Franklin YMCA to celebrate 60 years
Published 11:13 am Wednesday, September 30, 2015
On Tuesday, Nov. 22, 1955, at 7:30 p.m., 40 individuals gathered at the Town Hall Court Room for the publicized purpose of discussion and decision on the formation of the YMCA in Franklin. John C. Parker Jr. called the meeting to order and stated that it would be necessary for the group to select a temporary chairman and temporary secretary for the organizational meeting, whereupon Parker and E.N. Wilkinson were elected to serve the meeting.
J. L. Camp Jr. stated to the assembly his reasons for proposing the formation of the Franklin YMCA. He believed that a religious and moral atmosphere in our play and community activities would be helpful, and pledged his support to the YMCA Organization if conducted along these lines.
The following individuals were nominated and elected as the first board of directors: Robert C. Ray, president; J.P. Councill Jr., vice president; E.N. Wilkinson, secretary/treasurer; G.E. Pillow; Florence S. Purnell; Mancha S. Holland; J.F. Sanford; W. Eldridge Smith; J.A. Nicholas; J.P. Stephenson; and E.B. Gatten Jr.
The first staff director of the Franklin YMCA was Martin Pearson. His son, Tom Pearson, succeeded him and following him was Pat Newman. Kathy Roberts is the current staff director.
This YMCA has been open almost 60 years. In July, 2009, the James L. Camp Jr. YMCA merged with the YMCA of South Hampton Roads.
In December, 1956, the Franklin YMCA had 337 members, and today it has 3,254 members.
Roberts and the rest of the YMCA are getting ready to host the “60th Anniversary Celebration,” which will be on Saturday, Oct. 17, at the PDCCC Regional Workforce Development Center, from 6:30 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased from a board member or from the front desk at the YMCA. There will be dinner, a cash bar and a silent auction. Free babysitting will also be provided by the YMCA. Proceeds will be applied to the Open Doors program, that which provides assistance with membership and programs fees. In 2014, the Franklin YMCA offered nearly $300,000 in program and membership scholarships to individuals and families in the community.
“The Y is deeply committed to strengthening our community, ensuring all people have access to opportunities to learn, grow and achieve. We believe strong communities are possible only when we invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors,” Roberts said. “Our areas of focus, or building blocks that help guide our Mission, are promoting Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.”
The Franklin YMCA is focusing a lot on the programs it offers for youth and adults, and wants to continue to do that in the coming years. “Group Power” is its newest fitness program and in January it will be add “Group Fight.”
“We do a great job serving the community. Our biggest thing is we are a nonprofit and we are really serviced center organizations for everyone in the community,” Roberts added.
Roberts also said that the Franklin YMCA is always looking for new members and other ways to help serve the community. She and the rest of the YMCA encourage nonmembers to come and hear everything they have to offer. She is also encouraging everyone in the community to attend the celebration.