This year Coach Bill Jackson was inducted into the Kentucky YMCA’s Advisor Hall of Fame. To even be qualified to be nominated you have to have been an advisor for more than ten years and nominated by a Y-staff member, current student, teacher or alum of the program. Coach Jackson has spent more than ten years working with Manual students for both three-day conferences: the Kentucky Youth Assembly (KYA), a mock state government conference; and the Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA), a mock United Nations.
The conferences are held in local hotels and include hours and hours of debate and meetings each day, with students running in many directions. This includes the formation of a Global Village for KUNA, and a trip to Frankfort, KY to debate in the actual House and Senate Chambers, not to mention simply moving one hundred fifty students around swiftly and easily.
One of the neatest things was that this award is a surprise. The lead up to the award ceremony was a hilarious list of missteps. Coach Jackson’s wife and family had been invited to surprise him and he still didn’t catch on because of some quick thinking on the part of his wife. Once it came time to announce the Advisor Hall of Fame winner, Coach Jackson, slipped out to grab something and we had to bring him back in.
During the award ceremony, several Manual students spoke, including Ben Boutell, who had this story to share about Coach Jackson from gym class: “One day we were learning how to do archery. And let’s just say I wasn’t the best. I simply was just awful. I was going up for my shot and I pulled the bow back and I shot it and missed the target AND missed the curtain behind the target and put a hole in the wall. Needless to say, Coach Jackson still treated me the same no matter how bad I was at archery and he has treated me the same way throughout my whole time in YClub.”
Christy Causey, Manual YClub Advisor, and a member of the Advisor Hall of Fame explained, “Mr. Jackson has lead our delegation at the last 22+ conferences for no other reason other than that he loves being here and supporting our kids. He reads every bill, sits in committees engaged in the debate, often taking notes and telling me his thoughts. He is honest and tough on our kids, demanding that they be the best they can be. He is also proud of them, filling me in on the conference moments when they shined, and retelling triumphs to our teacher colleagues who only see our kids in the limited contexts of their classrooms.”
To say that Coach Jackson was moved, would be an understatement. It was a well-deserved award for a very special man.