Wow, what a summer! We studied the work of the YMCA and of Blue Ridge Leaders’ School. We grew as Leaders’ Clubs whose calling it is to serve others. Lastly, we’ve discovered that what we’ve gained at Leaders’ School needs to be used the other 51 weeks of the year, “Beyond BRLS!”

Speaking of last year’s theme, I want to give one last shout out to the 2017 Honor Leaders who created the theme and served as an excellent examples of servant leadership for us all!

This year we kicked off the new approach to personal fitness. Every leader was given their current fitness level and should be working with their local Advisor and YMCA fitness staff to come to the 2018 school with each of those numbers showing growth and improvement. Imagine the power of being able to say that over 700 teens are healthier and better able to serve the children of the YMCA than they were 12 months before. Soon we will be sharing with the advisors their club’s data, as well as some tracking support. The website will soon feature fun videos of exercises and ideas of how to improve the fitness levels for all of us!!!

The SLT has already held its planning retreat and used over 400 responses to surveys and emails to help plan for the 2018 school. We loved the passion and commitment that we read in each and every piece of feedback. From first year leaders, to twenty-five year staff team members, the SLT really listened and considered what was being shared. And we are confident that the plan for next year will reflect some of that feedback.
Each month I will use this column to share some fun fact about the school. The school leadership heard so many folks who LOVED the school picture being taken on Monday morning after assembly that we have made that a permanent change and we will have a plan to ensure its logistical success!!! NO MORE HOT SWEATY AFTERNOON PICTURE!!!!!

I want to give a tremendous thank you to everyone who helped make BRLS 2017 (and my first year as its Director) a life changing success!!!

Greg Hall

YMCA Blue Ridge Leaders’ School