My Y Story: YMCA175 Teens

This summer, more than a dozen students from across Western New York will travel to London, England to take part in YMCA175, a global youth event being held August 4-8 that brings together thousands of young people, YMCA senior leaders, and networks from around the world.

The weeklong event is a conference, summit, and celebration all wrapped into one. Youth from around the globe will gather to build relationships, strengthen cross-cultural understanding, celebrate the YMCA’s 175th birthday, and create solutions to address social challenges.

13 delegates, who were nominated by a staff person to take part in the event, will represent YMCA Buffalo Niagara at YMCA175. Koriyah Beeks, Dominic Bubb, Mason Collins, Jamie Drury, Isabel Garcia, Kaylee Gorney, Sean Heffley, Jack Improta, Emily King, Joseph Peters, Gabriel Planavsky, Jared Ritzler, and Abby Tartaro are YMCA participants, volunteers, and staff who are actively involved in their local branch and have been recognized for their leadership skills. Together, the group has participated in team-building activities, fundraising training, and leadership development ahead of the event. Each delegate is also raising money to cover of the cost of their trip.

YMCA175 is an opportunity for these young leaders to increase their awareness of inclusion, diversity, and the importance of community. “This trip will allow me to have a multicultural experience that will help me grow both as a staff member and as a role model to the children I work with. To me, the Y is my family. Everyone is welcome. The connections I have made both as a camper and now staff member will last forever,” says Emily King.

“I know I’m making a difference in the community because I help encourage confidence, develop a sense of community, and inspire leadership,” says Sean Heffley. “I believe the work we do is most important to anyone who needs help or feels like they don’t fit in. For me, the YMCA is a very supportive community and an excellent opportunity to spread positive character traits to a younger demographic.”

YMCA Buffalo Niagara congratulates all the delegates headed to London this summer. Supporting these leaders in their development not only benefits them as individuals, but ultimately benefits the entire community.

To donate to YMCA Buffalo Niagara click here.

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