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CONNECTIONS A Newsletter for Friends of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina


Celebrating 125 Years: Share Your Y Story October 27, 1888 was a special day for Share your story and get a free our YMCA. It was the day visionary leaders t-shirt. Visit saw the need for a YMCA and founded it in or the front desk at your YMCA. our community. Today, our Y includes 14 branches and three YMCA Express locations, serving seven counties. More than 144,000 members and program participants are active with our Y. In celebration of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina’s 125th Anniversary, we are asking how the Y has impacted you or your family’s life. Y members, past members, and others from the community are invited to share why you come to, work for, volunteer with, or give to the Y. You can submit your story online at or at the front desk. Here are what a few people of all ages have to say: “The Y to me means good people. I see people in their 80s and 90s exercising and acting like much younger people. I see many people who have faithfully exercised after operations and accidents, doing all they could to get healthy again. I met people who gave support to my family and me in our troubles and have celebrated with us in our successes. I feel I found another family to enjoy. They have helped me keep going in good times and bad times. These things make me feel thankful for the Y’s many blessings.” - Judy at the Stokes Family YMCA “I can go to daycare at the YMCA. It is very fun. I take swimming lessons at the YMCA. It is fun swimming at the YMCA. It is very fun at the YMCA.” - Ryan (as told to his mom) at the Jerry Long Family YMCA


“I come to the Y because it allows me an opportunity to focus on my own wellness. With three children under the age of 3, I rarely have a thought to myself, but the awesome childcare here allows me that opportunity, as well as provides a fun place for my kids to play.” - Cassi at the Yadkin Family YMCA

WINTER 2013/14

CONNECTIONS | A Newsletter for Friends of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina



As 2013 draws to a close, our Y is fiscally healthy and serving more people than ever before. This year we celebrated our 125th anniversary and also launched a strategic plan, “Moving Our Mission Forward” to help ensure the Y’s success for the next 125 years. In the coming months, hundreds of volunteers will work together in the Annual Giving Campaign to support the work of the Y making our community stronger.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Brenner Children’s Hospital and William G. White, Jr. Family YMCA recently hosted a grand opening for Brenner FIT at the YMCA. The healthy living education center is housed onsite at the Y and includes a teaching kitchen and learning space to provide health education, research, and outreach for the community and families.

After many years of planning, Brenner FIT at the YMCA recently opened its doors at the William G. White, Jr. Family YMCA. This partnership with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Brenner Children’s Hospital will bring people into the Y who might otherwise never visit and provide them with the tools they need to help their families live healthier. Looking forward to 2014, the Innovation Quarter YMCA will open in downtown WinstonSalem. The Y will continue to be a foundation for healthy living in a vibrant, innovative area. This is an exciting period of growth for our Y. Thank you for your continued support. Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!


Linda Wood, Board Chair

For more information about Brenner FIT at the YMCA, Kohl’s Family Collaborative classes, and registration, please contact Sara Ebbers at saebbers@ or visit www.

Brenner FIT (Families In Training) is directed by Dr. Joseph Skelton, an associate professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest Baptist Health and a nationally recognized obesity expert. Community members are invited to visit Brenner FIT at the YMCA for hands-on cooking classes, parenting seminars, health and nutrition programs, and much more.

FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: PLAYGROUND BECOMES A REALITY AT THE FULTON FAMILY YMCA Unstructured, child-directed play has been proven to help kids develop physically, socially and cognitively, yet today’s kids have less time and fewer opportunities to play than any previous generation. Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and national non-profit KaBOOM! are working to solve that problem and recently awarded the Fulton Family YMCA a $15,000 Let’s Play Community Construction Grant. The build took place November 15, 2013 with the help of more than 200 local volunteers. The grant is part of Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. “At the Y, we know how critical active play is to youth development,” said Richard Daniels, Vice President of Operations at the Fulton Family YMCA. “We are so grateful for the generous grant and the hard work of volunteers that made this beautiful new playground possible for our community.” Photo credit: David Clark

Curt Hazelbaker, President and CEO

Interested in volunteer opportunities at the Y? Visit or call your local branch.

WINTER 2013/14



The Hill Toppers Cycle class at the Robinhood Road Family YMCA is about much more than breaking a sweat. “The people and camaraderie keep us coming back,” says Mike Petree, a class participant. Most of the 80 Y members on the “active” class list would agree. The class meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m., but the bonds last beyond the weekly classes.

Growing up in Wilkes County, Dennis McNeil didn’t have many opportunities to participate in organized sports or other activities, but he was a part of his local YMCA. Dennis participated in the after school programs, played in Saturday basketball and football tournaments, and even once spent the night at the Y during a sleepover filled with movies, basketball and taking turns on the trampoline.

“We have a Sunshine Committee that passes around cards for birthdays and anniversarys, or will reach out if one of our members suffers a loss,” says Art Duncan, the Hill Toppers Cycle Instructor for the Y. “We’re a family.”

Ian Prior (left), Art Duncan, class instructor

Hill Toppers Cycle Class

This fall, the class gathered to celebrate a special Photos provided by Y member and class participant Charles Plitt birthday. Ian Prior, a longtime class participant, turned 90. A Scotland native, Ian says the class helps him stay active. “The class keeps me well and helps me maintain momentum. It’s contagious. There is physical and emotional support. This is a fun group and a fun work out. We all inspire each other.”

Visit to view group exercise classes at your YMCA.


Download our New Mobile App Find group exercise and pool schedules, register for programs, hear about closings/cancellations, scan your membership card, and more! Available free on iPhone, iPad, and Android. Visit or search YMCA of Northwest North Carolina in your phone’s app store.

“I remember very good folks involved with the YMCA. You made great friendships.” Dennis got married, had children of his own, and again got involved with his local Y. He first joined the Central Y (now William G. White, Jr. Family YMCA) in the early 1980s, then became a Metro member and served on the Kernersville Family YMCA Board of Management. Dennis has been invested in the Kernersville community for 25 years, growing his business as a State Farm Insurance Agent. He also saw the impact of the Y firsthand when his son played youth basketball and today, through his daughter’s involvement in Youth and Government. He says, “It’s a great place to go because of the family environment. My kids see other adults setting a good example by living healthy.” His wife Kathy also saw the impact of the Y firsthand as a former speech therapist in the school system, where many YMCA After School programs take Kathy and Dennis McNeil place and scholarships provided by the Y’s Annual Giving Campaign support local children. The McNeil family joined the Heritage Club when it was first created. “It was an easy decision. The Y has been a part of my life in a lot of different ways – all of them were good. It’s an opportunity to give back.” “The Y is the glue that holds our community together. People may see the building, but I don’t think they realize how far the Y’s roots stretch and how many people it reaches. If the Y weren’t here, people don’t realize what a hole it would leave.”

To share your YMCA Heritage Club story or learn more about it, contact Joan Marie Belnap at 336 777 6225 or

YMCA of NWNC Connections Winter 2013  
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