COVID-19 Updates - Phase 3 - July 1st 2020 - More Details


Franklin County Family YMCA

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Lauren Acker

Lauren Acker

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Posted by on in YMCA News

We want to thank you for your support as we move through our reopening process. We're happy to announce that we will be moving into Phase 3 on Wednesday, July 1st, 2020!

We're a step closer to normal, but still have temporary regulations in order to ensure the safety of our members, staff, and community. Below are a list of those regulations for each location.

Phase 3 also kicks off our 100 Days of Summer Challenge! Ask a member service staff for details! 




Monday-Friday 6:00AM-7:00PM

Saturday 7:00AM-3:00PM

Sunday 1:00PM-5:00PM

The following procedures/amenities will be ADDED/CONTINUED during phase 3:

  • Mandatory temperature checks upon arrival
  • Mask must be worn by staff and members when not working out
  • Locker Rooms will open back up on July 6, 2020 (to finish painting)
  • Family Rooms will be open July 1, 2020
  • Studio 1 will be used for Yoga (capped at 5 participants)
  • Location Capacities:
    • Program pool-13
    • Lap Pool-30
    • Flex Gym-6
    • Studio 1&2-(6) includes instructor (right now we will only be opening studio 1)
    • Cardio Area-29
    • Weight Room- 13
  • Aquatics: Family swim - (kids 13 and under) starts July 1, 2020 - 12:00PM Monday through Friday and is allowed all day Saturday and Sunday. Classes - program pool participation will increase to 13 participants and 30 for lap pool classes!
  • Basketball: solo shooting or family (covid family counts) time only. Allowed any time there is not a class in session.
  • New Classes: (Starting July 1, 2020)
    • Monday's - 8:00 AM Y-Rev with Tammy - a mix of drums and cardio
    • Tuesday's - 8:00 AM Fit and Fab followed by 9:00 AM Yoga with Mittie
    • Wednesday's - 8:00 AM Yoga-Lates with Tammy
    • Friday’s – 9:00 AM Cycle with Ashley


The following procedures/amenities will NOT be used during phase 3:

  • Child Watch
  • Saunas
  • Reservations
  • Visitors/Reciprocity




Monday-Thursday 8:00AM-7:00PM

Friday 9:00AM-5:00PM

Saturday 8:00AM-2:00PM



The following procedures/amenities will be ADDED/CONTINUED during phase 3:

  • Mandatory temperature checks upon arrival
  • Mask must be worn by staff and members when not working out
  • No reciprocity or guests allowed
  • Access Advantage will return! Fees for new/returning users: $35 initial setup fee, $20 replacement card fee, $10 annual maintenance fee.
  • Basketball: solo shooting or family (covid family counts) time only. Allowed any time there is not a class in session.
  • Pickleball: One on One only. Will be limited to 1 court that can be scheduled for the day prior. This will be when there are no classes taking place in the gym. If there are no basketball players 2 nets may be set up. The non scheduled net must leave if basketball players come in. You may only sign up for a court - not a different name with the same players for additional hours. Pickleballs will no longer be provided by the YMCA. We will sell the current stock or keep them for the next tournament.
  • Tennis: One on One only.
  • Racquetball: 2 players only. Space restrictions will not allow for more.

The following procedures/amenities will NOT be used during phase 3:

  • Child Watch
  • Reservations

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Posted by on in YMCA News



It is with some sadness but also hope for what the future holds that we are officially announcing the “closure” of the Ferrum branch of the Franklin County Family YMCA. Ferrum College plans to utilize the “fitness center” to further develop and grow their Health and Human Performance program which means that they will need to utilize the space fully. This provides an excellent opportunity for students of the program and Ferrum College. The Y is immensely supportive of anything that helps make Ferrum a stronger and more vibrant institution.

The good news is that YMCA members will still have access to the facility for the next 12 months and potentially beyond. This is in part because of Ferrum’s understanding of the value to the community health and wellness represents but also as a way to utilize the growing Health and Human Performance program as a tool to provide those wellness opportunities. The benefit to students will also be a level of professional experience that they can take into the job market.

For any questions about the immediate operations of the fitness center you can contact Karen Carpenter at Ferrum College. She will be serving as general manager for the facility.

We are immensely grateful to Ferrum for partnering to make the Y on campus a possibility since 2012 and are excited to continue to collaborate with the College to improve the health and lives of Franklin County Residents.



Kevin McAlexander


Franklin County Family YMCA

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Rocky Mount, Va. (May 21, 2020) – In accordance with phase one guidelines, the Franklin County Family YMCA is now offering outdoor, instructor lead group exercise classes. Since shutting its doors mid-March due to COVID, the YMCA has been working hard to keep members healthy by making video content and exercise routines available on their website and social media platforms.

