Y Staff Members Are "Like Family"
Sixteen-year-old Micah Day has been going to the La Crosse Y since before he began grade school. He recalls his mom, Danya, bringing him to the Family Fun Center when he was 5 years old. As he grew into becoming a teenager, he didn’t always make the best decisions. A few times, his behavior caused him to be temporarily restricted from the Y.
Today with a strong mother, grandmother, and role models at the Y supporting him, Micah has remained out of any trouble. For the past few years, he has been active at the Y’s Community Teen Center. He was selected to participate in the Y’s Community Teen Center Leaders Club.
“I wanted to make myself a better person, so I keep myself busy every day doing something positive for myself and others,” Micah says. His involvement in the leadership club has included helping with fundraisers and planning parties for other teen members.
Open and free to any teen in grades eight through twelve, the teen center is located on 11th Street, adjacent to the Y’s parking lot. The center is not only staffed by positive, caring adults but also offers activities that engage teens to use their talents, energy, and creativity.
“They are like family,” says Micah of the Y staff. “They are good listeners.” Micah utilized his talents in woodworking class at Central High School to make a large table, which he donated to the teen center. It provides the ideal space in the kitchen to place food upon during meals held at the center.
Micah enjoys the diversity of people that come to the Y and teen center, as well as the wide variety of programs offered at both sites. Through swimming lessons at the Y, Micah also has achieved certification as a lifeguard. “You could never get bored there,” Micah says.
Sponsored by the La Crosse Rotary, Micah attended the Y’s Camp Manito-wish Leadership Program last summer in Boulder Junction, Wis. Since graduating from the leadership camp and getting involved at the teen center, Micah has matured in independence and responsibility, says Danya, a single mother. For example, he wanted to save his own money that he earns from his job to buy an Xbox, rather than depend on someone else to purchase it for him.
As a junior, he’s looking ahead to graduating and attending college. At the high school, he plays basketball, the first sport he ever played and it has remained his favorite. He shoots hoops every day that he can at the Y, where he spends the majority of his time when he’s not at school or home.
“We’ve been through a lot together,” Danya says. “I’m grateful that he has remained guided by God. He has good influences on him at the Y. He’s a blessing, and I’m proud of him.”
– By Kim Seidel, Seidel Ink LLC. 2012