President Howard McElderry Says Goodbye

Hello all. I am writing to let you know that I resigned as President of Bays United, effective June 8th. This was a difficult decision for me, but I had intended to resign at the AGM in September and wanted to support an early transition to ensure leadership continuity into next year. 

My departure as President brings to a close 17 great years with Bays – starting as an enthusiastic parent of a U8 player, then as a volunteer, assistant coach, coach, board member, VP Youth, and my last eight years as President of the club. With both daughters well beyond the age of youth soccer, it is time for the club to be led by a member who has a player(s) in the club. 

Recently, a close friend asked me why I stayed on with the club so long, well after my kids had aged out. My response was very simple – Bays is so much more than just kids playing soccer, it is the essence of our community. I get a special joy every time I drive by Oak Bay High in the fall, with the lights on, kids on the field and seeing the positive energy of everyone involved. It’s a great pleasure to attend Bays events and see such joy on and off the field. Bays brings together a diverse mix of people in our community, far greater than we experience in our schools, neighbourhoods and work lives, and these bonds tie our community together. 

Moreover, it has been wonderful to see how the sport of soccer develops the lives of our youth. While some excel at the sport and fewer go on to elite levels, all who play get to experience the rewards of commitment and teamwork, and experience the successes and failures of competition. Through the game, players learn that despite our best efforts, fouls are missed and unfair advantages occur, yet we must move on and keep the larger picture in mind. I believe these experiences provide valuable life skills for our youth and thereby strengthen our society. 

Moving forward, I leave the club in the good hands of Steve Cockayne, who has stepped into the role of Interim President. Steve played with the youth organization in Oak Bay as a boy. Since early university days, Steve has been involved with Bays continuously as a player, coach of adult and youth teams, parent, committee member, and most recently on the board as VP Adult Teams. Steve is energised by the work ahead to lead Bays United FC out of COVID and back onto the field as the Province is reopening.

I have always known that through volunteerism, you ultimately receive way more from the experience than you put in.  This has certainly been the case for me. I leave thankful for the experience and for the friendships I’ve made. All the best.

Howard McElderry