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11 December 2020

David Leap’s to top award

Whyalla YMCA Leap Takers Coordinator, David Agius, was announced as the George Williams Employee of the Year at the annual YMCA South Australia staff awards night on Saturday, 5 December.

In a double win for the passionate Whyalla community leader, David also won the Excellence in Innovation award for his initiative and development of the Leap Online program that provided vital social interaction for people living with disability over the COVID-19 lockdown.

This year’s presentation evening, held at the St Clair Recreation Centre, was reduced due to COVID-19 restrictions, with many regional staff teams joining the event online to celebrate the extraordinary effort and achievement of the organisation in a year that has provided, arguably, the greatest challenges in its history.

Recruited into the role of Program Coordinator in 2019, David was charged with elevating the team’s vision and perspective on people living with disability. David developed a strong, supportive and motivated team around him, injecting a new lease of life in the team, clients and the program as a whole.

David has brought a deeper knowledge and understanding of the YMCA’s culture and has delivered significant improvements and efficiencies in the management of the Leap Takers program.

The YMCA awards event featured a new award format with a number of new categories. Highlights included the announcement of The Valleys Lifestyle Centre in Clare as the Team of the Year, together with recognition of St Clair Recreation Centre’s Travis Beard who beat a field of 10 nominations to win the award for Outstanding Contribution by a Young Employee.

The onset of COVID-19 restrictions and the challenges which that entailed were acknowledged with the presentation of a special Exceptional Circumstances award. This was won by Support Services duo Locky Haynes and Michael Smith who worked tirelessly to maintain engagement and support across the Y staff network during the crisis period. Michael Smith was also announced as the Emerging Leader of the Year.

Award recipients included: Tristian Severn (OSHC Support) – Excellence in Operational Management, Ashlea Freer (One Tree Hill OSHC) – Community Partnerships award, Amy MacKenzie (Community Strengthening Camping) – Engaging Future Minds, James Meisner (Youth Parliament Taskforce) - Volunteer of the Year and the Holistic Wellness Program (The Valleys) – Program of the Year.

The evening was hosted by YMCA South Australia People, Risk and Compliance Manager Michael Collins and featured an address by CEO David Paterson, who said the efforts of all across the organisation was testament to the strength of the Y.