For over 175 years YMCAs around the world have focused on youth development by providing safe places and programmes for youth and young adults to build their character and leadership skills for the future. Danner Taylor, who hails from West Bay, is one of those young people. The 25-year old Caymanian is pursuing his passion for working with youth and sports and career aspirations in the financial field all in one place as an intern with the Y.
Mr. Taylor first joined the YMCA in 2015 as both a Day Camp and After-School Youth Leader, before heading off to Flagler College in 2017 to study Sports Management and Finance. He returned to the Day Camp programme in 2018 and again in 2020; this time for an extended period, as he was not able to return to school to finish his last semester due to COVID-19. Fortunately, for both he and the Y, he obtained approval from his university for a 500+ hour internship to complete his final credits.
Known at Y camp as ‘Keeper’, Danner is a former Cayman Islands Men’s National Team Goalkeeper, and current Elite SC player. Over the past few months, Taylor has learned various components of sports management by designing and implementing a football programme for both High School and Primary School students in the Extended After-School Programme (EASP). Outside of sports, Danner’s short-term professional goal is to begin a career in corporate finance. Over the past few months, when not teaching youth the sport of football, Danner has gained experience in finance and operations by serving as an intern in the YMCA’s Business Office.
"The YMCA has been thrilled to provide a space for this young Caymanian to explore diverse career areas in youth development, sport, programme management and finance," said Gillian Smith, Y Executive Director. “Danner has been serving as a role model for youth at the Y for the past five years, and is proof that individuals can pursue their passion, find their purpose and have a meaningful career at the Y. Our hope is that other ambitious, community-minded young people like Danner will consider joining the Y family and dedicating their talents back to their community.”
"My experience with the Y as an intern has been very fulfilling. I have learned so much. I strengthened my planning skills and realised the importance of a well-developed sports curriculum. I know now that I can accomplish a lot if I have confidence in myself and communicate my ideas to the right people," said Mr. Taylor. “I appreciate the Y giving me the opportunity to achieve my potential and for treating everyone in the organisation like family."
A John Gray High School graduate, Mr. Taylor hopes to pursue a master's degree in finance in fall of 2021. Until then, he wants to gain work experience in either corporate finance or investments. After completing his studies, his ultimate goal is to combine his sport management and finance degrees to help accelerate sports in the Cayman Islands to a preeminent level in the Caribbean; he believes that the Cayman Islands has the resources to turn sport into a career for many and continue to grow its reputation as a sports tourism destination.
Besides football Mr. Taylor is also interested in art and interior renovation, and spends his free time doing canvas paintings and exploring his creativity by designing and renovating areas of his family house.