Meet the 2024 Summer Seminars for Women team

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The American Youth Foundation’s Summer Seminars for Women celebrates its 36th year in 2024. Its longevity and popularity couldn’t be sustained without dedicated leadership, and AYF Director of Adult Programs Holley Young is pleased to introduce the SSW 2024 Coordinating Team and express gratitude to one departing member.

“The SSW community appreciates and thanks SSW Coordinator Bridget Stack for her longstanding service, and we’re thrilled she’ll continue to join the program in the well-earned role of participant,” she said.

This year, SSW takes place July 31 to Aug. 4, and a virtual option will be available. Registration opens in mid-February, and Young is honored to deliver another SSW experience alongside a highly functional, fun, and devoted crew. Meet this year’s coordinating team:

Katie Belden LeGrand

Katie is a lifelong AYF participant and volunteer beginning in 1984 at Miniwanca Girls Camp (credit to Carol Davis Moakley, who insisted Katie sign up so she could win an AYF beach towel). Katie was a camper at Miniwanca and Merrowvista from 1984 to 1992, then returned as an adult to attend SSW from 2008 to 2015.

Katie lives in St. Louis, Missouri. She is originally from the East Coast and Midwest and has lived in seven states by the time she graduated from high school. She settled in St. Louis, Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Joe, have three children: Sandy (21), Coco (19) and Finn (16), and two dogs, Nala and Kopa.

Her former career as a high school teacher, experiential educator, and outdoor education facilitator flowed naturally into her current roles of CrossFit trainer and wellbeing coach. In her free time, Katie enjoys practicing the violin, taking walks in nature, reading, spending time with family and friends, working out, yoga, and meditation.

Meredith Sanders

Meredith has shared her time, talent, and treasure in multiple capacities with the AYF, including: National Leadership Conference participant and mentor, volunteer at both Miniwanca Boys and Girls Camps, Spark Adult Retreat Team member, SSW participant, and an SSW Coordinator since 2022.  Meredith loves to facilitate personal growth and empowerment for adolescents and adults, and her passion for photography has documented many wonderful AYF moments.

Meredith, her husband, Justin, and their two kids have participated in Miniwanca Family Camp and Volunteer Weekends for years, and both kids will be NLC participants this summer. The Sanders family lives in Crestview Hill, Kentucky. When she’s not at home or at Miniwanca, Meredith loves to travel, play board games, and connect with camp friends.

Shannon O’Toole

Shannon began serving on the SSW Coordinating Team in 2020 and greatly contributed to its virtual programs, including SSW 2020 and 2021, Evening Reflections, Book Clubs, and YearCompass. She also launched her own business during this same period – Shannon O’Toole Coaching – and shares her expertise across many formats with a focus on leadership development and human resources consulting.

Shannon and her three sons, Jack, Charlie, and Max, and beloved dog, Hope, live in Kirkwood, Missouri.  Jack, who attends Loyola University in Chicago, is also passionate about the AYF, and will enjoy his sixth summer at Miniwanca Boys Camp this summer and his second at NLC.

Shannon said there’s never a dull moment when her whole extended family gathers for fun close to home and on travel adventures, and her beloved sister, Kate, adds immense joy, love, and fun to life. No matter how busy she is, Shannon carves out time to go for a run and get on her yoga mat.

Questions about SSW 2024? Email Holley Young at [email protected].