Educator, facilitator, agent, problem-solver, coach – all are terms people use to describe the role that our colleagues who work in community settings play. Gary Williams, Michigan State University Extension Children and Youth educator, received the Youth Sports Coach of the Year Award from the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association at a ceremony in East Lansing on Wednesday, March 20.
Gary oversees outdoor and environmental education programs in Southeast Michigan in a program supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The program exposes youth to outdoor activities and helps them build confidence in sports and activities they may not have experienced previously, including hiking, nature observation, fishing, hunting and shooting sports. He is particularly adept at helping young people learn the discipline and observation skills required for success in archery.
For all of these activities, and his passion for helping youth get a solid start in their life path, Alicia Minter, from the Detroit Parks and Recreation Department nominated Gary for this award. He’s a coach in many ways – with youth, and with adults who volunteer to mentor young people, and occasionally with MSU Extension administrators. And we’re all appreciative of his dedication to helping others step up and embrace life’s opportunities.