In the Spotlight:
WHAT: Covington Family Y
WHERE: 2140 Newton Drive
HOURS: Monday to Thursday 5:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Friday 5:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday 12:30 - 6 p.m.
CALL: (770) 787-3908
Growing from a handful of volunteers to more than 250, the Covington Y has come a long way.
In 1982, the YMCA started a few sporting programs in Covington. As the programs grew over the years, Covington residents began petitioning and raising money to build a facility for the organization. In 2000, a facility was built on Newton Drive, where it became a mainstay for members of the community.
With the facility in place, the Y would eventually grow to offer membership facilities, an outdoor pool, a host of programs (wellness, sports and aquatics) and child care (summer programs and day camps).
"The community has been so good to the Y over the years," said Executive Director Louly Hay-Kapp, who was interim director for the Y for a couple of years before taking on the executive director role earlier this year. "We wouldn't be here without them."
In 2007, the volunteer-driven organization received a donation of 26 acres, located on Ga. Highway 142, allowing it to build an outdoor facility to accommodate its sporting programs like soccer, its largest sports program. The facility houses children's sports, though the organization plans to eventually introduce adult sports as well.
"The Y offers something for all ages," said Hay-Kapp. "Nobody is turned away from the Y due to an inability to pay, which is a big part of our mission - the inclusivity."
That mission of inclusivity is also the reason the organization recently changed its name from the YMCA to the Y. Additionally, they also offer a payment assistance program for low-income families. Because the organization is not tax-supported, they rely mostly on contributions from companies and individuals.
At any given moment, each of the Y's departments is constantly in the midst of organizing an event. The events can include group exercise programs and sporting events.
Every year in April, the organization hosts its major event: the Cheerios Challenge 10K run, 5K run and 1-mile Fun Run for children. The event was a big hit as more than 1,000 runners and 2,000 spectators participated.
"We're grateful for the members in the community - Covington is such a special place," said Hay-Kapp. "When you come into our Y, you see a lot of familiar faces. That's what makes this Y different from the others."