Stanly YMCA director wins award

Stanly County YMCA Executive Director George Crooker describes himself as a humble man, but even he is very proud of the award he received late last month.

Crooker, 58, was presented the YPN Service Award at the YMCA Professional Network’s annual conference.

It came as a surprise. He received the award while he was looking over notes for a speech, as he was to present an honor to the person honoring him later in the night.
Crooker described YPN as a “professional fraternity for Y directors.”

Chapter 23 includes North Carolina and South Carolina.

“A lot of it’s about fellowship, a lot of it’s about networking,” Crooker said.

Crooker has overseen YPN’s Emergency Assistance Fund for the chapter for nine years, bringing in donations of $90,000 over that period. The funds are then sent to the national organization to help any YPN member or their families experiencing a crisis. YPN membership is free.

Crooker, who has been director locally for 11 years and with YMCAs for 36 years, was reflective when talking about the recent honor.

He credits former directors for the work he is able to do.

“All I was able to do was water those roots. And it really wasn’t a me thing, it was a we thing. It’s the staff and the board,” Crooker said. “I like small YMCAs. I like small towns. I love the people we have in this community.”