READINGTON, NJ - Two members of the Hunterdon County YMCA Senior Management Team were recently honored by the Association of YMCA Professionals.

Bruce Black, President and CEO, received the George Williams Special Project Award and Justin Grand, Senior Director of Member Engagement and Wellness, received the John Wanamaker Award.

While it is an honor for a YMCA to have one leader recognized at the state level, it is exceptional that two leaders from the Hunterdon County YMCA received awards and an indication that it is led by a strong team of both experienced and emerging leaders, said Bart Fellin, Chairman of the YMCA Board of Trustees.

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Black started his career with the Y 35 years ago and has been President and CEO of the Hunterdon County Y since 2007. Black was nominated for the George Williams Special Project Award by Bob Conley of the Madison Area YMCA. This award is given to a person who has made an extraordinary contribution to AYP and/or the YMCA by developing a project or activity that is clearly outstanding and noteworthy. Black was nominated for his dedication to launching the AYP-Chapter 17 Mentorship Program.

Through the Mentorship Program, mentees receive career support and guidance from Y leaders while the mentors are able to assist rising stars outside of their own YMCA.

According to Conley, “Through the Chapter Mentorship Program, it is clear that Bruce Black has made a significant contribution to the development of YMCA professionals and with his work in Hunterdon County he is a leader in his field. The concept of this program had been on the Chapter table for several years and it was Bruce’s dedication and leadership that has made it a reality.” There are currently 19 mentor/mentee pairs working together. 

Grand joined the HCY team in 2015. He was nominated by Frank Barlow, HCY COO, for the John Wanamaker Award. This award recognizes YMCA professionals who have achieved administrative or program excellence early in their career. Their achievements serve as a model for professionals beginning their YMCA work.  Grand was nominated for numerous administrative and program achievements.

In his 17 months at the HCY, Grand has revamped the onboarding process, joined a taskforce to improve member experience, worked to establish a corporate partnership with ExxonMobil, and provided fresh insight. Grand has impacted the Healthy Living area of focus by updating systems, promoting the importance of wellness and education through focused seminars, and raising the professionalism of Y staff.

“Over the course of what we expect to be a long YMCA career, he will prove to be a credit to the movement, both locally and statewide," Barlow said. "Justin has a heart for YMCA work and an unending drive for excellence in building relationships with members and our HCY staff.”

David Carcieri, CEO of Somerset County Y and current AYP Chapter 17 President, made the award presentations.