When talks of phasing back into normal operating hours began, Y staff got busy preparing for social distancing and occupant limitations that they anticipated may be set forth by the governor. “We were hopeful that we’d be able to open at the beginning of the first phase as long as we spaced machines, calculated occupancy and took the proper precautions. Although we still aren’t able to let members use any indoor facilities at our branches, we are excited to be able to offer outdoor group exercise,” says Andrea Fansler, Smith Mountain Lake Branch Director.

The Y started offering outdoor group exercise on May 15th at both the Rocky Mount and Smith Mountain Lake locations. These classes are being held Monday through Saturday and include bootcamp, cycling, yoga, and Zumba.

“We are so excited to be able to offer group exercise classes again! We believe exercise is foundational to our health: spirit, mind and body. We are taking all precautions necessary, including spacing everyone 10 feet apart, using little to no equipment and sanitizing any equipment used both before and after classes. We hope you come and see what we have to offer and hope to open the doors to the YMCA soon,” says Abigail Jamison, Fitness Director at the Rocky Mount YMCA.

Class sizes are limited to 10 people including the instructor.  During the early phases of reopening, the Y will not be able to have visitors or members of other Y’s participating in outdoor group exercise classes.

The outdoor group exercise schedules can be viewed on the Y’s website or on the Franklin County Family YMCA Facebook page. For any questions about this or other fitness programs please contact Abigail Jamison (Rocky Mount) at  or Andrea Fansler (Smith Mountain Lake) at

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Rocky Mount, Va. (May 20, 2020) – The Franklin County Family YMCA and Franklin County Public Schools teamed up to work closely in an effort to support critical members of the workforce and provide safe child-care alternatives for their families.  Camp Hope began serving Franklin County families with children in grades K - 5 on April 6th and since then eligible students have participated in an assortment of activities and instruction.

Staff assisted all children in not just completing online assignments provided by FCPS, but taking one on one time to make sure all lessons were fully understood. “We didn’t just want to make sure the assignments were done. It was important to all staff that each child understood the information. We’re happy to say that each child passed their designated grade with flying colors,” says Jamie Stump, YMCA School-Age Childcare Coordinator.

Camp Hope also provided physical education and fun activities, all while following strict spatial distancing requirements and group size limitations. Some of the activities included cleaning up flower beds at Rocky Mount Elementary, planting new flowers, multiple cooking projects and even music lessons. In addition to scheduled activities participants received free USDA-approved breakfast, lunch and snack.  “Having fun and keeping the children safe was one of our main priorities,” says Stump.

The summer session of Camp Hope will begin May 26th, 2020. Due to limited capacity for this program, eligibility will be prioritized, therefore, for now, we encourage families who are not “essential personnel” to remain at home to care for their children. This will help ensure spaces for essential personnel in need of childcare as they directly support the COVID-19 response effort.  

Essential personnel are the first-responders, health care workers, and others who help maintain the health, safety, and welfare of the Commonwealth's residents. Here are examples of essential personnel:

  • Providers of healthcare including, but not limited to, workers at clinics, hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), nursing homes, long-term care and post-acute care facilities, respite houses, designated agencies and emergency medical services;
  • Essential government employees including public health employees and employees who oversee or support all the other functions included in this list;
  • Criminal justice personnel including those in law enforcement, courts, and correctional services;
  • Police, firefighters, and military;
  • Employees who operate shelters or other essential services for adults, children and families;
  • Employees who ensure continuity of basic services such as electricity/gas, water, internet, plumbing, sanitation and garbage removal;
  • Employees who ensure essential transportation including public transportation, trucking and health care-related transportation;
  • Employees who ensure essential food, pharmaceutical and supplies access (e.g., grocery, food bank, feeding programs, drug store, hardware store); and
  • Staff and providers of child care and education services (including custodial and kitchen staff and other support staff) for children of other essential personnel.

“We care about all of our families and hope that you are staying well during this unprecedented time. Our hope is to be back serving ALL of our families as soon as possible,” says Stump.

For questions about this program or to register, please contact Jamie Stump, School-Age Childcare Coordinator at

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Rocky Mount, Va. (April 8, 2020) – There is a severe blood shortage across the country due to blood drive cancelations from the COVID-19 outbreak. The American Red Cross has seen approximately 5,000 blood drives canceled nationwide, along with an estimated 170,000 pints of blood being lost because of the cancelations.

A representative from American Red Cross reached out to the YMCA about setting up a blood drive for May of 2020. Once it became apparent that the new virus was going to have a major impact on blood drives and donations Andrea Fansler, Smith Mountain Lake Branch Director, reached out to set up three separate emergency drives. Both emergency drives, the first held March 19th and the second on April 1st, exceeded expectations and even had to turn people away, all of which registered for the April 20th emergency blood drive.

