Henry County YMCA Celebrates Two Decades At Current Building, Plans For Future Growth
Twenty years ago, the Henry County YMCA opened the doors to its current facility at 300 Wittenbraker Avenue. Those open doors followed the cooperation of community volunteers, generous donors, and dedicated staff members. It’s this same spirit of cooperation that the Y will celebrate on Community Day, July 28.
“We want to give the entire community a chance to experience the Y at no cost,” expressed Chris Williams, Henry County YMCA’s CEO. “It’s our goal to honor the legacy of so many who made this building possible.”
Williams has fond memories of the special group of volunteers and donors who made “the new Y” possible. Fundraising experts that work with YMCAs told him the community would be capable of raising $2 million. The community instead raised $5.2 million to build a facility that seemed the YMCA would never outgrow.
On the facility’s opening day, people of all ages attended a ceremonial closing of the YMCA on Church Street and then had a parade to the new facility. A presentation at the new facility highlighted individuals who helped make the project possible.
“Dick Myers set the tone of the campaign by giving the first large gift to the project. Danny Danielson kept the campaign going with his matching donations to inspire more people to give,” Williams remembered. “We had great volunteers like Campaign Chair Mark Medley who never stopped pushing us forward to the final goal. The different campaign committee chairs, Bud Shore, Steve Weidert, Todd Thalls, Lynn Perdue, Bill Bledsoe and Neil Thornhill, to name a few, who also played a huge role in our campaign success.”
The YMCA’s new building attracted the attention of new members: membership doubled within three months. The newer building made it possible for people of all abilities to access it, with everything being on one level.
The planners of the current building could not have imagined the growth the Y has experienced, with approximately 5,000 members currently. This number does not include the number of program participants who come in without a membership for activities like youth sports, preschool, swim lessons, and day camps.
“In the next decade, our facility will need to continue to grow. Our first project we are working on is to add on multi-purpose rooms to be able to offer before and after school programs at our facility. The good news is as we grow, we have the space with five acres around the facility for future growth,” Williams shared.