My name is Max Gongaware and I could not be more excited to join the Y Guides team as "GongaBear"! The Y has been a big part of my life since I was five years old. I grew up going to summer camp at Camp Kanata in Wake Forest. At Kanata, I learned independence, confidence, responsibility, positivity and how to become the "best version of myself." My experiences as a camper inspired me to become a counselor during my college summers, helping to provide the same great experiences for new campers that I had enjoyed myself. To this day, Kanata remains my favorite place in the world, so I'm obviously very excited that I'll get to spend my fall weekends there during Y Guides Fall Outings.
After graduating from Elon University with a degree in Media Arts and Entertainment, I became Camp Kanata's first-ever Social Media Coordinator. After two summers in that role, I worked as a Track Out Camp Counselor and Site Coordinator at the Taylor Family YMCA in Cary. I briefly left the YMCA in 2014 to complete an internship with Major League Baseball's Business Public Relations Department in Manhattan, but I returned to the Y afterward to become the Durham YMCAs' Sports Director. After two years in Durham, I've spent the last 2.5 years as one of the YMCA of the Triangle's Regional Communications Directors. Now, I'm excited to bring that marketing and communications experience into my role with Y Guides. I want to play a part in sharing the Y Guides story and the positive impact that the program has had on generations of dads, sons and daughters across more than 50 years.
When I'm not hanging out with Spotted Turtle, Swift Arrow and Dancing Penguin, I'm most likely watching sports. During the summer months, you can find me at Durham Bulls games and during the winter months, you might see me at Elon Basketball games. Go Phoenix! Outside of sports, I love spending time with my friends and family, listening to music and making silly references to my favorite TV shows and movies.
I am so excited to join the Y Guides family and I cannot wait to meet you all!
See you soon!