I have a big book full of hilarious quotes from the kids in my programs over the years but the funniest one came in the summer of 2006 when I was working part time with Sports Camps. When a girl mentioned that her and her friend got sick from eating banana bread once, a 5 year old boy put his hand on his chin with an inquisitive look and said, "You both got sick from the banana bread? That's really weird.. hmm.. Unless someone pooped in it!"
Most valuable Y lesson?
I've learned to never make decisions out of convenience. I also learned from Terry Feldt, former Executive Director and now Director of Operations/Facilities, that true leadership includes letting go sometimes - delegating certain tasks and even certain decisions and letting staff learn by trial and error as they build their skills to better help the Y. As long as the risk of delegation has been evaluated and deemed worth it!
The most moving/inspiring story you've heard from a member?
A friend of mine who was also a Youth Sports co-worker here at the Y before working for me in Youth Sports now has cancer. There are several members I've gotten to know who have turned their life or health around, survived cancer and more, but this friend of mine is in his mid 20's and shows unbelievable faith and the most positive attitude I could ever imagine for someone dealt the situation he is in now at such a young age. I know that with his mindset and determination that he's going to make it!
Most influential Y role model?
There are so many people who have helped me become a better YMCA Leader and a better person. Terry, Britt, Phil, Penny, Tim, Trina, Scott, Eric, and former Youth Sports Directors Dereck Hall and Troy Wade have all helped shape who I am. The person in our association who really gets me, though, is Jeremy Dyvig. He's got a heart the size of his YMCA branch and he really inspires me to show everyone, especially people who might not have much, that the YMCA does have someone who cares about them.
One piece of advice you'd give an up-and-coming YMCA staff member.
Keep your mind on the big picture! We all get busy and frustrated at times, but here at the Y we have such a huge opportunity to build relationships and build up the individuals and families that make up our community. To me, investing and building assets in young people, directly or through an improved family life, is as impactful of a career as one can have. What you do for a living can really mean the world to people!