Two area young adults receive ninth annual Princeton YMCA Buck Leadership Award

Holding their plaques and standing with YMCA Senior Director Paul Zeger (far right) and YMCA Camp Director Derek Moorehead (far left) are 2019 Buck Leadership Award winners Russell Best and Aba Smith.

Aba Smith of Princeton and Russell Best of Franklin Township are the recipients of the 2019 Princeton Family YMCA Alexander K. Buck Leadership Award.

The award is presented annually to two YMCA camp counselors who best exemplify and reflect the leadership qualities, character and passions of the late Alexander “Whip” K. Buck, a longtime Princeton resident and former trustee and supporter of the YMCA and its mission. The qualities and characteristics include demonstrating the YMCA core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, humility, kindness, good citizenship, a fun spirit, concern for the natural environment, an ability to learn from mistakes, and being “a good friend to all.”   

Smith, 17, is a rising senior at Princeton High. She joined the Princeton Family YMCA’s summer camp staff this year as a counselor after many years of being a camper. She worked with children of all ages and abilities as a camp counselor.

Best, 21, is a current student at Rutgers University studying Journalism and media studies. Russell also started as a camper at the Princeton Family YMCA in 2008. He transitioned to counselor in 2015 and has been part of the summer camp staff ever since.