The April 20th blood drive will be held at the Smith Mountain Lake location, 293 Firstwatch Dr., Moneta, VA 24121, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Kevin McAlexander, CEO of the Franklin County YMCA, said, “The Y was prepared and eager to partner with the Red Cross. This is what the Y does in order to help serve communities.”

Most YMCA’s across the country are closed, including Franklin County, but are continuing emergency operations with other organizations such as these.

“We are here in the community doing what we can to assist during the coronavirus crisis. At our April 1st drive, where more than half of the donors were YMCA members, we exceeded our goal of 22 units and managed to collect 44! If you are healthy and able please consider donating blood on April 20th,” said Fansler.

Fansler explained the Red Cross will conduct the blood drive inside the YMCA facility, using the gymnasium to ensure adequate spacing. In a press release from the Red Cross, minimal Red Cross staff will participate in the blood drive and precautions include taking the temperature of staff and donors before entering the drive, spacing beds to follow social distancing and increasing measures for disinfecting surfaces.

“Spread the love, please give blood,” says Teresa Shelton, lake local and March 19th donor.

For more information or to set up an appointment for April 20th call Andrea Fansler at (540)721-9622.


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Posted by on in YMCA News

Dear YMCA Community,

Thank you for all the positive messages of support and encouragement over these last few weeks. We are grateful to have such a strong Y family – supporting each other and our YMCA. We have all done the best we can to navigate the almost daily changes with Covid-19. Given all the uncertainty and the stress that comes with these challenges, it has never been more critical to stay together, even as we follow the guidelines from officials to keep each other and our community healthy. Based on continued recommendations from the CDC, state and local health officials and area health departments, we must extend our temporary suspension of all YMCA facility access and programs.

At the Y, everything we do is guided by our commitment to nurture the potential of children, support your health and well-being, and provide support for our neighbors, participants and members. We’re so much more than a gym. And here, at the Y, you’re much more than just a facility member. At our YMCA, you’re a part of our purpose and you’re a partner in strengthening the foundations of our community.

The Y has been a leader in Franklin County for over 20 years, teaching thousands of children to swim, providing care for thousands more children during after school hours, and providing life changing opportunities for seniors and families in our area. The positive impact of these programs serves to strengthen our county, both now and for generations to come.

As a member of our Y community, I’d ask you to consider what you should be doing during this time, and what it means to be a part of our YMCA. The Y has had to adapt and make difficult decisions like many non-profits during the last few weeks. The choice to shut down operations, though the socially responsible and right thing to do, was a difficult one. Especially for an organization that works every day to bring the community together. It is going to present many challenges in the meantime and when we reopen. But by standing together, those challenges can and will be met.

Stay with Us – Your YMCA Membership Choice
As one YMCA Community, we ask that you stay with us. Your membership helps support our efforts and ensures our Y remains strong and poised to meet the critical needs in our community during this unprecedented time. In the past week, we’ve partnered with organizations to do emergency blood drives, provide advocacy for other non-profits, working with local health care agencies, creating and providing virtual exercise and activities to keep families engaged.

Keep your membership active. Keeping your membership active will help ensure we remain fully focused on our efforts to support our community and adjust quickly when called upon. If you choose to keep your membership active, please know how grateful we are for your willingness and partnership. You don’t need to take any action to retain this status.
Convert your membership to a donation. If you wish to have your membership dues converted to an ongoing, tax-deductible donation during our temporary suspension of facility access and programs, please email us to setup the donation. You’ll continue to be drafted monthly and when we resume normal operations, your donation will end. At that time, we’ll convert you back to regular membership. Again, we are deeply grateful for your willingness and partnership.
If you wish to place your membership on hold during our temporary suspension of services, we understand. Reach out to our membership team to put your membership on hold.

We realize you have to make the best decision for you and your family. On behalf of everyone in the community counting on our Y in the weeks ahead, thank you for your strong consideration to stay with us. Our community needs you.

There is much more work ahead for our Y. Moving forward, we’ll share updates and additional resources with you as well as keep you informed on our efforts to support our community.

As our Y responds to Franklin County’s needs during this unprecedented time, we stand ready to face the challenges. It is with hope and gratitude we continue in service to our community. It is inspiring what we can accomplish when we all come together.

Stay well. Stay Healthy.

