Your Neighbor: Meet Olivia Miller
Published 12:05 am Thursday, February 23, 2023
By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier
Olivia Miller was born in Macon, Georgia, before spending her childhood in Elon. “My parents encouraged my younger brother and I to either be active, playing outside or exploring the world around us,” Miller said. “My mom was a dance teacher part time and I enjoyed when she taught me. It opened my eyes to theater, ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and hip hop.” When Miller participated in sports like soccer, she found that her skill sets translated to the field.
“I had a lot of influential teachers and coaches that were invested in helping me develop,” Miller said. “Because of that, when it came time to consider what to study in college, I thought possibly education.”
Miller selected Converse University in Spartanburg, South Carolina. “A lot of my family had attended Converse. Some of my family members helped found the university too. I knew once I did the overnight visit there that it was the place for me. Having graduated from a bigger high school, I liked the individualized attention which ultimately allowed me to thrive there,” Miller said.
Although Miller did ultimately graduate with a degree in education, after doing student teaching she realized that it was not for her. “I still wanted to influence kids, I felt very passionately about it, but I realized it would not be in a classroom,” Miller said.
“I had worked at Camp Seafarer during my college summers. I had the great experience of starting there as a camper myself at the age of five and had risen through the various counselor roles. I then experienced the administrative staff positions. It held a very special place in my life, and even my parents. They had met there as campers and got married when they were older.”
After finishing the summer at Camp Seafarer, Miller began her professional career with the YMCA in Burlington. “The skill sets in all the classes I took at Converse were very helpful in the roles I have held within the YMCA,” Miller said. “In 2012, I began in Raleigh overseeing a couple of sites for their after-school programs and day camps.” After two years, the YMCA reorganized their program, and Miller went to work for the Disney Cruise Lines to run their youth departments for almost two years.
“I missed being at the YMCA and went back in 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee, as their area coordinator. While it was a valuable experience, North Carolina was home. I knew I’d want to move back. When the opportunity presented itself at the YMCA in Charlotte, I was glad to take a job as their youth development director for three years. I spent my time overseeing camps in multiple sites,” Miller said.
Just before COVID-19 hit, Miller had accepted a job in Columbia, South Carolina, as the youth development director at the YMCA. “I had taken the position and was immediately thrust into dealing with COVID-19 regulations and what that meant for their program. It was a challenge that is for sure,” Miller said. “One of the positives that came out of my time in South Carolina was that I met my now husband, Rickey. Once we met, we immediately hit it off because we have so much in common. He’s an avid sports watcher, likes to hike and try new adventures. That was something that was important because my parents have always encouraged travel.”
The recent newlyweds had a lot to celebrate. “We were married in Burlington in my childhood church. The pastor I had growing up even came out of retirement to marry us which was special,” Miller said.
The newlyweds and their rescue dog, Duck, are excited for the newest adventure and opportunity in the Clemmons area. Miller was named as sports director this past April for the YMCA. “What I have enjoyed most in this role is developing the relationships with the volunteer coaches, participants and families. A lot of these coaches and participants come back season after season, and getting their input and feedback is very insightful. The purpose of the league is to be developmental both on and off the field or court. Seeing the progression players make at various age levels motivates me to want to make it the best experience possible for them. These are life lessons that they can apply from their time at the YMCA. I appreciate being part of their journey,” Miller said.
If Miller is not inspiring or developing others, she continues to find joy and adventure in reading and travel. “I’ve been to seven different countries with my family, and most of the states. I can’t wait to see where we go next. Aside from experiencing new things, I love that we spend that time together as a family. It’s important to all of us to focus on doing the things we enjoy most with the ones we love,” Miller said.