Caroline County’s first YMCA will celebrate its upcoming opening in a ceremony March 14 at the new facility on Library Boulevard.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (Va.-D) will be the keynote speaker. Other remarks will come from Barney Reiley, CEO of the Rappahannock Area YMCA, and Caroline County Supervisor Wayne Acors of the Madison District.
Officials will cut a ceremonial ribbon. Refreshments will be served, and visitors will have an opportunity to tour the facility. The Caroline High School ROTC will participate in the festivities.
The event, which is open to the public, begins at 1:30 p.m. Reiley said he’s looking forward to talking about the origins of the local Y branch and how it can enhance the quality of life of Caroline County residents.
“It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work and perseverance,” Reiley said, acknowledging Acors’ efforts in the process. “He made a lot of tough decisions and saw that a YMCA was needed in Caroline County.”
The March 14 event is strictly ceremonial. YMCA staff hasn’t yet nailed down when daily operations will begin.
“We’re real close” to determining a start date, Reiley said, adding that there are “a few more items to button up.”
Currently, local residents would have to travel outside the county to use a Y facility. Reiley said that the Rosner branch in Spotsylvania has a couple of hundred Caroline residents among its members.
The 42,000-square-foot facility will feature a gymnasium, swimming pool, therapy pool, wellness center, aerobics studio, spinning room, youth classrooms, kids corner and lounge, according to the Rappahannock Area YMCA’s website, www.family-ymca.org/branches.
Reiley noted the YMCA has an “open doors” financial assistance program that allows them to work with individuals and families who cannot afford the full membership fee.
The Caroline Family YMCA is located at 17422 Library Blvd., off of Route 1. Business hours will be 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. The local facility is a branch of the Rappahannock Area YMCA.
The YMCA movement began in London in 1844 under the leadership of George Williams, a volunteer. His example persists in the expansion of the Y across the globe. In the United States, early YMCA programs were run almost entirely by volunteers.
The first “student YMCA” was started in 1856 at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn. Dedicated to the leadership development of college students, student Ys remain active on the campuses of major universities such as the University of Illinois.
YMCA housing began in the 1860s to give young men moving to cities from rural areas safe and affordable lodging. Facilities included gyms, auditoriums and hotel-like rooms. In 1861, a conference with President Abraham Lincoln led to the full-scale recruitment of YMCA volunteers.
Today, the Y engages more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the United States. As the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to helping people and communities to learn, grow and thrive, the Y’s contributions are both far-reaching and intimate—from influencing the nation’s culture during times of profound social change to the individual support the Y provides an adult learning to read, according to the YMCA’s national website.
By nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving the nation’s health and well-being, and supporting and serving neighbors, the Y ensures that everyone has the opportunity to become healthier, more confident, connected and secure, according to the YMCA’s website.