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Posted by on in YMCA News

Dear Franklin County Family YMCA community,

The safety and well-being of our members, staff, participants, and our community are always a priority for us. As you know, the state regulations ordered by Governor Northam, regarding the size of groups that can be in a wellness facility have been changed. We, of course, will comply in an effort to do our part during this unprecedented time. These changes have made it impossible for us to continue operations and we will “hit the pause button” and temporarily close our locations and childcare programming effective today 3/18/20 at 9pm in Rocky Mount and 8pm at SML.

We understand that closing our facilities and programs will impact many members of our community but we all need to work together to ensure the health of those around us. The Y will offer free virtual exercise classes online to help keep everyone active during this time. Both Les Mills and MOSSA are offering a variety of amazing workouts!

As one of the leading nonprofits, having been in operation for over 20 years, the Y has been here for Franklin County through lots of ups and downs. We are so grateful for your membership and support during this difficult time. If keeping your membership active during this short term closure will cause your family undue financial hardship please reach out to Jessica Thomason ( our Branch Director and Membership Director to make arrangements regarding your membership.

We realize how important it is right now for the Y to live its mission and we are actively developing ways to be of service to our community during this difficult time.

We ask that everyone follow the CDC guidelines in this situation and take care of themselves and the health of their friends and family. YMCA staff looks forward to reopening and providing you with the same great facilities, classes and services you have come to expect.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this difficult and challenging situation.


With Gratitude,

Kevin McAlexander


Franklin County Family YMCA


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At the Franklin County Family YMCA, we take your health and safety seriously. As a precaution in response to the COVID-19, we've postponed and rescheduled some upcoming programs and events. 


Below are the changes that you should be aware of:


Services Postponed (1 Week):

Group Exercise

Child Watch


Paid Programs Postponed: 

Gymnastics (New start dates: Rocky Mount - April 1st, SML - April 2nd)

Tumbling (New start dates: Rocky Mount - April 1st, SML - April 2nd)

Volleyball (Resumes April 17th)

Rock Steady Boxing (Postponed 2 weeks)

Swim Lessons (Postponed 1 Week)


The Y team will be deep cleaning all facilities and at the end of the week will come together to reassess our scheduled programming to keep our members and staff healthy. 


Rescheduled Events: 

Indoor Tri at the Y - Date TBD

Night on Bourbon Street Steel Drum Concert - Rescheduled to September 19, 2020


Our wellness centers and pool will be open regular hours. Please do not come to the Y if you are sick.


Our preschool program and out of school fun club will open at 6am on Monday 3/16/20. We ask parents to not bring any child who has a fever or cold and flu symptoms. We will take children's temperatures to ensure the safety of all participants.


Cleanliness is always a priority for the Y but we have doubled efforts to keep our spaces clean. This includes treating surfaces with antimicrobial cleaning products.


We understand that people may worry about the new Coronavirus. In today's connected world, an outbreak anywhere can be a risk everywhere. Risk is dependent upon exposure. 


Basic hygiene is the best thing you can do. Everyone should always take these simple daily precautions to prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses: 

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. 
  • Sneeze and cough into tissues or your elbow.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay at home when you are sick. 
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean surfaces with disinfectant. 


This is a rapidly changing situation and we will be monitoring it and making changes as new information becomes available. We are so grateful to our members and participants for your understanding!


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Submitted by Kris Landrum Mar 4, 2020

Franklin News Post 

New early childhood education registration process introduced during recruitment fair

A new opportunity for parents to more easily access registration to early childhood education and/or daycare for their young children will kick off in Franklin County with a recruitment fair on Saturday, March 14 at the Rocky Mount Farmer’s Market.

Called Smart2Start, the program offers “one-stop shopping” for parents to apply to enroll their children for the 2020-21 school year using a single form for public schools, early education programs and private providers.

Parents can visit the farmer’s market between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to learn more about the program and fill out the application to enroll their children in Franklin County pre-K, the YMCA Land of Wonder, private child care or Head Start and Early Head Start through STEP, Inc. (Solutions That Empower People).

Items needed for enrollment include birth certificate, proof of address, recent income source, insurance information and immunization records.
Smart2Start was created by United Way of Roanoke Valley as a means to streamline the application process for parents who previously had to fill out a separate application for each provider.

The application will enter a portal where United Way and its partners can evaluate the family’s needs and preferences to find matches that have open spots at nearly 150 providers in Botetourt, Franklin, Craig and Roanoke counties and in Roanoke and Salem.

Community partners also will be available during the recruitment fair with information about resources available to families. In addition, there will be face painting, balloon animals, age-appropriate games, treats and giveaways.

Signing up through Smart2Start is free. An online application is available at
STEP’s Head Start/Early Head Start programs include child developmental screenings and assessments, health assessments, family support, community engagement, qualified staff and full-day services, along with early childhood education.

