Having grown up frequenting the Stokes County YMCA, Patrick Neil said that he’s game to take over for Patrick Whitbred as the new sports director.
“Just in the years that I’ve been here, my role has grown gradually,” Neil said, explaining that he started working at the YMCA in May of 2012.
Neil recently graduated from Winston-Salem State University with a bachlor’s degree in special education, an area of expertise that he said he plans to roll over into his work at the YMCA.
“I’ve seen a lot of things and just because a kid has a disability people think that they don’t have the same physical or mental abilities that someone without a disability would and that’s not true,” Neil said.
“They aren’t made to feel like they’re part of the team,” Neil said, adding that he hopes to make the sports branch of the YMCA as inclusive to all people as possible.
“I’m looking forward to having the program grow and to have an impact on the lives of the kids that come in and out of here every single day,” Neil said.
Neil said that he started out coming to the YMCA at the age of eight for basketball, but stopped going later on until his passion for soccer really picked up. Neil said that he started making more frequent trips to the YMCA to workout in preparation for soccer.
Neil said that he hopes to foster the same love of sports and physical activities that he has in the children that visit the YMCA.
“I feel like I know what’s going on here, I view it as my second home,” Neil said of the YMCA.
“I feel like a big responsibility of mine is customer service, I want to make sure the parents and kids feel like they’re getting their money’s worth when they come here,” Neil said. “I want to teach the kids life lessons and help them become contributing members of the community.”
With the new position, Neil will be responsible for all things sports, including sports programming and the sports staff at the YMCA. Neil said that a major goal of his is to keep membership rates climbing at a steady increase.
“My goal for the sports department, in the years that Patrick Whitbred has been here it’s really grown in the involvement that we’ve had, and I just want to continue to have it grow and have kids from the area learn the basics of these sports,” Neil said.
Neil explained that at the end of 2013 he really started to “fall in love” with the YMCA and began to think in terms of pursuing a long term career with the organization.
Before assuming the position of sports director, Neil worked closely with the counselor in training program for the past two summers.
“I taught kids between the grades of eighth and tenth what it means to be a counselor and train them so that they can come back here and work in our department,” Neil said.
Aila Boyd may be reached at 336-415-2210.