YMCA names employees of the year
Todd Stevens and Tom Jagelka have been named the 2018 recipients of the Riverbrook Regional YMCA’s Karen Strickland Employee of the Year Award for their dedicated and passionate leadership and commitment to the Y’s mission.
The award is named in honor of Karen Strickland, a passionate Wilton Family YMCA staff member from 1988 to 2014, who strove to continually improve the experiences of Y members, staff and the community as a whole.
The award is given to employees who go above and beyond the call of their work and show that they live and work by the core values of honesty, caring, respect and responsibility, just as Strickland did. Robert McDowell, CEO of the Riverbrook Regional YMCA, said he’s “honored” to recognize Jagelka and Stevens for their “excellence and exceptional performance.”
“Tom and Todd are outstanding employees who provide their expertise, enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to the Y and the community,” he said.
“Through their hard work and years of service, our YMCA continues to grow and provide young athletes in our competitive sports programs with innovation, inspiration and compassion.”
Their awards were given out at the Y’s annual board of directors meeting in June.
Stevens, a Trumbull resident, has been the senior coach of the Wilton Y Wahoos swim team for 20 years and said he considers Wilton’s YMCA his “second home.”
Since 1998, Stevens has “inspired hundreds of swimmers to develop their potential through swimming,” according to a Riverbrook Regional YMCA press release — not only at the Y, but as head coach of Wilton High School’s boys and girls swimming and diving teams.
“I love what I do and I do what I love,” Stevens told The Bulletin. “There is not another team I would represent.”
Stevens said he was “very surprised and honored” to be recognized as one of the Y’s employee of the year. This, however, isn’t the first time he’s been recognized for his work.
Stevens was named the 2008 and 2017 FCIAC Girls High School Swimming Coach of the Year, the 2008 CIAC/CISCA Girls High School Swimming Coach of the Year, and the 2009 CHSCA Girls High School Swimming Coach of the Year.
Jagelka, a Wilton resident, has been “instrumental” in growing the Riverbrook Regional YMCA’s gymnastics program to “the successful program that it is today,” according to the Y’s press release.
Jagelka first joined the YMCA in Wilton as a volunteer gymnastics coach in 2000. He was employed as head gymnastics coach three years later, and promoted to his current position as gymnastics director soon after.
His gymnastics career started when he was a student at Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, N.Y., where he competed in gymnastics, as well as swimming and diving. He set school records, was honored at graduation as the all-around gymnastics and diving champion, and earned a full gymnastics scholarship to Long Island University.
While in college, Jagelka began his coaching career at the Eastern Queens YMCA, where he coached both the men’s and women’s teams.
The Bulletin reached out to Jagelka for comment but did not hear back from him in time for publication.