The Kernersville YMCA is inviting everyone to help celebrate 50 years at its current location with a special event planned for next week.
Executive Director Chris Booth spoke to Scope News about the activities planned for Feb. 18 as well as the organization’s continuing mission within the community.
Instead of focusing strictly on a retrospective of the organization’s half-century on West Mountain Street and a history that dates back more than a decade earlier, he said the goal is “to make it kind of a starting point” for something even bigger.
“We wanted to honor the past, we wanted to celebrate the current impact, but then we also wanted to kind of give people the opportunity to invest in the future,” he said.
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Booth, who has been with the Kernersville YMCA for nine years and has served as its executive director since 2020, said he sees this momentous anniversary as an opportunity to engage — or perhaps re-engage — locals who are not currently involved in its programs.
Part of that mission will involve stitching together a comprehensive account of the organization’s first 50 years, which means filling in a few gaps.
“Believe it or not, there are still some people that are around who do remember the dedication 50 years ago,” he said. “We also know there are a couple of people who served on the original board of directors who are still living.”
As Booth explained, compiling their input now will provide a living history so that “when groups want to celebrate the 75th anniversary or the 100th anniversary they actually have some things to show where we came from.”
He also wants this event to serve as a demonstration for the many people who “just don’t know what the Y does,” explaining that it provides many volunteer-supported programs that go far beyond a gym and pools.
“We’re also asking for some input into what we do in the future, whether that’s facility-wise or programming-wise,” he said. “We’re looking for some feedback.”
The anniversary celebration will feature a “huge whiteboard” on which locals can jot down some suggestions that will help determine the future trajectory of the organization.
Although the anniversary-specific programming will be held between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., Booth said that members and guests are welcome to visit anytime throughout the day.
“As a thank-you to the community, we’re going to waive the guest fees for that day,” he said, noting that other normal guest policies will still be in place.
Starting at 2 p.m., the facility will host an informal “meet and greet” during which “people can come in and learn about what’s going on in the Y,” he said. At 4 p.m., Mayor Dawn Morgan will speak, as will other community and YMCA leaders.
The event will also feature activities for kids, including bounce houses.
Booth said the event will be “very casual” and there is no need to RSVP in order to attend. Anyone with stories, photos, or other details from the YMCA’s first 50 years can share them on a Facebook page dedicated to the anniversary celebration or send them directly to Booth at 336-245-7213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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