Dear Minis members,
This season has been intensely busy but also rewarding, and I think the Minis has enjoyed some fantastic events – from widely praised home festivals, to competitive rugby against the junior branches of premiership teams, to playing under the floodlights. There have been many entertaining family days for the players – these are the special occasions that convert a kids’ health and fitness activity into a rugby community. We enjoyed an excellent tour, exporting Guildford’s quality minis rugby to the West Country and giving the families a memorable bonding adventure.
Guildford Minis’ home festivals are go-to rugby events in line with the achievements of many of our bigger competitors. We are now regularly over-subscribed for our two annual events – the Autumn Festival and the Valentine’s Festival. Bringing City and Coast together at Valentines was a particularly popular event. A highlight for me was watching the excitement and enthusiasm of the kids playing under the floodlights, feeling like the pros, and enjoying the lasagne in the clubhouse afterwards with other families. The bonfire lightly singeing the clubhouse at the fireworks was less of a highlight, but an entertaining evening nevertheless!
Clearly none of the above would be possible without an army of volunteers. The minis management does not undervalue your contribution, and I know from my own family’s experience that the amount of communication can sometimes seem overwhelming.
So, to all parents and family members who regularly coach or referee, who provide first aid cover, who have helped out in the car park, the shop, on the touch line, selling raffle tickets, setting up for and packing away festivals, organising volunteers, putting together festival draws, building bonfires, manning fireworks and so much more, a huge THANK YOU!
Each age group is run by dedicated head coaches and admins who give up literally hours of their free time every week – thank you guys, the Minis section simply could not function without your ongoing and future support.
If anyone deserves a personal mention it is the minis fixture secretary Jo Taylor whose limitless energy and tireless devotion has meant our children have had exciting and inspiring fixtures to enjoy throughout the season.
Next season it is our turn to run the Waverley Festival. We are also really excited additionally to see Guildford return to the Surrey Rugby rota for the first time in several years hosting the County Under 10s. It is crazy that a club in this county with the status and facilities of GRFC has not been part of hosting this annual event (even though we have routinely participated). A lot of effort from a number of people went into winning back this honour.
Finally, the close of this season marks the end of my two-year tenure as Chairman and it has been both enjoyable and rewarding. I am looking forward to being able to concentrate next season on coaching in the under 11s for my son’s last year in Minis. Guildford Rugby is a great community institution and well worth supporting.
Enjoy the summer break and, if I don’t see you at the end of season awards, I look forward to seeing you all on the pitch or in the clubhouse in September.