Leadership Messages


Colin Thompson


This past year has been another challenging one both globally and locally, but I’m pleased to report that Y Ballarat has again stayed strong and capable for the duration.

Through managing the trials of the pandemic, the Y has strived to keep workplaces, families and children safe and to ensure all areas of the organisation have been able to carry on supporting communities through the challenges they face as well.

Nationally, the ‘Stay Safe, Tell Someone’ program was launched this year and included an online component, ‘Stay Safe Online, Tell Someone’. The program contains resources aimed a range of age groups and works on the Ys premise that we believe in the power of inspired young people. For young people to be empowered they must not only feel safe but be safe and this initiative is aimed at achieving that for our young people.

The Y Ballarat has embraced the Victorian Government’s funded three-year-old kindergarten program rollout, offering an extra year of play-based learning for all Victorian children.

I’m proud to announce the Y Ballarat was a finalist in the Federation Business School Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Awards in the Community Impact category. With the theme of businesses who ‘innovated, survived and thrived’ during 2020, the recognition is testament to the hard work and dedication our team has displayed.

It is with regret that I announce the resignation of our CEO Brooke LeSueur. Brooke has devoted 14 years as CEO to the Y, and in that time has merged 3 Associations, left a legacy of a strong organisation with great people and is leaving us in a solid position to move into the next phase of the Ballarat Y journey.

The Board wish to extend their wholehearted thanks to Brooke for all she has done for the Y and wish her all the very best with whatever the future holds.

I’d like to conclude by sincerely thanking my fellow volunteer board members, our CEO Brooke LeSueur and every staff member and volunteer for their commitment, strength and compassion over the 12 months. Your genuine voices allow us to achieve demonstrated and positive impacts within our communities.

Your ability and willingness to adapt in tough times gives our Y the confidence to continue strengthening our focus on program growth and financial sustainability and allows us to always be committed to young people and communities.

Thank you.

CEO's Report

Brooke LeSueur


It’s my pleasure to present the Community Impact Report as we reflect on our successes and challenges over the past 12 months, and importantly, celebrate our achievements.

With another demanding year behind us, I am pleased to report that the Y Ballarat has again shown that its collective community of staff and volunteers have dedicated themselves to the welfare and wellbeing of our young people and their communities.

I hope you enjoy sharing the highlights of the last 12 months with the Y.

The team was challenged in various ways depending on their locations through lockdowns and COVID restrictions. Corporate staff rallied together, while working apart at home and those on the front lines willingly rose to the challenge of keeping children, families and themselves safe and well.

Our Outside School Hours Care, childcare and kindergarten staff were called on repeatedly to be flexible and adaptable during the year with services staying open for the duration of every lockdown to support the education and care of children from vulnerable families and those of our important essential workers.

I would like to thank and congratulate every one of them for their dedication and bravery. Their contributions cannot be understated. Keeping these services open has helped every Victorian endure the pandemic.

Despite the continuing challenges of COVID-19 we were able to celebrate some important successes.

At the start of the year, 35 kindergartens from Metropolitan Melbourne joined our Y Early Years Management portfolio. We welcomed more than 190 staff from these kindergartens and saw our Corporate Services team grow to support our new services, staff and their communities.

The Jump Start pilot program ran over October and November 2020, giving a number of disengaged young people a hands-on education program where they gained valuable automotive skills and experience. With the Y’s belief in the power of inspired young people in evidence during the sessions, the program was a success in offering young people important opportunities for involvement, skill development and empowerment. The program is anticipated to run again as soon as restrictions allow.

The Youth Week Art Exhibition in April 2021, Drop-in Basketball sessions and the SWISH Intercultural Basketball Tournament were other instances which provided empowerment opportunities for young people.

Of course, during times of uncertainty, not everything goes to plan, but our team adapted, and some initiatives and programs were run online, including the Make Your Move health campaign and some of the fitness and wellbeing programs at Portland’s Leisure and Aquatic Centre. These online versions offering communities a way to stay connected during times of separation.

This past year has again tested the resolve and resilience of our staff, volunteers, families and communities and we look ahead with the knowledge that through difficult times, if we lead, learn from and lean on each other we can get through to the other side stronger than we were before. While we may still have a way to go, that knowledge will take us far.

Thank you Brooke

The Board, management, staff and volunteers would like to thank outgoing CEO, Brooke LeSueur for her dedication and diligence to the Y over the past 14 years. Brooke has successfully overseen the merging of three associations over that time and has represented the Y Ballarat as Chair of the National CEO Leadership Group.

Since YMCA Grampians merged with the Y Ballarat in 2018, she has overseen the security of the organisation’s financial position, with the Y Ballarat growing to become the 4th largest YMCA in Australia. 

Brooke has led Y Ballarat safely through the COVID-19 years, minimising the impact of the pandemic on communities
and on the organisation.

As one of the 18% of women holding a CEO position in Australia, Brooke has proudly been involved with the Y’s Women in Leadership group through her support and mentoring of its members.

Under her leadership, the Y Ballarat attained and then retained a crucially important step in protecting young people,
the Australian Childhood Foundation’s Safeguarding Children Accreditation. 

We thank Brooke, for her commitment to the young people and communities of the Y and wish her all the very best for her future.