The YMCA … more than just fitness!

Published 8:21am Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Editor’s Note: This column is written by Jim Holton, sports director at the YMCA.

The YMCA is a volunteer-driven organization. Volunteers are the backbone for a YMCA in helping to fulfill its vision for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y works side-by-side with our neighbors every day to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.

To do our mission work, the Y relies on volunteer support from members, donors and community leaders. We have people like April Pritchett, Pete Emmons, Randy Soden, Gary Baker, Joe Smith, Brian Carnes, Deanna Hutto and Margo Brenton who give their service as youth sports coaches. We have lifelong volunteers like Ms. Genie Whiddon, who has taught water aerobics classes for more than 20 years. We have members of our local high school Y Club that give their service as homework tutors for our Y Academy after-school program for younger kids. And, we have hundreds of donors who contribute to provide scholarships so that families that have fallen on hard times can still come to the Y to keep healthy or can afford to send their children to a safe place after school.

When involved with the Y, you help bring about lasting personal and social change. Whether you want to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve your health, or your family’s health and well-being, or give back and support your neighbors, your involvement with the Y will positively impact those in your community. With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, Y volunteers give men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life the resources and support they need to be healthy, confident, connected and secure.

Some people only think of the YMCA as a fitness center. Yes, our YMCA does have an amazing gym, a complete cardio room and an Olympic-sized indoor heated pool for our members to enjoy year round. But what many do not know is that the Y is one of the largest providers of health and wellness services in the United States. The YMCA collaborates with the hospital, library, physical therapy centers and many other organizations to help them strengthen their health and education services.

Every day, our YMCA is doing things to strengthen our community — things that often go unnoticed. We work with kids after school every day — helping them with their homework, tutoring them on their weak subjects and mentoring them as they prepare for their futures. And, with the help of our donors, we are even creating a new computer/homework lab for all of the kids, so they can have access to hundreds of learning and educational sites on the Internet that they may not have access to at home.

Our volunteers and donors make these things happen. Our Y is way more than a gym or fitness center — it is a place where lives are changed. Few things can compare to knowing you have worked to help your community. Come join our Y family as a member or volunteer, and help us continue to change lives.

Jim Holton is the sports director at the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA. He can be reached at (229) 243-0508.

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