FRANKFORT– Tomorrow’s leaders have a new leader. The Kentucky YMCA Youth Association, which provides hands-on leadership training for more than 9,000 Kentucky teens in more than 80 counties annually, has named a new chief executive officer.
Beth Malcom, a Louisville native, becomes the first woman to lead the 126-year-old organization. Malcom, who previously served as Interim CEO, Chief Operating Officer and a program director of the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association, was selected by the Board of Directors from more than 200 candidates.
The Kentucky YMCA Youth Association convenes middle and high school students at more than 300 Kentucky schools for model assemblies where young people take on the roles of leaders in the United Nations and Kentucky General Assembly. The group also provides leadership and service-learning programs throughout the year.
The mission of the Kentucky YMCA is to develop engaged citizens and servant leaders, inspired to affect change in their school, community, Commonwealth, nation, and world. The Kentucky YMCA fosters critical thinking, leadership, and social responsibility in teens through experiential learning, service, and community activism.
Malcom participated in the Kentucky YMCA’s programs as a youth, which gives her a deep, personal appreciation for the life-changing experiences and leadership skills the association instills. The YMCA programs create safe spaces for teens to explore their beliefs and convictions, and allows students to interact with peers in a way that grows passion, empathy, problem solving and a desire to be a catalyst for change in a community.
“When a student feels they alone are interested in socially responsible civic engagement, s/he may not feel empowered to act,” said Malcom. “Given the structure and space to recognize this similar commitment in peers, teens become confident, and feel a belonging to a powerful social movement. This in turn increases self-esteem, self-efficacy, and active servant leadership that truly changes individuals and communities.”
Malcom worked for five years with teens and young adults as a licensed mental health and addictions counselor in Indianapolis before returning to Louisville in 2011 to work for the Kentucky YMCA. Over the past five years, her duties have included program recruitment and oversight, statewide conference planning and execution, and personnel management.
Malcom graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelors in Psychology and Criminal Justice, and a Masters in Counseling and Counselor Education.
For more information about the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association, visit www.kyymca.org.