Ryan Gavin is young and already an award-winning broadcaster and digital content producer. On the air since 2008, with his daily radio show having been syndicated by Maine Vibe Content, Ryan can be heard on stations across the United States every day. As the owner of Maine Vibe LLC, Ryan directs a team of creative content producers and serves as publisher of well-known social brands like Wicked Maine TV, Maine Vibe Radio, Maine Memes, Maine Made Weddings, and others. Maine Vibe brands reach more than 10MM unique users on a monthly basis in 2021. Ryan is active in the Maine community, having served two terms on the Biddeford School Committee and since 2008 he has volunteered for the American Legion’s Dirigo State leadership program, where he leads a digital development team and serves as Director of Communications. Ryan is on the executive board of directors for the United States Senate Youth Program Alumni Association, where he attended as a delegate in 2009. Ryan has also taught and lectured on media responsibility and positive civic engagement in a variety of formats for youth at leadership programs across Maine.
In 2019, as one the youngest competitors in the freestyle football sport, teenager Patrick Shaw was learning to balance high school life with freestyle fame. Taking up the fledgling sport in the eighth grade, Shaw has used his gymnastics and break-dancing background to his advantage. Competing in the Red Bull Street Style 2019, Shaw placed second in the World Finals and won the US national championship! "Patrick is simply a great young man and a phenom athlete. He brings to AY a living example of what one can accomplish with hard work when you love what you do. We are proud to connect with Patrick so participants at our Empowerment camp can meet a US Champion in person and up close."
Amara Ifeji is a 19-year old climate justice activist and advocate for equitable access to the outdoors for ALL youth. Her barriers to accessing environmental learning drove her to lead community science learning efforts and conduct internationally awarded climate change research. Through her efforts with the Maine Environmental Education Association, she strives to empower a network of over 400+ youth environmental activists in the Maine Environmental Changemakers Network. Amara also pushes for both state and federal environmental education policy reform through her roles with the Nature-Based Education Consortium and the Maine Climate Council Equity Subcommittee. In recognition of her work, she was recently awarded the National Geographic Young Explorer Award–one of only 24 youth in the world.
"We are super proud to have Ms. Ifeji join our esteemed team of special guests this summer! She is one of the most dynamic and active youth activists in Maine while helping lead the effort to upgrade and update our education system to reflect the future. She was also the keynote speaker at MYAN'S leadership conference this spring. Any youth at our program this summer who cares about the environment will deeply appreciate the opportunity to engage with Amara Ifeji!!"
Bill Macomber - AY Lead Organizer
Briellen Crowley is a recent graduate! She received her Masters in Social Work from the University of New England this spring. Her interests are in working with at risk youth. Working in various settings to accomplish this has helped her build skills in different situations with a variety of populations. Outside of schooling and work Briellen has a love for the outdoors as well as traveling and hopes to one day incorporate both into her career with adolescents. Briellen is currently preparing to move to Washington State in order to finish her licensing while working with a non profit.
"We actually scheduled our summer programs to insure Briellen could be there! Briellen is simply a natural when it comes to uplifting youth. Her ability to listen, understand, and communicate in a caring supportive way is truly special so we had to have her! She is also highly intelligent and equipped with a Masters level education! Congrats Briellen!" ~Bill Macomber, AY's Lead Organizer
Youth Advisor/Gaming Expert
Gabe Turbide studied at Drexel University with an interest in game development. After expressing an interest in the concept of gamification, he joined AY's team to help us make our programs as fun as possible by "gamifying" the learning experience. He also shares his keen intellect and insights while advising our leadership on all matters related to the organization. "Mr. Turbide is simply a huge plus for our organization and he happens to be one of the nicest people I know. We have big plans for using the gamification process as a core trait to enhance learning in all our Accelerators, and Gabe is helping lead this effort. Thanks Gabe!! ~Bill Macomber, AY Lead Organizer
Advisor and Facilitator
We are so proud to have Arlene contribute to Accelerate Youth! She brings a tremendous base of experience and success in leadership, education, and athletics which have been recognized through her induction into 5 Hall of Fames at the local, state and national levels. She was honored as National Coach of the Year in 1998. Her field hockey teams achieved nineteen league championships; fourteen state championship appearances, and eight state championships. Her leadership success beyond coaching is extensive as she helped elevate female athletes and the sport of field hockey both nationally and internationally. She believes that her focus is grounded in the ethical imperatives of justice, respect, and beneficence. She now lives in Kennebunk Maine where she celebrates life and continues to value the good and kindness in others.
Founder and Lead Organizer
Bill brings a career of dedicated commitment and experience in support of AY's mission. He earned his BA degree from Hamilton College in 1991 and set out immediately to help disadvantaged youth discover their capabilities to thrive and has since never wavered from this purpose. In 2000 he earned an MSW from Smith College and in 2005 he opened his private counseling practice specializing in work with teens. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors with Maine Youth Leadership, and is in the process of shifting his full attention to Accelerate Youth because "the need is so great, and so are the opportunties if we recognize them." He is blessed with three children and his wife and companion of 30 years, Leah. They share a home in Saco, Maine. His favorite hobby is fishing and he enjoys introducing kids to the fun on his boat, “One More Cast”.
Ezra Smith is a young entrepreneur and freelancer from Alna, Maine. He is currently studying architecture at Rice University in Houston, TX, with a focus on housing and sustainable development. Check out his personal website: www.ezrasmithdesign.com