Ryan Downey Elected 2021 Atlanta Kookaburras President
2020 has been and continues to be an unprecedented year, and footy, like all elements of our public life, has certainly been adversely impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Following a late 2020 campaign that saw our club return to limited, in-person practice, host a socially distanced AFL Grand Final party, and closely monitor the broader public health context within our nation as a whole and the USAFL in particular, the Board of Directors convened on November 23, 2020 to hold the Annual General Meeting and elect members for 2021. The AGM provided an opportunity for outgoing President and Life Member, Wayne Kraska, to not only assess the state of the club in 2020, but to look back on his tenure and many of our recent successes. Having spent the better part of two decades in service to the club and the USAFL as a whole, he is now setting his sights on growing his new club, the Rome Redbacks, (www.romeredbacks.com) alongside his portfolio of businesses including Play Aussie USA. Wayne also has recently helped generate Footy 5000 (www.footy5000.com) that will bolster participation in footy and build a more sustainable footprint across the American South and the wider North American footy culture. His legacy will forever remain an integral part of Atlanta Kookaburras culture, and we know that as he looks further afield for his next footy adventure, he will continue to anchor our sporting culture in our neck of the woods.
Looking ahead to 2021, we have a vision for a safe return to footy as the public health context allows, and we have a crop of veteran and new leadership alike to see the Kookaburras into this next phase. Building on his six years as a player for the Kookas and five years as a Board of Directors member, Ryan Downey was elected to serve as President for the upcoming year. In his return to Atlanta from D.C., rising Kookas star Seth Stokes was elected to serve as Secretary, and long-time Kookas player Chris Alexander was elected to serve as Treasurer. Beyond the Executive Committee, many members stepped forward and were elected to serve in at-large Board Member roles, including Ben Tischler, Andrew Schoppe, and another stalwart of the club Jim Batten. Long-time Board Member and 2018 Best & Fairest winner, Braden Medders, joined Wayne Kraska in rolling off of the Board of Directors, earning a well-deserved break after a long tenure serving the club in myriad crucial capacities. As his final act of service in his previous capacity, Braden delivered the Treasurer's Report for 2020, and one thing is clear even against the backdrop of economic uncertainty faced by so many: the state of the Atlanta Kookaburras' financials remains stable, and our effort to invest in a building fund that will see a brighter future for footy in Atlanta and the South continues to gain momentum with the fund growing year-over-year.
While we know there is much that remains unclear about how we can return to some semblance of normalcy in 2021, in all facets of our lives, we also know that the Atlanta Kookaburras will persist and seek to grow our membership in service to our current members, our Life Members who have poured so much into this club, and our Greater Atlanta community. We intend to add additional Board of Directors members for the 2021 year, and we are looking both within and outside of the club for folks who can support our efforts to take this club to the next level and to honor the investment of time and care made by the Life Members who preceded us.
Atlanta Kookaburras Board of Management.