Ahead of the AGM this weekend. The BMXA Chairman, Neil Cameron, has his say on his two years on the board. 

COVER PIC: BMXA Chairman, Neil Cameron, speaking at Cross Keys BMX Club. (pic courtesy of GetSnapt)

2 years on …

The coming BMXA AGM marks two years of my tenure as part of the Board of BMX Australia.

As with any political position there is no guarantee that I’ll be sitting here writing these articles as Chairman after that event – that decision lays in the hands of the States and whether they think we’ve done a reasonable job over the past two years.

Instead of pondering things out of my control, I would rather reflect on what has gone on in the sport within the past two years, and just how lucky I’ve been to be part of this.

Much of what BMXA does is behind the scenes. The faces you see on race days, at club days and working at the tracks are the real heroes of this sport and the people that you rightly associate as the workers and the leaders of your weekends, but I’d like to talk about the people that have impacted this sport a great deal (whether seen or not) – the Board and Staff of BMX Australia.

The Board is a diverse bunch – spread across most states in Australia and all with the common goal of making this sport better than when they started in their roles.

These people spend a great deal of time at night (as well as on weekends) working through the issues that need to be handled, planning the future as they see fit and resolving issues as they arise.

All are volunteers and in that respect are just like the people running your club – hard workers who have the drive to put their hand up and “have a go”. They deserve the thanks of the sport, and especially my thanks for the work they continue to put in week after week.

The other team of people whom you know a little better are the amazing staff of BMX Australia. Ably led by our CEO (Martin Shaw), Emily, Toni, Sylvia, Daniel and Luke all put in long hours during the week as well as a great deal of time on weekends handling all the administration issues that this sport provides (and that is a considerable workload).

They attend events and work long and hard to make sure that the members receive the best possible experience we can provide every time that member gets on their bike.

I am very, very pleased to say that they are a fantastic, cohesive, dedicated and fun-loving team – and I know that our members benefit greatly from their commitment and enthusiasm in the way they go about their work.

The Australian Titles has come a long way in a short time. Before I started in this role, we had an event at Bathurst which did not go so well for some of our members.

I sat down with the Board and Staff and outlined where I wanted the event to be, what I thought the event should look like and how I thought it should run. I also told them that I thought it would take two or three events to get there.

After that I was quietly shown the door and told that my only involvement was “Presidential stuff” – leave the rest up to them.

For those of you who have been to the last three Australian Titles (Bathurst, Sleeman, Bunbury) I think you’d agree that the team hit the mark a heck of a lot earlier than my expectations or hopes. The event has turned into a streamlined machine that runs about as well as I could envisage.

We then added the National Series to the mix. My idea of a national series running across the whole country, throughout the year and encompassing all age classes added a massive workload to the office and officiating staff – and no, I didn’t pay them extra.

Everyone simply agreed that this seemed like a worthwhile idea and again, I was sidelined from doing any real work – the team just got on with the job at hand.

The Board and Staff are ably complemented by a very large team of volunteers who spend their time working at our national events (Titles and Series). Those red (and blue) shirts work tirelessly with great cheer to provide a streamlined, smooth-running event that just seems to flow across a weekend without any great fuss or bother – it just happens. It’s a testament to the team as a whole and I thank them one and all for their efforts and commitment.

Our media team have done an exceptional job in promoting and developing the sport’s profile and it’s showing great returns. The number of TV spots, radio interviews, meetings and otherwise with politicians has increased dramatically especially in the last six months.

The social media footprint developed by our media team underpins our exposure to the wider community and is proving very successful in promoting the image of a fun, family sport.

BMXA have changed the rules more than once since we took on this job, and it won’t stop there. The rulebook is a major tool we use to develop and drive the sport to where we believe it should be.

Change is not often popular and we won’t win any popularity contests with some of our members, but I believe in the principle that the Board is elected to do a job, run the sport and lead/direct where it needs to go – and we’ll continue to do that, including changing the rules, until the sport doesn’t want us around and votes us out at a relevant AGM.

So, what has really happened in the past 2 years?

Most of what has gone on has been the streamlining and development of the infrastructure that underpins our sport – coaching, officiating, rules, procedures, policies, websites, apps, communication systems etc.

None of this is exciting or newsworthy stuff, but a solid infrastructure managed by a well-run team is the foundation for what we do, and where we are going.

Whether it’s seen or not, the changes that have been made so far, and the changes coming in the future, are all part of building those strong foundations that will allow us to continue to grow in a steady, organised manner into the future.

Will this please all? I think not.

For every ‘like’ this gets on social media, there will be a comment regarding how we could do something better, or how “someone” needs to do “something” differently to improve our lot in life.

We listen to all (good and bad) and consider all possible options before moving down a particular path. I also personally understand the limitations of our resources and how we can’t do everything we’d like to do all at once – there just isn’t the people or the money to drive everything that we’d like to do.

So, the Board will work with the Staff and the volunteers/officials/administrators right across the broad-spectrum of the sport to keep grinding away behind the scenes – I firmly believe it’s working.

Neil Cameron
Chairman of BMX Australia