Several YMCA Staff Members Stand Out

Across the nation, YMCAs host resident camps, day camps and youth programing.

To run such high-quality, life-enriching programs, the Ys require a highly trained, dedicated staff, comprised of people who have a passion for teaching, caring for and leading America’s youth.

The Jamestown Area YMCA just happens to have a plethora of such staff on hand to man its many day camps and its standout resident camp, YMCA Camp Onyahsa.

Standout is a neat word. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes a standout as: one who is prominent or conspicuous especially because of excellence.

Sierra Harleigh, a native of Leon, is one such person to receive the dubious distinction of being labeled a standout camp director, childcare worker and youth specialist at the Jamestown YMCA. Harleigh also received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from St. Bonaventure University, and her Master’s Degree in Literacy from SUNY Fredonia, cementing a career in working with children.

Harleigh started from the bottom and worked her way up the chain-of-command at the Ys youth department.

“I started working at the Jamestown Y four years ago as a camp counselor,” stated Harleigh. “I’m now the Camp ChauTau Director.”

Not content to just work the YMCA day camps in the summer, Harleigh works year-round at the Y.

“I’m privileged to work with the one and only “big man” (Santa Claus) who visits from the North Pole at the Chautauqua Mall in December to take pictures with local-area children to raise money for YMCA youth programing as a fundraiser,” added elf Harleigh.

But what really makes Harleigh a standout is her absolute commitment and dedication to the youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, gravitas- filled origination.

“I love the Y because this place has a unique atmosphere,” stated Harleigh. “Everyone and anyone who walks through those front doors instantly becomes a part of a special community.”

Harleigh is also very quick to give praise to her fellow staff members.

“The staff here at the Y are unlike anyone else,” said Harleigh. “They truly care about everyone who walks into the building and willing to give a helping hand.”

The YMCA Chief Executive Officer had this to add about this standout employee of the Y.

“She’s a dedicated and caring employee,” said Mark G. Eckendorf. “She runs a high-quality camp and “The Big Guy” from the North Pole thinks she’s fantastic.

“Sierra has shown extreme maturity and compassion for these campers. She is a great role model and she has already excelled as a Camp Director in her first week of camp.” Stated Gina Bloomquist the youth and family director for the Jamestown Area YMCA.

It would seem this combination of a caring soon to be teacher, mixed with a Y camp director, has merged in perfect union with an organization whose character values aligned together to create a model standout staff person for the Y. Harleigh, because of her strength of character, dedication to children, and love for the Y and its’ mission has been knighted with the title “Y-Strong.”

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