On Friday morning, August 16 campers at the Princeton Family YMCA’s Discovery Camp and M.V.P. Sports Camp joined together at their morning “Community” session for the presentation of the third annual YMCA Alexander K. Buck Leadership Award. Those selected to receive the surprise honor were Matthew Boyd and Abby Whitlow, both of Lawrence.
Annually the award is presented to two YMCA camp counselors, one young man and one young woman, who best exemplify and reflect the leadership qualities, character and passions of the late Alexander “Whip” K. Buck, a longtime Princeton resident and former trustee and supporter of the YMCA and its mission. The qualities and characteristics include demonstrating the YMCA core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility; showing humility and kindness to others in actions, words and deeds; serving as a good citizen in the camp community and showing a love of democratic principles of fairness and respect; possessing an infectious spirit of fun and adventure and inspiring others to follow; valuing the natural environment and encouraging others to do the same; demonstrating a balance of spirit, mind and body as a well-rounded individual; learning from his or her mistakes and accepting and sharing wisdom; and putting others first and being committed to serving others at every turn; And finally, being “a good friend to all.”
Kate Bech, CEO of the Princeton Family YMCA, who helped with the presentation of the awards, said, “Mr. Buck’s extraordinary life, as a longtime supporter of the YMCA mission and many other important community organizations, continues to inspire our Y family and others. This annual award gives us a happy occasion to remember him, while serving as a wonderful testimony to his good works and legacy.”
Abby Whitlow, formerly of West Windsor, has worked for the Princeton Family YMCA in different capacities since October 2008. Her first role at the Y was a swim instructor and later took on lifeguarding responsibilities. During the summer of 2010, Abby switched from the aquatics department to work with the YMCA’s MVP (Sports) summer camp. As a head counselor of the MVP group, Abby was instrumental in creating a fun and supportive environment for all MVP campers. This summer she became part of the Discovery Camp Activity Staff. Her dedication to helping others and bringing out the most of everyone she encounters embodies the true meaning of a camp counselor. Abby graduated from West Windsor Plainsboro High School and earned a certification from the National Personal Training Institute.
Matt Boyd has been an essential part of the YMCA after school and camp programs for the last three years. Matt’s experience and education as a certified teacher led to a quality program for all. Two campers in his leadership program in 2011 went on to receive the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance “Volunteer of the Year” award for the Princeton YMCA in 2012. For the last two summers, Matt has put his curriculum and classroom skills to work as the coordinator and head counselor of the summer specialty camps. Matt earned a Bachelor’s degree and a MAT in Social Studies and Education from the College of New Jersey.
Both young adults are “a friend to all” and serve as exemplary role models to their peers and to the campers.