Jamie Johnson was recently selected to join YUSA’s Emerging Global Leader Institute, which prepares young leaders to be aware of diversity, inclusion, and global connections so that YMCA can impact communities at home and internationally.
How have you seen the YMCA making a difference in the community in Greenville?
The Y has the ability to be a focal point for the community. Pick any specific branch and on that
property, lives have been changed, friends have been made, weight has been lost, confidence
has been gained and life lessons have been taught. Someone has walked into that building
feeling one way and left later feeling so much better than they anticipated in spirit, mind
and/or body! Great things can happen within the four walls of the Y!
What exactly is the Emerging Global Leader Institute + what will you be doing as part of it?
The Emerging Global Leader Institute (EGLI) challenges and empowers leaders (staff and
volunteers) to be champions in diversity, inclusion and global engagement. Through DIG work
(diversity, inclusion, global) we have the opportunity to strengthen our community and beyond.
In short, it’s furthering our training on how we focus our energy to make the Y truly a place and
community for all.
Being in the EGLI program has allowed me to travel to Seattle for an orientation with other
leaders and go to Mexico and experience Y work on an international level We have been able to
take training to make us all more culturally and globally aware. Every community is different
and being able to hear and learn from other leaders about their challenges and learning of all
the resources that are available has been a wonderful learning experience.
What do you currently do as Sports Director at the Caine Halter YMCA? What do you hope to learn at the Institute that you can apply to your position?
On paper, I’m in charge of coordinating all the youth and adult sports at the Caine Halter YMCA.
I am also the Chair on our Advancing Our Cause- Sports committee for the association. In
reality, I play a small part in using sports as a platform for youth to learn life skills through
games. As adults, we understand that we will all win and lose in life. Through sports, we can
have those conversations early and often in hopes that a seed is planted at a young age and
that there is something positive that sticks with them as they walk this path called life.
One thing about team sports is that within a team you have “different” positions or roles that
players have to play. Each of those roles/positions are working towards the same goal or
intention. I want to use my position and sphere of influence to encourage us all not to just
focus on the aspects that make us different, but to look deeper and find those aspects that we have in common and that can bring us together. All the trainings, the networking
opportunities, and the awareness gained have given me the tools to really focus on how to
create and maintain an environment that will foster that mindset.
What do you think will be your biggest opportunity in joining the program + the biggest challenge?
During this journey, two words have continuously been at the forefront of my mind. They are
awareness and opportunity. I want to be more aware of what some of the barriers are in place
for people in our community and I want to help find solutions to overcome those barriers and
help create a sense of balance and equity in some way.
The challenge is remembering that this is a marathon. All the answers and changes will not
happen overnight. I have to remember that even small actions can sometimes yield big change!
How has working with the YMCA impacted you personally? What causes are you passionate about where the Y helps you make a difference?
I personally love to learn new things and meet new people. The Y is a home away from home.
Some days are busier and crazier than others, but on most days, I don’t feel like I’m at work. I
feel like I’m amongst friends and family and that makes coming here more than a job. The
ultimate cause of the Y is to strengthen the community. I’m passionate about being part of the
solution and forging a path as a cause driven leader, not just for the Y’s sake but for myself as I
continue to figure out this thing called life.
This content was created in partnership with the YMCA of Greenville.