Options include home-based services for pregnant mothers, infants and toddlers and classroom options for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.


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Posted by on in YMCA News

Rocky Mount, Va. (January 6th, 2020) At the last meeting of the Franklin County Family YMCA’s Board of Directors they took a moment to recognize departing board members for their service to Franklin County through the Y.

The Y, like most non-profits, relies on a volunteer board of community members to provide leadership, fiduciary responsibility and advocacy.

Mary Helm, who has served on the Y board since September of 2015, distinguished herself by being an advocate for the Y in the community. She not only was a member of the Y board as a whole but also served on the nominating committee.

Matt Huff joined the Y board in 2014 and has served on numerous committees, advocated for the Y, been an avid member of the Y and even served as the president of the Y board. Matt works in the area of commercial real estate with Poe and Cronk.

Jill Hume, CFO of Interactive Design Group, an architecture firm in the Roanoke area, joined the YMCA board in 2016 and has served on its fundraising and finance committees during that time. She helped plan several YMCA fundraisers and lent her considerable financial knowledge to the Y during her time on the board.

“We are so grateful to Mary, Matt and Jill! Their work on the Y board has helped change lives in Franklin County and made a lasting impact in the community we serve,” says Kevin McAlexander CEO of the Franklin County Family YMCA.

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Rocky Mount, Va. (January 3, 2020) – Food insecurities affect more people than we know. Hunger exists in every state, county, and community in the United States and the Franklin County YMCA is working hard to make a difference in ours.

This month, the Y is sponsoring a Friends and Family Food Drive. As part of the food drive, anyone wishing to join the Y in January can do it for free with a donation of at least three canned goods. Current YMCA members are also encouraged to donate food items and, when referring new members to join, will receive their next month free.

“You can help feed the hungry! We are asking Friends and Family of the Y to drop off non-perishable food for our canned food drive between now and the end of January,” says Jessica Thomason, Rocky Mount Branch Director, “We know people are going to join the Y for the amazing facilities and great programs. So, it was a great time to make a difference in our community while offering great perks such as no joining fee or first month fees for new members and a free month for current members who refer their friends to join the Y!”

Drop boxes are located in the lobby at each location of the Franklin County Y – Rocky Mount, Smith Mountain Lake, and Ferrum College. Food items needed include spaghetti sauce/pasta, peanut butter, jelly, canned/boxed soups and meals, canned vegetables/fruits, tuna fish, and other canned meats. Donations will be given to our local food banks and soup kitchens.  With support, community members and the Y can help hundreds of families.

For more information on this and other membership programs at the Franklin County YMCA please contact Jessica Thomason at (540)489-9622 or



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Rocky Mount, Va. (December 12, 2019) – Along with offering 2nd Grade Swimming, a program that teaches important water safety skills to every 2nd grader in Franklin County, the Y now offers swim lessons as a part of the curriculum at the Y’s Land of Wonder Preschool. These lessons are being offered to all preschoolers, ages 3 to 5 years old. Each class participates in 8 sessions in the fall and then another 8 sessions in the spring.


“Swimming is a lifelong skill and we believe that starting them as young as possible gives them the advantage of being prepared.” says Hope Vaccaro, Childcare Director of the Franklin County Family YMCA’s Land of Wonder Preschool. “Many of our Y kids start lessons in the preschool, then continue on and advance their skills at Y Summer Camp once they are school-age. By the time they're in middle school, they have been given the skills needed in order to be a confident and safe swimmer!”


Each group has seven to ten preschoolers and two groups go per morning with a total of 14-20 children, split between two instructors, participating in a 45 minute lesson. The fall sessions have been completed, but lessons will resume in March when preschoolers will complete eight more sessions.


“These swim lessons, not only teach water safety skills and confidence, but also open up opportunities for the future. The Y’s Riptide Swim Team is mostly made up of children who got started in the Y’s swim lessons at a young age and have grown a love for water and for competing. Swim team participants also have the opportunity to compete for scholarships as they work their way up through school,” says Kameron Kitts, Aquatics Director and head coach for the Riptides swim team.


If you’re interested in learning more about the Land of Wonder Preschool please contact Hope Vaccaro at (540)489-9622 or For more information on this and other aquatics programs at the Franklin County YMCA please contact Kameron Kitts at (540)489-9622 or

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Rocky Mount, Va. (November 13, 2019) – On Saturday, November 2nd 12 swimmers on the Riptide Swim team attended their first swim meet of the season. The meet was held at the Bedford Family YMCA against teams from Alleghany, Altivista and Bedford.  Two swimmers qualified for the Upper Southeast Regional YMCA Meet, Landon Akers qualified in the 100 Breast and the 100 Fly; Brayden Shirley qualified in the 50 fly and he cut time in all three of his individual events. 

