YMCA expected to open this summer in Barnwell

First Byline: 
Millie Huff - Family Y of Greater Augusta

The Family Y of Greater Augusta has announced that it will begin serving the Barnwell County area this summer as the new Family Y of Barnwell County, making this the organization's tenth community-based facility.
"We are so pleased by the welcome we've been extended to serve the Barnwell County communities and introduce traditional Y programming that will help to strengthen individuals, families and children," said Danny McConnell, President and CEO of the Family Y. "The Y is dedicated to strengthening the communities we serve through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility."
The new Y will be a regional resource serving all of the communities in Barnwell and Allendale Counties.
"We see the new YMCA as an opportunity and resource for all of our area," says Lisa Firmender, current Chairman of the YMCA Steering Committee. "Since we have never had a Y in our area, all of our citizens will now have the benefit of the life-changing programs that a Y offers, such as affordable after-school care, wellness programs and the opportunity to learn to swim."
The first steps toward opening a Family Y facility will be to set-up a temporary office space in the Southern Carolina Alliance Building in Barnwell. In the coming months, a staff person will be hired to oversee the multi-county program area and partnerships developed while the first home of the Family Y is identified and prepared. The Family Y hopes to secure a location and hold a grand opening event within the next year.
The new facility will include a wellness center, group exercise rooms, community meeting space, childcare rooms, administrative offices and outdoor recreation spaces, which could include construction of an outdoor pool when funds are raised. The Y hopes to begin by offering after-school care in elementary schools, day camps for school-aged children, wellness and aquatics.
"In order for a new YMCA to be successful in a new community, its citizens need to rally with support," says Jerry Creech, Barnwell County Council Member and the originator of the YMCA Steering Committee. "A few of the things the Y asks of the community are for volunteers, funding, and for the community to join the Y and participate in its programs. Several community partners have already been instrumental in bringing the Y to Barnwell County, including Danny Black at the Southern Carolina Alliance and the Barnwell County Council. God has blessed our community as we have come together on this effort."