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What does it take to make the YMCA of Greater Brandywine’s Sports Leagues a success? For starters, a talented team working behind the scenes to plan and organize everything that makes our leagues the best.
Here’s a closer look at the dedicated professionals who’ll be helping your kids learn and excel in our sports programs.
Patrick Dugan, Senior Youth Sports and Team Director at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine
Patrick has been a mainstay at the Y for almost 20 years, first starting as a membership staff associate at the YMCA of Greater Rochester and working his way up to his current position as Senior Youth Sports and Team Director. It’s not hard to see why, either.
“I’ve always had a passion for sports, and when I had the opportunity to coach, I enjoyed it so much that I decided that it was where I wanted to be and that I wanted my career path to revolve around it,” Patrick said.
A State University of New York - Brockport alumnus, Patrick received recruiting interest out of high school for both basketball and baseball. In the summer of 2017, he left Rochester to take on a new challenge at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, which gave him a larger role in impacting kids’ lives.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with kids,” Patrick said. “When you see a kid learn a new skill and be able to repeat it and have success with it, the looks on their faces are incredible. Having the opportunity to make a difference every day is a huge reason why I love doing what I do.”
Taylor Wyly, Regional Sports Director, Oscar Lasko YMCA and Upper Main Line YMCA
“I’m a lifer,” says Taylor, who’s been involved with the Y since childhood and began working for the organization at the age of 18. “I did karate with the Y, it’s where I learned to swim, and I attended after school care. Now I’m working here and I don’t think I’m leaving!”
A 2015 graduate of West Chester University, she received her calling to work with kids after coaching a 10-year-old girl in an introductory field hockey clinic.
“She came up and said, ‘Coach Taylor, I’m in field hockey in elementary school and I love it!’ The fact that she’d continued in field hockey and almost contributed her success at it to me was awesome. Knowing I can help the kids is what stuck,” she says.
Improvements to the program Taylor says to expect this year include improved coach training and improved balance of team skill levels.
DaTwan Bolden, Lead Sports Associate, Upper Main Line YMCA
Working at the Brandywine YMCA after graduating from high school, Coatesville native DaTwan fell in love with sports as a career. That’s not really a surprise, as he’d already developed a love for sports when he was a member at the branch as a child.
“Being there for practices and having an impact on a child’s life, that really interested me,” he says.
That love led him to work with the Y in Philadelphia during his time at Temple University, where he earned a degree in sports and recreation management. After working as a site director for the Phoenixville Y, he knew he wanted to get back to working with kids in sports.
"Working with kids, that’s my passion,” he says. “I love having fun with them, I love bettering their lives and being a positive role model. The YMCA has given me that opportunity, and I just love it.”
Victoria Burton, Lead Sports Associate, Kennett Area YMCA
Victoria’s path has, in many ways, paralleled that of Sean Oaks (Regional Sports Director for the Jennersville and Kennett Area YMCAs) – both are University of Delaware graduates; both grew up in Newark and Hockessin, DE; and both were members of the Kirkwood Highway Y.
Having that early experience with the Y “started my entire family with the sports world,” she says. “We’ve been playing sports since we started when I was four or five and never stopped.”
Her professional career with the Y started during an internship at the Glasgow YMCA while she also pursued a degree in behavior science.
“I was kind of lost the first few weeks, and then the youth sports director said, ‘Oh, come help us out.’ And then it just all fell into place. I found what I loved doing.”
Al Williams, Lead Sport Associate, Brandywine YMCA
Al has been connected to the YMCA for most of his life. As a 12-year-old in Norristown, he credits much of his growth and development to the swimming and weightlifting he learned at the YMCA there. While in college at West Chester University, he joined the Oscar Lasko Branch, and later, the Rocky Run branch in Media. “It seems like everywhere I moved, I have to find a YMCA,” he jokes.
Once he retired from coaching at the Glen Mills Schools, he relocated to the Coatesville area and joined the Brandywine YMCA; and then this past February, he signed on to serve as the lead sports associate there.
His coaching approach, honed while coaching five sports at Glen Mills, focuses on keeping kids engaged through fun. “You have to enjoy this. It can’t be drudgery all the time. You’ve got to have fun,” he says. “That goes for all sports, especially when you’re at the ages of our kids. Otherwise it will get old quick. I want kids learning the sport and hopefully liking it enough to come back next season.”