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Posted by on in YMCA News

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 kkitts@franklincountyymca.org

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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 ymca.net/membernews. To learn more about Franklin County YMCAs SAFE before and after school program contact Jamie Stump at (540)489-9622 or jstump@franklincountyymca.org.

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Posted by on in YMCA News

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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Posted by on in YMCA News

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 PlayFranklinCounty.com.

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.

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SENIORS SWIMMING

 

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