On Saturday, November 9th The Riptides took eight swimmers to Eden competing in the Veteran’s Day Invitational.  Overall the team came in sixth out of seven teams.  The Riptide boys came in third overall and the girls came in fifth.  Landon Akers, Chase Davis, Alec Dow and Brayden Shirley cut time in all three events while competing. 

"The team has been working very hard in the pre-season practices, I am glad that the athletes are seeing that work pay off,” says Head Coach and Aquatics Director for the Franklin County Family YMCA, Kameron Kitts,  “we have several kids who are close to Regional times, it will be exciting to see how many qualify this year."

The next meet is being held on November 16th at the Danville Family YMCA for their Pilgrim Plunge Invitational attending this year is Eden, Southside, Martinsville, Altivista and Danville YMCAs. For more information on this and other aquatics programs at the Franklin County YMCA please contact Kameron Kitts at (540)489-9622 or

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Rocky Mount, Va. (October 30, 2019) – The Y is partnering with Goodwill to host their Community School-to-Work Transition Program this school year! Goodwill’s School-To-Work program is a prevocational program that combines skills-building with real-world, on-the-job training and wage earning.  The career pathway is designed for high school students receiving special education as they transition into the workforce.

This program, and the community partnerships involved, ensures these young adults receive the work experience and skill sets that allow them to gain employment in the future. Students also receive education credits towards their high school diploma for taking part in this program.

”We are so thankful for the helpful and always smiling volunteers from Goodwill! Mornings at the Rocky Mount Y provide an excellent environment for these young adults to gain valuable work experience and self-confidence because our members and staff are engaging and volunteers receive praise for their hard work every day," says Victoria Brown, Ferrum YMCA Director and volunteer program coordinator.

The Y and Goodwill also partnered over the summer on the Summer Pre-Employment Transition Program where participants took care of the playground up the hill from the Y. Together, The Y and Goodwill, re-mulched the playgrounds and fixed a playground obstacle to be safer for use.

“The Community School-to-Work Transition Program students are currently enjoying developing job skills while helping at the local YMCA! The students look forward to coming to the YMCA every day and feel appreciated by the staff and community daily,” says Crystal Wade, Goodwill Pre-Employment Specialist.

Upon successful completion of the School-to-Work program, individuals will be referred to supportive employment, occupational training or job placement. The Franklin County Family YMCA is always seeking opportunities to positively impact young adults in the community; the partnership with Goodwill perfectly aligns with the Y mission.


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Rocky Mount, Va. (October 18, 2019) – October is national bullying prevention month. Bullying is a key social issue that impacts many kids and their ability to reach their full potential. Whether the bullying is physical, verbal or online, those who are bullied can suffer negative effects, including depression, poor performance in school, physical illness and increased risk for suicide.

Everyone involved with young people has a role to play in preventing this damaging behavior. One way the Franklin County YMCA’s SAFE before and after school program helps prevent bullying is by making sure staff and students display qualities of an “upstander” – someone who recognizes when bullying is happening and safely works to stop it.

Promoting positive behaviors like being an upstander can be part of the solution to bullying. At the Franklin County Y, modeling positive behaviors is foundational to everything we do. Our core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility form the roots of our work, helping young people become the changemakers our communities need to become strong. “A big part of what we do in our after school program is make young leaders. A huge part of that is to give them guidance on how to treat others and how important it is to be kind.” Jamie Stump, Childcare Coordinator.

YMCAs nationwide work hard every day to provide safe spaces for children to grow and thrive. This is part of our commitment to helping develop and activate young people so they can transform communities today and in the future.

Three actions anyone can take to prevent bullying is to treat others kindly and with respect, interrupt and report bullying incidents, and show support for the bullied person. Learn how to support victims of bullying by visiting To learn more about Franklin County YMCAs SAFE before and after school program contact Jamie Stump at (540)489-9622 or

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Rocky Mount, Va. (July 18th 2019) –The Franklin County Family YMCA and Goodwill teamed up to do improvements to a local playground and give young people valuable work experience. The six week program was a part of Goodwill’s Pre-employment Transition Services and had 5 local high school students work with Y staff to mulch, repair and improve the community playground located near the Y on Technology Drive. Despite the warm temperatures the group was determined to see the project through to completion and were very proud of their accomplishments.

"It was an incredible experience to work with this program and accomplish our goal. Together, we made a difference in our community and bonded through service," says Victoria Brown Branch Director with the YMCA.

Students in the program also have the opportunity to take part in classroom sessions where they learned how to find employment opportunities in their community, perform well in a job interview, and earn an income during the summer by serving local organizations. 

