My name is Matthew, and I am from the Shady Grove Family YMCA in Richmond, VA. I go to Virginia Tech, where I am studying aerospace engineering. In my free time, I enjoy running, playing and watching soccer and spending time with friends and family. What is your favorite BRLS story, memory, or experience? [...]
My name is Amber Shirley from the Greater Palm Harbor YMCA in Palm Harbor, Florida. Growing up I moved around a lot between Florida, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, but somehow made my way back to Florida in 2011. I started swimming for the Y that summer and have pretty much spent every day there since. In my 13 years of being a competitive swimmer I never found a “home” until I came to the Y. This YMCA has influenced me to help others, which has helped me find my passion in nursing. Right now, I am in my second semester at Rasmussen College of Nursing where I plan on becoming a registered nurse.
My journey with the Y started when I was just 10 years old. It was the only place that I felt I was at home, at least until I joined Leader’s Club. I was coerced to join by a friend, and looking back now it is the best decision I have ever made. My first year coming to BRLS was a game changer for me. I realized that who I am deep down is who I am meant to be. 5 years later, Blue Ridge has had an incredible impact on my life. It has taught me to be confident in who I am, and most importantly how to love and trust in others. Without BRLS I would not be the Person that I am today.
There truly is nothing like Blue Ridge Leaders’ School. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, it’s not worth it to pretend to be something you’re not. To all of y’all coming to BRLS this year, you are going to have the opportunity of a lifetime. Take advantage of your time on the mountain, make friends, and have fun. If you ever need anything feel free to come find me. I am so excited to see what this year has in store. See you soon!!