AYF Regional Action Networks gather Founder Friends across the U.S.

Posted on

Merrowvista Summer

As the American Youth Foundation prepares for its centennial in 2025, President Liz Marshall and Vice President of Advancement Sandra George have tapped eager alums across the country to rally fellow Founder Friends to join the AYF’s first Regional Action Networks.

George said the goal of these groups is to provide opportunities for Miniwanca and Merrowvista program alumns, current participant families, and seasonal staff to remain connected to the AYF and to develop and strengthen relationships within their own communities.

“The Regional Action Networks will gather our Founder Friends in cities across the country for social activities, lifelong learning, and community service,” George said. “We also hope these ambassadors will help us share more information about AYF programs in their communities and collaborate with regional partners to advance the AYF mission.”

The first AYF Regional Network launched this month in Cleveland, Ohio. Shane Hinde, Mary Leach, Julie Meadows, and Meg Nystrom serve as AYF Cleveland Ambassadors.

“These volunteer ambassadors will plan at least two events a year where AYF alums can gather for connection, community service, professional development, and fun,” George said.

The Cleveland group planned to host its first event, a beach cleanup, in April, but it was canceled due to inclement weather. The ambassadors are excited to schedule another event soon.

“This group will be a fantastic opportunity to join hands with other AYF enthusiasts in the Cleveland area and make a tangible difference in the community while enjoying the beauty of local natural spaces,” Leach said.

A second Regional Action Network recently launched in Los Angeles; Miniwanca alums JT Max and Blake Ives serve as ambassadors and are in the early stages of planning their first event.

Those interested in learning more about the AYF in Cleveland or Los Angeles can join their private Facebook Groups: AYF Cleveland Regional Action Network and AYF Los Angeles Regional Action Network.

“As we enter our 100th year serving youth, we’re hopeful these groups will help the AYF expand our reach and connect with new families and community partners across the country,” Marshall said. “I’ve heard from so many adults today that their childhood experiences at Merrowvista or Miniwanca shaped who they are. We can’t wait to watch these dedicated individuals gather and unleash their best on their home communities.”

More Regional Action Networks are planned for cities with sizable AYF populations, such as Chicago, St. Louis, Boston, and many more. If you’re interested in serving as an AYF Ambassador for your community or would like to learn more, please email [email protected].