The Alleghany Highlands YMCA in Low Moor will celebrate its 25th anniversary next Saturday with a day full of activities. The YMCA in the Highlands first opened at Boys Home of Virginia in 1992. (Gavin Dressler Photo)
LOW MOOR — The Alleghany Highlands YMCA will mark its 25th anniversary with a day-long celebration Saturday.
The local YMCA was founded in 1992 as a non-profit organization. It initially operated on the campus of Boys Home of Virginia, west of Covington.
Chris Ayers was the executive director of the YMCA at Boys Home and the board of directors was comprised of Bill James, chairman, Maeve Archibald, Ron Arritt, Barbi Barnett, Derrick Barr, Joe Carpenter, the Rev. Dr. Richard Childress, Robert Crockett, Donna Fox, Charles Hammond Jr., Leonard Jones, Tammy Stephenson, Ruth Middleton, Greg Mooney, Dusty Rhodes, Tommy Robertson, John Scott, Herb Taylor, Jennifer Unroe, Donnie Wheatley, Pat Wilhelm, Bill Withrow, Michele Wright, the late Johnny Wright and Bill Zimmerman.
A permanent facility was opened in December 2007 after funds were raised through a capital campaign.
The campaign was coordinated by Gayle Kitchen, with Jack Hammond serving as chairman of a development committee.
Other members of the committee were David Arritt, Derek Barr, Jim Chaney, Richard Claterbaugh, Richard Crowder, Jim Eller, Jimmy Garcia, the late George Goode, Mitzi Hammond, Teresa Hammond, David Oliver, Jane Newkirk, Tammy Stephenson and Bill Withrow.
The YMCA facility totals 37,000 square feet and it is located in the Alleghany Regional Commerce Center in Low Moor.
The Y offers the community a wellness center complete with cardiovascular machines, strength training equipment and a free-weight section, a walking track, a full-court gym and a full-size indoor swimming pool.
The Alleghany Highlands YMCA serves citizens of Covington, Alleghany County, Clifton Forge, Iron Gate, Bath County and a portion of Botetourt County.
Its cause is “strengthening the community.”
The YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) was founded in London, England, June 6, 1844, in response to unhealthy social conditions rising in big cities at the end of the Industrial Revolution.
The YMCA was founded with a goal of putting Christian principles into practice by developing a healthy “body, mind, and spirit.”
The first YMCA in the United States opened Dec. 29, 1851, in Boston, Mass. It was founded by Capt. Thomas Valentine Sullivan, an American seaman and missionary.
Today, the YMCA has approximately 2,700 local chapters in the U.S., with about 20,000 full-time employees and 600,000 volunteers in 10,000 communities.
Dr. Leo Mulcahy serves as the chief volunteer officer on the Alleghany Highlands YMCA board. Other board members are: Dr. William Lanehart, first vice chairman; Gary M. Wilcher, second vice chairman; James Corson, treasurer; the Rev. Stephanie Clark, Donna Craft, Martha Edwards, Teenie Kegley, Ken Kirkham, Eugene Kotulka, the Rev. Todd Lynn, Dennis McHenry, Kevin Persinger, the Rev. Tamala Preston, Dr. John Rainone, Greg Reynolds, David Rooklin, Charlie Rusmisel, Dr. Amy B. Simmons, Mary Snyder and DeAnn Stull.
Unroe, who was a member of the original board of directors 25 years ago, now serves as the YMCA’s chief executive officer. Kitchen is the member services director.
The Y currently has approximately 2,600 members and Kitchen hopes the 25th anniversary celebration will attract new members.
“We hope it brings lots of people who have not been to the Y before,” Kitchen said. The Highlands YMCA is well known for its child-care programs.
Licensed school-aged programs are offered at the Central Early-Learning Center at Mountain View Elementary School and the West Learning Center on East Pine Street in Covington.
Both sites offer programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Before- and after-school programs are also offered.
In addition, the Y provides child care through its Child Watch and Fit Kidz area while adults work out or participate in other Y activities for up to two hours per session.
The service is available free of charge for members with a family or single parent family membership and to others for a fee of $5 per day, per child.
Throughout 2017, the YMCA is offering a one-time joining fee of $25. The fee is normal $60 for families and $50 for individuals. Monthly membership fees are $50 for individuals and $67 for families.
The 25th anniversary celebration begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and ends at 6:30 p.m.
The entertainment lineup will include:
— High Voltage Cloggers, 10:30 to 11 a.m.
— Crimson River, 11 a.m. to noon.
— Garlynda’s Fancy Feet, noon to 12:30 p.m.
— Dan Yell Sun and Nathan McAllister, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
— Patsy’s Dance Studio, 1:30 to 2 p.m.
— Southern Rail Express, 2 to 3 p.m.
— Tri-County Cloggers, 3 to 3:30 p.m.
— Santana Hope and the Sidewalkers, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
— A Rally Cry, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
— The Announcers, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Children’s activities will include:
— The Little Critters Traveling Petting Zoo, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There will also be inflatables, free balloons, popcorn, fire truck tours provided by the Selma Fire Department, a basketball hoop shoot contest and a fire safety house.
There will be a three-on-three basketball tournament, a four-on-four volleyball tournament and tours of the YMCA.
Food vendors on site will be: Roller Smokehouse offering barbecue, ribs and wraps; Crave Italian Ice offering fried Oreos and chili dogs and homemade desserts from the Covington Woman’s Club and other organizations.