This partnership came about when Goodwill reached out to the community looking for locations for the program to serve. The Y contacted Goodwill to meet and further discuss the opportunity. After a quick meeting they began working towards making the program a reality.

After the success of the program the Y and Goodwill have already started planning for next year’s project and look forward to working together again. 


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Rocky Mount, Va. (JULY 5, 2019) – By LEIGH PROM at Franklin News Post 

While summer is a great time for senior citizens to get outside and be active, medical professionals urge discernment.

Carilion Trauma Nurse Specialist Sarah Beth Dinwiddie shares the following advice: “It’s important to alter the hours in which one is outside,” she said. “Instead of working in the yard in the middle of the day, aim for earlier or later in the day.”

Staying well-hydrated is also important. Seniors can become more sensitive to medication side effects such as dizziness and dehydration. Dinwiddie recommends they discuss medications and these side effects with doctors and pharmacists.

Heatstroke is another serious condition. Signs of heatstroke include elevated body temperature, dizziness and nausea. Those affected should seek hydration and a cooler environment, and seek medical attention sooner than later. Dinwiddie says heatstroke can occur when seniors push on with tasks such as yard work.

She also encourages people to check on their neighbors to make sure they are cool on hot days, and for those who need financial assistance with cooling costs to reach out for help.

As far as sunburns go, Dinwiddie urges all ages to wear lightweight UV protective clothing and stay out of the sun.

Her final bit of advice is to “get outside and enjoy it. Just be careful and mindful of the activities you’re doing.”

Indoor activities

If outside activity isn’t practical or safe, there are a number of other senior-friendly exercise outlets in Franklin County such as the YMCA, Essig Center and Phoebe Needles Conference Center.

Upon visiting the YMCA in Rocky Mount, one can find active seniors throughout the building; whether that’s walking or running on the track or treadmill, using the weight machines, or riding stationary bikes.

Elaine Chitwood, 84, has been coming to the Y for 14 years, averaging four days a week. She and her 79-year-old cousin, Louise Wimmer, walk side-by-side on treadmills before making their way over to the weight machines.

“I feel better when I exercise,” Chitwood said.

George Washington, retired Director of Technology for Franklin County Public Schools, was an original board member of the YMCA for four years in the late 1990s, during which time the Y was built. He confessed to slacking off in working out at the Y since his retirement three years ago. He said he’s now coming more often “to get in the routine.”

Exercise classes are available, such as the Strong Seniors class that’s designed to improve strength, core control, balance and flexibility.

The ground floor of the Y is also home to two pools; one is for laps and the other is a warm therapy pool. Seniors Jim and Martha Gilbert frequently use the lap pool. Martha, 72, usually swims at least 20-24 laps (down and back equals 50 yards) and Jim, 76, does at least 40 laps. They also walk one to two miles on the track upstairs.

The couple has been married for 52 years and live in the Franklin County side of Moneta. Jim said he made a healthy lifestyle change in April 2018. He started coming to the Rocky Mount Y to swim and lost 25 pounds.

“I had had COPD. I don’t have that anymore,” he said of his improving health.

At 7 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Patti Ward cheerfully teaches water exercise classes in the therapy pool. While the classes aren’t specifically for senior citizens, the majority of people in the classes are seniors.

Ward has been teaching the classes for 20 years. One of her original students, Ruth Flora, who’s in her early 90s, just recently retired from the classes. Ward said at one point Flora was scheduled to have rotator cuff surgery, but after her work in the pool, the surgery was not necessary.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve them in their quest for better health,” Ward said. “I just love them so much.”

She said they have formed bonds of friendship that go beyond the pool. She added that new members are welcome to join the class.

“We are a close group, but we are not a closed group,” she said.

Martha Collins, 78, is a water exercise class member. She said her favorite part about being in the class is that closeness, and the exercise helps her improve her flexibility.

Marian Serge, also a water class student, said she admires the way many of her classmates have overcome health concerns related to hip and knee replacements.

Certified pool operator and head lifeguard Field Spicer watches over those in the pools in the mornings. He estimates the average age of the participants in Ward’s classes to be about 70. He thinks it’s great to see active seniors. “You gotta keep moving. I’ll retire some day and join them,” he added.

Lighter options

The Essig Center also hosts activities for ages 50 and older. Line dancing, pickleball, blood pressure and hearing screenings, and classes for balance, stretching and toning are a few. There is also an open gym time and the Silver-Cise Exercise Room. For more information, go to

In Callaway, seniors have an opportunity to get fit at The Phoebe Needles Conference Center. The center hosts an Active Seniors Class on Monday and Wednesdays from 10 to 10:45 a.m. The light exercise class includes a beautiful view of the mountains for those working on strength, balance, mobility and flexibility. Participants may use a chair during as well as opt out of any exercise that causes discomfort. Classes are free and no sign up is necessary.

