when needs be.  In taking on challenging roles whether it be Ingrid as President or Vice-President, organiser of Officials at Carnivals/Championships etc or Ruud as Carnival/Championships Manager or Field Referee, their personalities ensures that they get the results desired or required, but they bring everyone on board in doing so.  Ruud has also become highly regarded as a coach having that perfect balance between seriousness and having fun, but also getting the best out of the athletes.

Before I conclude, I think it also worthy mentioning both their children Lizanne and Mischa. Their ongoing love of athletics has helped ensure that Ruud and Ingrid have remained engaged with not only the sport but especially Corroboree, so thank you to both.  In some ways I think the love of athletics is mutual and has certainly played a strong part in the strong family bond between the four of them.

Chris Bacchus – inducted 29 February 2020

Chris has been a long-standing member of our club and committee. He first joined the Club at the start of the 2008-09 season, when his older son Sullivan (Sully as he was better known) commenced Little Athletics in U6s. Chris then joined the committee the following year as a General Committee member and as our First Aid Officer. The next year his younger son Jules also joined the Club. While the boys left the club for a few years (2013-2016), we were delighted to see Jules come back in 2016-17, which also brought Chris back to the club and on to the committee again.

In total, Chris was on the committee for 7 years, but whilst not serving on the Club’s Executive, Chris has made some key and long-standing contributions that have gone a very long way to building the club spirit and ensuring that Corroboree’s Little Athletics program is at its heart fun! So much so he is very much our Chief Cheerleader and as he describes himself, the Club’s Minister of Fun.

Specifically, Chris’ key achievements have included

  • the reshaping of the On-Track Program for Under 6 to Under 9 athletes. The On-track program has always been an exceptionally important part of Little Athletics where the younger athletes were taught the basic skills of running, jumping and throwing. However, Little Athletics Australia had recognised that the program was a little too technical in its delivery. In reshaping this program, Chris showed tremendous initiative, effort and creativity. He brought great knowledge and understanding of coaching and undertook a lot of research to ensure the program worked.
  • Chris demonstrated a remarkable ability to engage with the children and their parents to have everyone involved and committed. The results of his efforts meant that the athletes still developed the core skills but in effect did so in a highly fun and non-competitive environment and in most cases did not know they had acquired these skills
  • Chris also showcased the On-Track program at our Come and Try days which no doubt helped contribute to our ongoing growth in member numbers
  • One particular example of his creativity and efforts to make On-Track so much fun was on one of the hottest meet we have had, Chris developed and brought along a misting machine to provide some cooling (we seem to recall quite a few of the older athletes and parents taking advantage of his creativity that day as well).
  • The On-Track Program, under Chris’ direction, became very highly regarded by athletes and parents, and as a result of this and his general contribution to the Club, Chris received the John Hunt Award in 2010.
  • Chris was also very instrumental in designing great obstacle courses for the Christmas parties and his great sense of fun has also been demonstrated by his fantastic costumes. He featured as a Christmas Elf on quite a few occasions, but his most well-known character is that of “Captain Corroboree”. The Captain has made regular appearances to our Meets and in 2016-17, the Captain also featured in the mascot race at the Little Athletics ACT Championships.
  • Chris also developed the Club chant, which to this day remains the prelude to every Saturday athletics meet and will be just another legacy to his time with the Club. Chris also provides loud and enthusiastic support to all the athletes during carnivals, as he got the Corroboree team cheering-on all the Corroboree competitors on the track. You can hear his whistle all the way around the oval!
  • In 2016-2017, Little Athletics National Sponsor Jetstar held a photo competition, called the Orange Round. Chris again showed great initiative and creativity, as he designed (together with Jules) a large orange Jetstar banner. He came to the meet, once again dressed-up, together with his sister-in-law (another Corroboree parent) as the characters “Jet” and “Star”. He then organised the Club’s photos, and principally because of his efforts, Corroboree won the competition resulting in a $3,000 prize which allowed us to finance the badly needed fourth long jump run-up.

Over his many years with Corroboree, Chris has contributed in many other ways. As a physiotherapist, he has been for many years our First Aid Officer, and he has also been seen timing races or acting as an age group coordinator.

After the 2018-19 season Chris stepped down from the Club’s committee, but continued to be actively involved being on the sub-committee for the organisation of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. As part of this role, Chris put great time and effort into his research that ultimately led to him identifying and finding the founders of the club. Chris then met with one of our founders, Joyce Boyson, and organised for her to visit the club for the 50th anniversary celebrations. Chris, once again, also looked after the fun aspect of the celebration, as he came up with the idea of the inflatable obstacle course, which he subsequently organised.

Chris is the ultimate team member, he is always very positive and constructive and completely dependable. As such, his opinion was highly valued by the entire Club and his positive legacy will be long standing. As a result of his contribution to the ongoing success and growth of our Club, it is with great pleasure that we, on behalf of the Committee, announce Chris Bacchus as a recipient of Life Membership of Corroboree (North Canberra) Little Athletics

Joyce Boyson MBE and Eric Boyson MBE – inducted 29 February 2020

In October 1970, Eric and Joyce Boyson brought Little Athletics to Canberra and started the first club in the ACT, based it out of Corroboree Park in Ainslie and called it Corroboree Little Athletics. Eric’s letter regarding his input into the start of the club is on our History page and well worth a read. Eric was the administration brains behind the club whilst Joyce was the operational guru and led the club through it’s early days. They were both very keen, even then, to ensure the club’s ethos was around the level of fun the kids had as opposed to athletic achievement.

We were very fortunate to have Joyce join us for our 50th Birthday party celebrations (Eric passed on a few years ago) and Joyce regaled us with her recollections of the beginnings of the club.

In recognition of getting the sport started in the ACT and in bringing Corroboree to life, Eric and Joyce were awarded Life Membership at the 50th celebrations.

Little Athletics Australia Sponsor