MOUNT VERNON — Community service often defines one’s life. Mark Leonard, a 25-year member of the YMCA Board of Directors, was recently honored for his commitment to the local Y and its members. During his tenure, he has been instrumental in various capital campaigns, most notably, the building of the Sport Center.
Recognizing the community’s need for the center to house the tremendous participation in youth basketball program, Leonard and the board engaged local donors to build the complex.
When asked of what he is most proud, Leonard said, “I’m proud of the direction the board and staff have taken to position the Y to meet the needs of all ages within the community.”
Ten years ago, the Y was the “go to” organization for youth sports. Going back 25 years ago, it was also a central location for youth social events and gatherings. Today, there are a lot of options for the area’s youth and adults as it relates to fitness and social opportunities. The one constant is that the YMCA continues to provide a “safe haven” for all ages.
Leonard, a lifetime member, credits “Y Biddy Ball League” in the early ’60s with teaching him, “a great deal about competition, team participation and at the same time, forming friendships that still exist.” He recalls that some of the games were played at the St. Vincent school gymnasium while the existing or “new YMCA” was being built.
No longer serving on the board, Leonard will remain a friend of the Y and will lend a hand when needed. Strengthening the already strong aquatics program, early childhood and preschool education components, and collaboration with other agencies to complement the facilities and staff expertise are among the priorities Leonard has identified as the priorities of the Y leadership.