Y Member Spotlight: Ella Barker

Her first experience at the Southwest Valley YMCA occurred during school’s fall break. Ella was enrolled in our break camp for the first time and was unsure of what to expect. At the time she was a very shy girl, but soon started to come out of her shell and share her full personality with her peers! During the camp, Ella was able to surround herself with new peers and began to make some great Y friends. This first experience left such a positive impression on Ella that she decided she wanted to come back for more! As summer approached, it was the perfect time to get back involved with the Y as Ella was enrolled in our summer camp here at Southwest.

Ella has taken full advantage of this year’s summer camp. Not only has it been a great opportunity to enjoy full days of camp games and social activities, but she has also expanded her involvement into additional enrichment that was being offered at the Y.

Ella recently joined the Mighty Mahi Swim Team which practices four days a week while camp is in session!

This first team experience has been a joy and she has shown tremendous gains in her self-confidence, social skills and learning the importance of teamwork. She will be participating in her first meet and is very excited to show off everything that she has learned! Ella’s experience at the Y has been amazing. If being in camp and swimming on a team was not enough, Ella’s enrolled and just completed the YMCA babysitting course which she really enjoyed.

Devon Casem, Southwest’s Senior Director of Youth and Family Programming, has been so proud of Ella’s involvement and growth this summer. “Ella has come so far in such a short amount of time. Since attending the Southwest Y, her self-esteem and positive behaviors have grown so much resulting in her ability to socialize and build friendships. Her journey this summer has not always been easy. I have witnessed her early struggles within the Mighty Mahi swim team. She was very discouraged at first and felt as though it was too much for her to handle. Through amazing encouragement from staff and friends, she has made she is making huge strides and now loves being a member of the team! These victories continue to shape her in a positive way and I am excited to watch her continued growth within the Y!”

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