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From the President, Brian Swersky

Posted: 24-Aug-2016 by Maccabi VIC

At the MacVic AGM held on 23rd August 2016, Joe Dorfman stood down as President and I was nominated to take on the role. I thank you for the trust you placed in me and face the task ahead knowing that I am supported by many wonderful and dedicated people.

I want to acknowledge and thank Joe for the incredible effort he has put in over the last 10 years. The end of his Presidency leaves the organisation in a sound financial position and poised to take on the challenges of the future. His achievements are too numerous to mention but the thing that stands out for me has been his willingness to take on every issue and patiently and methodically work away at them until resolved. Maccabi is a far better organisation for having had Joe at the helm. Thank you Joe and I look forward to your ongoing support and mentorship in my role. We have developed a great working relationship, a mutual respect and a lifelong connection and friendship.

I also want to thank Sharon Hamilton who is also stepping down after devoting over 10 years to Maccabi. Sharons remarkable and enduring legacy will be the All Abilities program which continues to grow and develop.  We must continue to engage and integrate All Abilities into our of clubs.  Sharon can and should be very proud of what she has achieved and although leaving the Board Sharon will continue to manage the All Abilities program. Sharon is one of those people who sits quietly at the Board table listening carefully. When she speaks she always has something valuable to add or asks an insightful and important question. Sharon, you will be sadly missed.

I also wish to welcome to the Board Danielle Davies and Dean Mohr. In their short time with us they have both already made a contribution and I look forward to working closely with them going forward.

So, to the future. The next few years will see great changes at Maccabi. As a roof body we need to re imagine our role and provide the leadership and support the clubs need for the times. It’s all about the clubs, its only about the clubs and we are here to support you. As office bearers we work for the benefit of the organisation but we also take on significant legal responsibilities. The burden of compliance and administration is only increasing and we need to help with that and take on some of that responsibility so that the Clubs can do the most important thing they have to do…namely get Jewish children and adults out on the fields competing to the best of their ability, with the very best equipment, coaching, facilities and support.

This is an incredibly exciting time to be involved in Maccabi. We have some amazing programs under development. Our Board will drive the key programs of Pathways and Leadership. Structural changes must evolve as will the way the various clubs and roof bodies operate and interact  - but at all times the focus on what is in the best interests of the clubs must guide us in any decisions made

The safety and security of everyone is paramount and the MPP program continues to develop in sophistication. In the next two months we will be launching an online training platform. This will allow us to provide an auditable online training program to everyone and that’s only the beginning.  We are also developing  customised software to record and manage Working with Children Checks for the clubs. This new platform will also enable clubs to create their own targeted and specific content ..the possibilities are many.

One of the key issues that the Member Integrity Officers have had to deal with has been “Parents Behaving Badly”. The actions of a small minority have major consequences on many. Coaches, Team managers, our children, opposition teams etc etc. are all impacted by the outrageous and inappropriate behaviour of a few people. We need a cultural shift in this organisation so that the majority set the standards as to what is acceptable behaviour. We are working through some ideas to provide the necessary tools and strategies to deal with this. Is this really the type of behaviour we want to model to our children? Is this the type of behaviour we want to portray to the broader community? Clearly it is not.

Another major issue facing the clubs, and also the MacVic Board is succession . In my term I aim to address this though the Leadership and Mentoring programs that we will introduce. I will seek to encourage more women and young people to get involved and at higher levels in the organisation. Women represent a unique and untapped pool of talent and we need to get you onto our Boards and committees in greater numbers. Youth are our future. We need to involve and engage them as our up and coming leaders and do this as early as possible.

As I settle into this role, I ask for your patience and support. I am honoured and humbled by the task ahead and look forward with much excitement to the future.

Indeed exciting times are ahead for Maccabi.

Thank you,

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