Charlie Beckwith, 85, has been coming to the class for about two years. While the exercise is good, he said he particularly enjoys the camaraderie and friendships. He said, “I always leave feeling happier than when I got there.”

Martha Perry, 80, has also been coming to the class for about two years and said she likes the way it makes her feel.

“It’s important for those of us who come because we need to stay fit,” she added.

She acknowledged that the exercises could be done at home but likely wouldn’t get done because there’s something motivating about getting together to exercise. Like Beckwith, Perry says socializing is a big part of the experience.

original article link



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Rocky Mount, Va. (APRIL 9, 2019) – This past Saturday, April 6th, the Franklin County Family YMCA hosted an event at its Ferrum College YMCA location. The “car smash” event raised funds for the National Safety Council’s Survivor Advocate Program and brought awareness to preventing distracted driving accidents.

Two wrecked vehicles were on display in front of the Ferrum College YMCA for the week leading up to the event with painted messages like “Stay Alive, Just Drive.” An estimated 3,200 people die annually as a result of distracted driving with many more thousands sustaining injuries according to the CDC. At the event students on campus, Y staff and community members could hit the cars with a sledge hammer by making a donation to the Advocate Program that helps surviving family members after a fatal accident.

“People have no idea how dangerous distracted driving can be. So we thought this was a fun way the Y could help raise awareness,” says Victoria Brown Ferrum Branch Director and organizer for the event.

A pledge was also circulated that required the signer to avoid distracted driving. Over 70 Ferrum students signed the pledge which will continue to be available to sign in the coming week. Also in attendance were “CHILL” students from Franklin County High School. “CHILL” is a student group that encourages youth to avoid dangerous behavior with drugs and alcohol.

The high school students set up a demonstration that encouraged students to not drive while impaired by alcohol. “We’re really proud of the Ferrum Community for coming out and supporting this event. We also couldn’t have done it without Danny Lynch towing and setting up the cars and for Chris and Tammy Mather donating them,” says Brown.

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 Rocky Mount, Va. (APRIL 2, 2019) – This past Saturday, March 30th, the Franklin County Family YMCA hosted a fundraiser at its Smith Mountain Lake Location. The “Show of Shows” event featured local talented musicians including the Star City Swagg Jazz Quartet, Star City Squeeze Accordions, Jazz Guitarist Bill Hoffman, Ernie Freeman Latin Trumpet, Parrot Pan Band, Toucan Pan Band, Island Pan Band and the Aloha Ukulele Ensemble.

“The talent on display was amazing and all for a great cause,” says Lauren Acker Branch Director at the YMCA’s Smith Mountain Lake Location.

The event, in its fourth year, had well over 200 attendees who enjoyed sing-a-longs, dancing, snacks and an evening of fellowship. Proceeds from the event are used to fulfill the Y’s charitable mission work in Franklin County which benefits youth, adults, families and seniors in Franklin County. The event was supported by not only attendees but by multiple volunteers who helped the evening go off without a hitch.

“Without this type of fundraising event, it would be impossible for the Y to fulfill our mission. That’s why it’s so great to see so many people from the community coming out to support the Y. The great musicians, volunteers and attendees made it a really special night,” says Acker.

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Rocky Mount, Va. (March 6, 2019) – This past weekend the Franklin County Family YMCA Riptide

swim team participated in the league’s championship meet. The meet was held over the course of three
days, at the Salem YMCA and had 12 teams competing against each other, with 321 individual
swimmers. Franklin County, despite being one of the smaller teams at the meet with 29 swimmers, took
third place overall for the weekend with many swimmers making their best times for the season.

"This year was the first time the team has finished in the top three. We placed third and that is a major
accomplishment for us. We had to outperform teams that had more swimmers than us. We saw some
major time improvements at this championship swim meet. This is by far the best champs we have gone
to. The kids on the Riptide swim team have been working hard this season and it really showed at
champs. We even had two swimmers make regional qualifying times for the first time. I could not be
more proud of the Riptide swimmers. I am excited to see what the future holds because every year we
get better and faster," said Head Coach JT Boyd.

Next weekend is the Upper Southeast YMCA Regional swim meet in which all kids who have made
regional qualifying times from the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina will compete.
The Riptide swim team has 7 kids attending the meet this year. Landon Akers, Mallorie Teer, Gabe
Lester, Maddox Conley, Brayden Shirley, Grayson Altice, and Josie Gilley will be representing Franklin
County in Duncan, South Carolina.

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