03/16/08 — Family Y is looking for young leaders

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Family Y is looking for young leaders

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 16, 2008 2:00 AM

Ryan Novo, the Goldsboro Family YMCA's new youth director, is looking for Wayne County's next generation of leaders.

Novo said he plans to start a branch of the Leaders Club at the YMCA in August.

He said Leaders Club is an elite teen service club that does outreach for the local Y and helps with events such as the Healthy Kids Day or the annual Turkey Trot. The club meets twice a month to coordinate projects to help at the Y.

"It's all volunteerism," Novo said about the Leaders concept.

He plans to be very active with the teens, meeting with them often and guiding the officers once they are chosen at the first meeting in the fall.

Club dues for the year are $30, but paying a fee does not get a teen into the club, Novo said. Each teen fills out an application and meets with him for an interview. He will then give each recruit a month to carry out three assignments related to the kind of volunteer work he or she will be doing with the club.

"Then, they decide if they want to stay in the Leaders Club," Novo said.

Leaders Club is not something that a parent can force on a teen, he added.

"It has to be in their heart," he said.

New members are inducted into the club once a year after completing the month-long challenge.

According to the Leaders Club rules, when a member ages out of the club, members vote in a successor.

A year of Leaders Club ends in a week-long trip to Black Mountain near Ashe-ville for the Blue Ridge Leaders School.

The teens fund their trip by holding fundraising events throughout the year.

The young leaders qualify for Blue Ridge by doing a minimum of 100 volunteer hours, but Novo said the teens will end up doing many hours more than that by the end of the year.

But Leaders Club is more than just a civic club, Novo said. There is a physical component.

Upon arrival, the club members take a physical fitness test.

Each day is filled with a rigorous schedule of classes on activities like fitness, swimming, team building, character development and YMCA history. The day begins with taps and breakfast, morning devotions and classes before and after lunch.

After dinner, evening clinics are held on activities like Ultimate Frisbee, high ropes, flag football and swimming.

"Some it makes them. Some it breaks them," Novo said about the week-long Blue Ridge Leaders School. "The way I push my team will be different than the way another adviser pushes their team. This pushes them out of their comfort zone."

And if they decide to stay, Novo said he will be ready to help Wayne County teens become leaders in their homes and communities.

For more information on the program or the YMCA's other upcoming programs for Wayne County youths, call 778-8557.