HARDYSTON TWP. — Membership was climbing at the just-renovated Sussex County YMCA last summer when Associate Executive Director Corey Brown was called upon to take charge.As interim executive director, Brown smoothly managed challenges that come with a growing YMCA, keeping members happy and the branch’s finances strong. “Not only did the branch continue to hit its targets, but it exceeded expectations,” said Rob Wiggins, Sussex County district executive director of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. The Sussex County YMCA is one of seven branches of the Metro YMCA.Brown received the 2018 Rudolph N. Hawkins Staff Member of the Year award at the Metro YMCA’s annual awards dinner on April 11 at the Hanover Marriott in East Hanover.While honored, the Sussex County native said all the YMCA directors deserve to share in the recognition. “The Sussex County YMCA couldn’t be more welcoming. I’ve never been anyplace where the entrance doors are held open by members and staff as much as here,” Brown said.Since the completion of the $3.8 million expansion and renovation in January 2018, membership has grown more than 10 percent, to 10,742. The project added a full-size high school gymnasium and additional wellness space, a cycle room for spin classes, and a play zone in the lobby for children. Program space, locker rooms and bathrooms, and the welcome center were all updated.Brown joined the Sussex County YMCA leadership team in 2015, following eight years working at the Fairview Lake YMCA Camps. There, he led survival camps, oversaw weekend programs, and became marketing director.For 14 years, Brown has managed the Irish-influenced folk-rock band Emish, led by his fiddle-playing wife, Christy. Emish will perform at the Metro YMCA’s awards celebration. The couple live in Warwick, New York, with their children, 9-year-old Ashlyn, 7-year-old Lyla, and 5-year-old Cayden.About the Y:Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hackensack, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 35,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.