Teen Leader to Team Leader

My Y Story: Matt Manning

Matt ManningMEET MATT

Like many Y stories, Matt Manning’s began when he was a young child attending one of our swim programs.  As a youth he spent many of his summers part time at camp enjoying boating, nature, swim, outdoor games, archery and more.  Matt starting attending Camp Sargent full time the year he was entering fourth grade and many summers after, until he became a teen and enjoyed time at Quest, which was a teen camp based out of the Nashua branch.  As he grew older he enrolled in the Counselors in Training (CIT) program and attended through the summer of his junior year.

“Camp was always an enjoyable time and I made so many great memories”, Matt reminisced. “One of my favorite memories came at archery camp in either 5th or 6th grade. When shooting a round of arrows, I did as close to a robin hood as you can get with the type of arrows we were shooting and shot an arrow directly into the previous shot and it broke the nock off the arrow. I got to keep the nock and bring it home to show and tell my family exactly what I did.”

Not only did Matt enjoy the Y during the summertime, he spent much of his free time during the school at the branches as well. Although Matt truly enjoyed camp and it had a great impact on him the Teen Leaders program was one that affected him greatly. “I feel as I developed so much as a human through this program and I would not be the person I am today if I wasn’t part of leaders. Whether it was through volunteering, service projects, or regional events with other teens across the northeast, I got to meet and interact with so many people and learn about the world through hearing about their life experiences.”

The Teen Leaders program focuses on Middle and High School teens who are looking to connect with a community of their peers to develop and learn but also find ways to give back to their communities through service projects and volunteerism. A Y signature program, this initiative has positively impacted many teens in our surrounding communities and nationwide.  There are many regional events where multiple Leaders from vast Y associations can come together to learn, bond and, well, set forth to change the world.Matt Manning

Having essentially grown up at the Y when Matt was ready to apply for jobs he immediately thought of the Y as an easy choice. “When I first was looking to find a job in high school, I really wanted to do something for work that I would enjoy. As someone who enjoys sports and already had experience working with kids through two years of being a CIT during the summer, I applied to teach sports here at the Y. From there I taught basketball classes my junior and senior year of high school at the Y. After I went away to college for two years, I was in the process of switching schools and was planning to take a gap year to narrow down what I wanted to after college. That summer I worked sports camp at Westwood. Now I still work at the Y while taking online classes at SNHU and hope to be able to still have a connection with the Y once I get my degree in data analytics.”

Matt has become a positive fixture at the Westwood Park branch, working effectively with children of all ages, it’s not only benefitted him but the program as a whole.  He even works closely with the Teen Leaders program, bringing his experience full circle.  As Andy MacEachern, Association Sports Director, shared “Matt’s a team player, who’s always looking to improve and makes great relationships with his participants.”

And Matt in turn loves his job and the work he gets to do each day, “My favorite thing about working for the Y is all the connections I have made with the families that are part of our sports programs at Westwood. It always brightens my mood when I see a child come in to one of my classes so excited to be there. When I see some of those children coming back class after class that validates for me that I am giving them an enjoyable experience while teaching them in these sport classes.”

It’s always wonderful to see participants in Y programs grow up to take on a job or profession at the Y, it shows a lifelong commitment and impact that an organization can make.  The Y can really benefit from having this type of staff who understands and has been with the organization for such a long time.  And for Matt it’s a win-win, getting to a job you really love!  For him, and many others, it’s also a way of giving back to an organization that was impactful earlier in your life.  “I am grateful for all of the positive experiences I have had growing up through the Y. I definitely would not be the same person I am today without have going to camp and being part of our Teen Leaders program. I am glad that I now have the same opportunity to help leave a positive impact on kids’ lives that are part of the Y just like people did for me growing up.”

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