YMCA volunteers make a difference

Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Volunteers founded the YMCA in 1844, and today those that give of their time, talent and services are the backbone of the YMCA! Last year alone, more than 500,000 volunteers served in more than 2,400 YMCA communities in a wide variety of roles.  At the Bainbridge-Decatur Co YMCA, more than 200 gave of their time and talents in service to hundreds of area residents from pre-school to seniors and they keep on giving.

At the YMCA, we invest in our volunteers with area-specific training, personal feedback, and the opportunities to demonstrate leadership, which gives our volunteers confidence they can apply in other areas of community service and in their own lives. Volunteers actually form the heart and soul of the YMCA. With all the different programs, there are dozens of opportunities for volunteer service for all who wish to help in areas such as aquatics, weight training, cardio equipment, youth/teen outreach, boards and committees, Child Watch, tutors, youth coaching (soccer and basketball), summer camp counselor and Child Care.

YMCA Board President Erwin Harrell is one such volunteer that has given so much for the benefit of so many for so little. The proud father of three active children and with the help of a supportive wife over the past 20-plus years, Erwin provides endless hours of volunteer service at his church, school, in the community and the YMCA.

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As an active member of First Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon, he now serves as a Youth Sunday School Teacher and Chair of the Youth Planning Committee. Additional volunteer activities include Chair of the Grace Christian Academy School Board, Treasurer for the Library Foundation Board, Vice-Chair for the Bainbridge College Foundation Board and outgoing President at the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA. He is also a coach for the Grace Christian Academy varsity girls volleyball team and assistant coach for the varsity boys basketball team.

It goes without saying that Erwin Harrell realizes that as a volunteer, you reap personal rewards by knowing you make a positive difference through touching lives in our community that can last a lifetime. Studies show that volunteering is good for you! You will live a longer, happier life if you volunteer.

With the YMCA’s focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, Y volunteers provide men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life the resources and support they need to be healthy, confident and secure. Volunteer service will always be essential to our mission as it helps people of all ages develop and grow in spirit, mind and body. YMCA volunteer opportunities are needed in all programs in 2012. Contact the YMCA office at (229) 243-0508 or come by and complete a “volunteer application” for our staff.

Also, the local YMCA recently named its board of directors for 2012. They are: Charles Bowles, April Aldridge, Scott Ewing, Beth Briggs, Mike Kelley, Charles Tyson, Frank Loeffler, Paxton Poitevint, Randy Soden, Steve Murr, Wheat Kirbo, Joe Truhett and Leslie Harrell.

Mike Haynes is the interim CEO of the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA. He can be reached at (229) 243-0508.