Saturday morning was special at YMCA

Published 6:57 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Saturday morning I had the pleasure of witnessing a very special heart warming event  at the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA.

It was coordinated by my good friend Jimmy Holton, the YMCA’s youth sports director and one of the best offensive linemen ever to don a Bainbridge High School Bearcats uniform.

The event I am talking about was opening ceremonies for the youth basketball league, an event for 6-to-17-year-old youngsters which emphasizes both strong academic and basketball standards. It was also a day to celebrate the Kirbo Scholars, who are both great athletes and strong students.

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Mrs. Cass Kirbo, for whom the YMCA’s Cass Kirbo Tennis Center is named, has done much to support youth in Bainbridge and Decatur County through the years.

She and her husband Bruce, and the Kirbo Charitable Trust, were instrumental in bringing the YMCA to Bainbridge 25 years ago.

After the award-winning Bainbridge High School Air Force Junior ROTC color guard brought in the colors and Bainbridge First Baptist Church pastor Rev. Paul Medley offered the opening prayer, it was time for the highlight of the morning.

Jimmy, a member of coach Ralph Jones’s 1982 Bainbridge High School Bearcats State Class AAA championship team who will be celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. simply said, “let’s play ball.”

With those words, 191 youngsters poured out of the stands and gathered around  more than two dozen volunteer coaches in anticipation of their opening tip.

I commend Jimmy Holton, who went on to play for the University of Georgia Bulldogs following his outstanding Bearcats football career, for the great job he is doing with the YMCA’s youth sports programs.

He has always been a good-hearted young man and he has the best interest of the YMCA youth as one of his top priorities.

In the fall, Jimmy oversaw a very successful YMCA youth soccer program that involved large numbers of young kids.

During the past 25 years, the YMCA has been a real asset to the citizens of Bainbridge and Decatur County and I am looking forward to their 25th anniversary celebration in late March.     From youth to senior citizens and everyone in between, the YMCA does a great job of keeping the citizens of Bainbridge and Decatur County fit.

Current Interim CEO Mike Haynes and all the other YMCA CEOs through the years have kept the best interests of the members as their top priority while adhering to the highest Christian values.

Mike Haynes, Jimmy Holton, aquatics director Liv Warren and the rest of the YMCA staff continue that tradition.

Joe Crine is the sports editor of The Post-Searchlight. You can email him at