The Y in Central Maryland Blog

Monday Mission Update

As a service organization, we get a lot of feedback from those we serve about the quality and impact of our programs.  Some of that feedback gives us ideas on how to improve, while other feedback reminds us why the work of the Y is so important.  All of the feedback is read and considered.

Recently this note hit our inbox. It’s from our Towson Community Leadership board member Maureen Webster and it describes the interaction of two leaders: our associate, Marc Perry who is a Program Director at the Orokawa Y in Towson, and Maureen’s son, Steven, a member of the Y Leaders Club and a 7th grader at Ridgely Middle School.

Take a look.

From: Maureen Webster

Date: Wed, May 23, 2018 at 3:51 PM

Subject: Thank you!

To: Ryan Gadow <>

Hi Ryan,

I wanted to say Thank you for initiating the Y Leaders Club.  Steven was engaged and excited to go to his meeting each way.  There wasn’t a Tuesday night that he didn’t want to go, even after learning about the workout pieces.  He learned so much from Marc and the other group members, including better ways to communicate, how to step out of his comfort zone, how to include new people in the group, and so many other things.  He grew as a human, and matured into a budding leader.  And, he did it all with a smile and a new sense of passion.

Of course, it wouldn’t have been a huge success without Marc.  Marc brought to the table an enthusiasm that was contagious.  He met the kids at their level and truly enjoyed being around his diverse group of kids. He took things in stride, and frankly, I think he grew as a leader as well through the year. 

The Y Leaders is definitely a welcome addition into our lives, and hopefully will continue to be a vital part of the Towson Y. 

Thank you once again!


Thank you, Maureen for taking the time to write that wonderful note and for allowing us the honor to get to know and work with Steven. Congratulations and many thanks as well to Marc Perry and the whole team of Y associates across the association who have helped launch and facilitate the Y Leaders program this year, under the able leadership of Ryan Novo.

Y Leaders Club is a year-long leadership-development program for middle and high school teens who have “a passion for doing good.” It provides teens with extensive leadership training and volunteer opportunities that support Y programs and services to the community. In addition to teaching teens leadership through service, Leaders Clubs advisers introduce teens to all the work the Y does to strengthen community, and inspires and prepares teens to become future Y leaders. Leaders Clubs began in the 1880s (at the New York City Y) to ensure programs had adequate supervision and alleviate the shortage of on-site directors. We reintroduced Leaders Club to our Y last fall. Today, Leaders Clubs in Central Maryland and across the country engage teens as life-long volunteers in various Y programs and community initiatives.

This past Memorial Day weekend we remembered and honored those women and men who acted on their sense of duty and honor to serve their country on the fields of battle, many of whom lost their lives doing so.  It’s in the broader spirit of civic duty and sense that we live our lives not solely for our own benefit, but for the benefit of our family and community, that Y Leaders Club was created many years ago.  It is one of many ways in which we, as a Y, work together to shape tomorrow’s leaders; people who have a passion for doing good, a clear sense of purpose and a desire to make the world a better place. With all the challenges we face as a community and as a nation, I can hardly imagine more important work. Thank you to all the Y associates like Marc Perry and Ryan Novo who have chosen to dedicate themselves to making a meaningful contribution to our future civic leaders.

Thank you as well to all the men and women at the Y, associates, volunteers, members and program participants, who have served our country. Your bravery and leadership is an inspiration to us all.

All the best,


John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland


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