My name is Michael Irving and I am a freshman at James Madison University. I will be majoring in biophysical chemistry and minoring in both Spanish and Italian. I have lived in Chesapeake all of my life and have never moved. I started becoming involved with the Great Bridge/ Hickory Family YMCA during the summers of my middle school years by attending teen camp. After going to teen camp for a summer, I was invited to join the Teen Leaders’ Club by Matt Lewis and it was at that moment that I became heavily involved at the Y and all it had to offer. I continued with teen camp and also went to Leaders’ Club during the school year.

Attending the club opened my eyes to the importance of physical fitness and the importance of volunteerism and its positive effects on the community. After being involved with the Y so much, I decided to get a job and I have been a lifeguard at my local Y for almost three years.

During my first year of Blue Ridge, I broke out of my comfort zone and began to become more ambitious thanks to my group leader, Sean Black. I held offices for my club and was president last year, doing everything I could in order to improve the club, community, and to bring everything from Blue Ridge back to my club. I also had the opportunity to serve the school by being a counselor my past three years of Blue Ridge and enjoyed every second of it. This will be my seventh year in the club and my sixth year on the mountain. Blue Ridge and the Leaders’ Club has really impacted my life in a way that is indescribable. I have definitely grown as an individual and am very thankful for it. I have both shared and learned many things on the mountains, as well as shared many laughs and a few tears.

I am excited to serve as an Honor Leader in 2016 for my sixth year on the mountain. I know that this year will be amazing and I am glad that I get to work with amazing people from the mountain.