Lydia grew up in Quincy, Michigan and is an alumni of the YMCA Youth in Government program. In 2005 Lydia was part of the team of alumni that assisted the staff in creating the YMCA MYIG Alumni Association. She was the first Public Relations Chair of the Alumni Board and later served as the Chairwoman.
Lydia has a Liberal Arts Degree from the University of Michigan. While in college Lydia volunteered with a number of different Non-profit organizations including volunteering at YMCA YIG conferences and serving on the Alumni Board. These experiences led her into a career in college recruiting and took her to Pennsylvania in 2009. Thanks to her time with the Alumni Association she had connections to Youth in Government in PA, so she continued to volunteer her time mentoring teens and designing volunteer support resources for the program. In 2011 she became the youngest and first female CEO of the State YMCA of Pennsylvania. As CEO she ran PA Youth & Government for almost five years.
In 2015, when Michigan began the national search for a new Executive Director she knew MYIG was calling her home. Lydia lives in Ann Arbor with her husband Chris, their two young children Sonja and Simen and their dog Dash.
Assistant Director - Mary Burleson
Mary grew up in Eaton Rapids, Michigan and is an alumni of the YMCA Michigan Youth in Government program. Mary has volunteered with the program since 2005 and served as Chair of the Alumni Association from 2011-2013.
Mary attended Northern Michigan University as well as Michigan State University, where she graduated with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science and a minor in Spanish. While at MSU, she was a member of the Spartan Marching Band and vice-chair of the student government. In 2014, Mary received her MA in Teaching and Curriculum, also from MSU.
Mary has a range of education experience from teaching middle school in Kalamazoo Public Schools to teaching for Michigan Virtual school at the high school level. While teaching in Kalamazoo, she created a middle school MYIG delegation and has brought students to Lansing. She has also coached colorguard at Reading Public Schools and Eaton Rapids public schools. She has a passion for teaching and coaching that translates across her interests and her professional skills.
Program Outreach Coordinator - Gavin Jackson
As the Outreach Coordinator, Gavin will be tasked with recruiting new delegations as well as supporting existing ones. So this new role will be a great benefit for our teachers and students. If you have not met him yet, we hope you are able to connect with him in the near future.
For those of you not familiar with Gavin, he is an alumnus of the delegation from Southeastern High School. He has his Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies from Wayne State University. Gavin has worked with young people in a variety of settings including the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit and in the classroom. He also has a strong customer service background. But it is his extended volunteer experience at YMCA MYIG that stands out, as he has been part of delivering YMCA MYIG program events for more than 10 years.