It was good news to hear that Easton’s YMCA this year that launching a lecture program. Y’s are famous for presenting speakers and interesting topics to communities, with perhaps famous being the legendary 92nd Street Y in New York City, now going on their 140th years.
We tracked down Liza Ledford, the event producer of Y-Talks, last week to answer a few questions the Spy had about the program and some background information
Talbot Spy (TS): First off, tell us a bit more about the Y Talks at the YMCA in Easton?
Liza Ledford (LL): The “Y Talks” speaker series was successfully produced in the Easton branch in the spring of 2014. The weekly series ran for three months and became a well branded program gaining momentum and audience attendance. The goal is to keep that momentum by adding a new speaker each month. Starting September 19th off every third Friday of the month at 7pm for 12 months at the Easton Family YMCA in the Thomas E. Hill Center for Youth Development, also known as the Teen Center.
TS: What was your inspiration for starting the program?
LL: The program was designed by Tom Hill and Shar McBee as a way to add community conversations to the new space at the Easton YMCA. There is a big fireplace that welcomes people to enjoy the warm environment together, while learning about amazing people we have in our community. It originally started when Tom and Shar were discussing the many residents of Talbot County that have very interesting stories and lead very interesting lives. Inviting them to come share their stories with our community brings us all closer and is very unique to our area. Talbot County also produces many events and sometimes we can capitalize on a visiting guest to share their stories with us.
TS: What kind of guests can people expect to see at a “Y-Talk”
LL: The guests will vary in type, but will all share the quality of being successful in their field. We have artists, politicians, writers, journalists, land developers, health industry leaders etc… The first one in the new “Y-Talks” on Friday, Sept. 19th features a young Iranian filmmaker, Natasha Kermani who is in town for the Chesapeake Film Festival.
She will share what her journey has been like moving up in the film and TV industry, being a woman in the industry and how it is now living in Brooklyn NY. Also, her insights on why she feels coming to a film festival in Talbot County is valuable to her career and why doing local talks adds to her story.
TS: What’s next for Y Talks?
Well, in October, we hear from Nick Panuzi who now lives in St. Michaels, but was a close advisor to President Gerald Ford. He tells of being in the administration that brought our men home from Vietnam. He also was charged with many construction and land development initiatives and his story is profound with insights on how he was concerned with the public’s welfare from a Federal government position. For November we are looking to secure a Chef and for the December topic, looking at Holiday Decorating experts.
TS: Finally, how do you select the topics and can people find out about them?
It is interesting, but sometimes we are referred to someone that has an amazing story and that dictates the topic, or the month is already topic driven like the Holidays. It is hard to limit them to twelve “Y-Talks” for the year because we have a wealth of amazing speakers that offer such intimate conversations. My hope is to add additional talks if many people attend and the series gains a loyal audience. There are just so many good stories to share.
The list of speakers will be at the Easton Family YMCA front desk, as well as the website. We certainly send press releases and list them in area community calendars, and of course the Talbot Spy. At each “Y Talk” we will announce the next one as well. And please know these were designed to bring the community together and we welcome any topic or guest suggestions. For more information or to sign up for Y Talks, please contact the Easton Family YMCA at 410-822-0566 or stop by the Welcome Center–cost is $12 per person per session.