I was very pleasantly surprised to find such a strong and vibrant YMCA program as offered by our local Family YMCA. It is very unusual to find such a strong program in our size town. It was founded by some far-sighted citizens in 1986. It had its beginning with an after school program and some exercise classes for adults. The Y began in the small building beside the main facility that is now used for afterschool care. It is located at 2140 Newton Drive.
The Executive Director of the Covington Y is Louly Hay-Kapp. She moved from being the Associate Director to become the Executive Director in 2009. During a visit I had with her to discuss the Y and its programs, she pointed out that the YMCA does not choose an area to “plant” a Y, but the community must organize and call for the beginning of new Y. The local Y is a part the YMCA of Metro Atlanta.
The Y program seeks to bring the community together by bringing lasting change for both those involved and the community. The goal is to work every day with its neighbors to make sure everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive.
Just yesterday, the 14th annual Covington Cheerios Challenge was held. Over 1,500 folks were expected to participate. There was both a 10k and 5K Race as well as a one mile fun run. For younger children there was the Trix Tot Trot. All the events were to benefit the Covington Family YMCA’s Annual Campaign. This annual campaign enables the YMCA to provide the financial assistance to ensure that the Covington Y’s programs are available to children and families who need them the most.
The Cheerios Challenge is also a great example of cooperate support of the YMCA. Those sponsoring the Challenge were General Mills, Ginn Motors, Advantage Fire, BB&T, Covington Police, and Sunbelt Builders.
Director Hay-Kapp said the local Y has been blessed by very generous supporters. She expressed appreciation for the support of both individuals and businesses who help the Y reach towards their goal of being there for all who need the Y.
In addition to the facilities on Newton Drive there is the outdoor facility near the Airport on Highway 142. Again far sighted citizen gave a great gift to the future of their area as over a million dollars was invested In the development of this area for team sports and for various sports camps.
The membership of Covington’s Y is about 1000 units. Some of these are families, some singles, and some couples. There are about another 2000 individuals involved in the Y’s programs such as soccer, T Ball, swimming lessons and teams, plus camps.
The YMCA states its mission is to have an impact that is felt every day: “With a mission to put Christian principles into practice through programs into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all, our impact is felt when an individual makes a healthy choice, when a mentor inspires a child and when a community comes together for the common good.”
Programs for our local Y includes a Kid Zone that is available while parents or guardians are involved in the activities at the Y. There is also the After School Care for children ages 5 –14. This is licensed through Bright from the Start. It starts after school until 6:30 p.m.
There are Holiday Camps for both Winter Break and Spring Break. There are Summer Day Camps. Details can be found at ymcadaycamping.com. These day camps run from May 26 to July 30. Ages for the Day Camp program is ages 5 – 12. Paired with the Summer Day Camps is a program for teens 13-15. Called L.I.T., is where teens spend their day working with younger campers, shadowing counselors, and participating in leadership workshops.
The swimming program includes lessons for preschoolers and youth. With semi-private lessons students can be as young as 6 months. There is also the Piranha Swim Team as well. The pool can be rented for private use.
Children and their families can be a part of team sports. Team sports include soccer and T-ball. This program is dependent on volunteers that are the coaches and others key to the success of this program. You can make a different in the lives of children.
It is amazing how life seems to come full circle at times. There is a sign hanging in the exercise room where I take a class three times a week. It reads, “Why It Matters – We teach kids the value of team work through participation in youth sports.” And I know this to be true. I grew up as a part of a Y in my home town of Athens GA. It was at the Y that I learned the value of team work among many other important values. Now I can be a part of the Y here in Covington and meet some of the needs I have for my health through exercise. I can also be a part of making sure the gift I received years ago from the Y can be passed on to another generation.
For adults there are group exercise classes open to ages 13 and up. These include Pilates, Basic Training, Cardio Line Dancing, Group Cycling, L.I.F.E., Yoga, and Zumba. There is also the Coach Approach and Personal Training. There is equipment available for members to use in their training programs. Available is a functional movement assessment to match you with a program designed for you.
If you would like more information about the local YMCA stop by at 2140 Newton Drive or call th em at 770-787-3908. On line to ymcaatlanta.org and choose the selection for Covington.
B. Wiley Stephens is a retired United Methodist Minister and author who now resides in Covington