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Behind the Y: Empowering Our Youth

Monday, February 12th, 2018

A periodic newsletter from our President and CEO, Vinnie Marturano.

Behind the Y







Empowering Today's Youth 

In just a few weeks, we will be hosting one of my favorite events of the year: The 29th Annual Youth Conference.

Not many events here at the Y pre-date my tenure, so I have a particular appreciation for the conference's tradition and humble beginnings.

What began as a small gathering of 50 students at Brockton High School has transformed into one of the largest annual youth events in the region, and is now hosted at Bridgewater State University. Several hundred high school students will come together on March 6th from dozens of area communities to share ideas, empower one another, and learn from their peers.

Needless to say, the Youth Conference has turned into one of most unique events at the Y, and likely one of the most unique events in the region. 

It's initiatives like this that bring us back to our mission. Students and schools attend for free. Presenters volunteer their time. Keynote speakers are passionate about their message and our cause. After 29 years of hosting this conference, I feel like we're just getting started. Each year, the event looks and feels different than the last.

Why? Because the way we prepare for life after high school is always changing. Because youth voice is more important than ever. Because there's value in meeting new people and hearing new ideas. Because hopefully every student learns at least one thing they'll take with them for the rest of their lives. 

That's why - and I can't wait to see what this year's conference has in store. Until then, here's a preview:

  • We're excited to welcome Jamele Adams, Dean of Students from Brandeis University, as our keynote speaker. He will focus on the topics of diversity and inclusion, keeping in mind this year's conference theme of unity.
  • Close to 20 workshops will run throughout the morning, covering subjects that range from anti-bullying to gardening, and civic engagement to banking and money management.
  • One of my favorite parts of the day is the Core Values Award. Last year, the award was divided into four categories with four student winners - one for each of the YMCA's core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. Students are nominated by both teachers and their peers, and are presented with a plaque in front of the audience.
  • This year will be the first for our new Unsung Hero Award, which will go to a teacher or school faculty member who was nominated as an exceptional mentor and supporter of students.

I think I speak for everyone at the Y when I say that we're eagerly looking forward to March 6th, when we will have the opportunity to engage with the next generation of leaders and the dedicated educators that support them.

For more information about the event, or if you would like to get involved or contribute in any way, please contact Caitlyn Sweeney at or Philip Gomez at

Until next time,



February 2018