YMCA lauds advocate for children, teens

Published 12:05 pm Friday, February 13, 2015

Kathleen Roberts, left, presents the YMCA’s Service to Youth Award to Amy Simms. -- SUBMITTED

Kathleen Roberts, left, presents the YMCA’s Service to Youth Award to Amy Simms. — SUBMITTED

Each year, the James L. Camp Jr. Family YMCA selects an individual who volunteers their time and talents to help the center strengthen the community through three areas of focus: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. This year’s winner, Amy Simms, served on the YMCA’s Board of Managers for six years, and was instrumental in assuring quality youth programming, according to Family Center Executive Director Kathleen Roberts.

“An amazing advocate for children and teens, Amy, along with the support of her family, has been active in sports, childcare, Teen Leaders and summer camp,” Roberts said at the award ceremony on Feb. 5 in Norfolk. “She has worked tirelessly on both Capital and Annual Giving Campaigns. (We’re) honored and proud to have such a dedicated volunteer.”

Simms has been very active within the YMCA since her childhood, but really saw her involvement with the center spike after her children were born.

“I would go to exercise and such by myself, but I became really active with my children,” she said. “They’re in every after-school program you could think of, and we’re there every day for whatever function they have that night.”

After serving two terms as a member of the board, Simms “essentially retired” from the position when her term ended in December. She served as the chairman of the events committee and handled fundraising opportunities. Most notably, Simms conducted the YMCA’s annual Christmas dance and silent auction fundraiser.

“We went out into the community to seek donations for the auction, and then the profits go right back into the center,” she said. “It’s all part of our ‘We Build People’ campaign.”

A wife and mother of two, Simms appreciates the impact that the YMCA has had on her family, as well as the rest of the Franklin and Southampton communities.

“The YMCA offers such a positive influence, promotes youth activities and allows for volunteer opportunities,” she said. “It isn’t just somewhere for the kids, either. It serves the whole family, and we’re lucky to have it in the community.

“And to the people who work there, it’s not just their job. They want to change lives. They instill the core values that we aim to instill at home, and we known when our kids go there that they’re learning those values.”

Simms has held several other volunteer and elected positions, which includes serving as president of the Parent-Teacher Association and treasurer at Southampton Middle School.

Her employer, Bronco Credit Federal Union, also keeps her active within the community.

“I’m lucky to work somewhere that promotes community service like Bronco does,” she said. “In fact, my co-worker, Brian Hedgepeth, nominated me to be on the board at the Y. He’s my inspiration.”

Simms’ husband, Lance, is also heavily involved in the community, and serves as the president of the Courtland Youth Athletic Association.

“We’re always doing whatever we can to positively affect the kids,” she said.