The Transylvania Times -

Of National Award: Popular Boys & Girls Club Staffer One Of 10 Winners


September 18, 2017

Courtesy Photo

Emily Taylor

There's hardly a happening at the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club in which Emily Taylor, its operations director, isn't involved. Colleagues and kids alike say she's one of the most energetic persons in an energy-charged organization... engaging, enthusiastic, efficient, a dependable leader who almost always wears a smile as she darts about the club's building and grounds.

And so it comes as no surprise to them that Taylor has been chosen for the Maytag Dependable Leader Award – one of only 10 made to staff and volunteers at local Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation. It carries a $20,000 prize for the club and is sponsored by the venerable Maytag appliance brand, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

"I'm honored," said Taylor in a typically modest way. "I was just really surprised that the club nominated me."

She insists working at the club is really more fun than work.

"I just love being here... the kids are just so much fun!" she said.

Taylor, 28, has been on the staff for 10 years, the last five, full time. She's a Transylvania County native, a graduate of Rosman High School.

When Candice Walsh, the club's executive director, told its board of directors about the award, she said she was thrilled for Taylor.

"If anyone deserves the honor, it is Emily," she said.

Taylor was sitting beside her at the time and blushed.

As operations director for the club, Taylor trains and oversees most of the staff of seven other full-timers and up to 40 part-timers. As if that weren't enough, she works with many of the 250 children who daily crowd into the club's headquarters on Gallimore Road and its new Teen Center across town. She watches over disciplinary issues, helps develop and run programs, and even tends to the club's fleet of buses.

"When we saw what Maytag was looking for... people who demonstrate a commitment to excellence every day, dependability, reliability... we just immediately thought: Emily!" said Kathleen de la Torre, the club's finance director. "One staffer said, 'Emily doesn't ask you to do anything she wouldn't do herself' and yes, we've even seen her cleaning toilets!" said de la Torre with a laugh.

'She Shines!'

Executive Director Walsh spelled out many of Taylor's attributes in composing the nomination sent to Maytag.

"She may shy away from being in the spotlight," she wrote, "but she shines nevertheless."

There was happy evidence of the club family's affection for Taylor at a recent gathering, said Walsh. When Walsh introduced her, the crowd sent an unrestrained message:

"The kids and adults cheered when Emily's name was announced. Cheered!" said Walsh.

All agree Taylor is an important part of the club family in its mission to build good citizens for the future.

"She brings life, energy and humor to our club and regardless of who you are, you feel like family around Emily," Walsh said.

No one can deny that Taylor is ubiquitous. She was there on a Saturday during the Cindy Platt Day of Service last month, working alongside dozens of other volunteers to spruce up the clubhouse for the new after-school season and help unload supplies donated by Women 101, a women's group that supports the club. She was there helping with the recent BBQ Fund Raiser, in which local supporters Clay and Lisa Sykes donate some 100 pork butts they smoke on their home barbecues. The club sells them for $50 each.

She was involved Sept. 9 in the Main Street Mile, a running/walking race on the streets of Brevard that benefits the club. And, of course, on that same weekend, she was involved in the famous Mountain Song Festival, another benefit for the club.

When not working at the club or involved in its outside activities, Taylor is active at home. She paints in oils (her Wingate degree is in fine art), she refinishes antique furniture, she and her husband, Ryan, a Buncombe County sheriff's deputy, romp with their dog, a mixed-breed Doberman. And high on her list of things to do is sports: She was a collegiate athlete and still plays basketball and softball.

The club, named for its founder, Cindy Platt, who was a long-time supporter and president of its board of directors, gets most of its money for operations from donations and grants, with the lion's share coming from local individuals, churches, organizations and businesses.

Its annual fund drive has a goal this year of $265,000 and the club has set up a number of ways for supporters to help. A popular one is to donate online at its website, There, you can click on "Donate" on the home page and charge it to a credit card. Supporters can also mail a donation to the club at P.O. Box 1360, Brevard.


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