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Clarksville YMCA sees growth spurt with Complex opening

South Boston News
These local youths enjoyed the first week of the Lake Country Kids Summer Day Camp at The Enrichment Complex in Clarksville. The theme of this session is "Healthy Me, Healthy You.”

SoVaNow.com / June 23, 2010
By RUSS MESSIER
Special to The Sun


Less than one month ago, the Clarksville site of the Mecklenburg County YMCA was located in a small building behind the Clarksville Public Library. The building was spartan and aging, as was the exercise equipment in the basement location. The membership had dwindled to 57 and the outlook was not good.

With the grand opening of the Clarksville Enrichment Complex on May 29, the new home of the Clarksville YMCA, all that has changed. In the few days of May after the grand opening, memberships nearly doubled. And new memberships in the month of June are on course to triple. The outlook is now excellent and encouraging.

When you walk into The Complex on Noblin Farm Road, across from the Clarksville Elementary School, and see the brand-new exercise/wellness equipment donated by the Clarksville Ruritan Club, in a large and bright area, on your right, you will see why the response of the whole community to the new YMCA has been so overwhelming.

The YMCA facility at The Complex also has a 1000 sq. ft. room with wood floor and large flat-panel TV for aerobics classes. There are classes for people at all levels of fitness.

Currently the YMCA hours of operation are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. However, as memberships increase and finances improve, expanding the hours of operation will be a priority, with early mornings being highly requested.

“We are currently working on a tight budget,” said Marcus Hargrave, “but we will be looking for opportunities to expand our programs.”

Hargrave became the Chief Executive Officer of the Mecklenburg County YMCA less than six months ago and now shares his time and expertise in running three YMCA’s, including the South Boston/Halifax County and South Hill YMCA’s.

Hargrave is happy to report that the Clarksville YMCA is already planning on adding a Tae Kwon Do class and a Zumba Fitness dance aerobics class. The Zumba instructor is currently obtaining her certification. Luther Jackson is the certified Tae Kwon Do instructor and he has certified students up to the highest levels in that martial arts. Hargrave promises that just watching Jackson in action is a visual arts experience and at the same time he is an excellent instructor.

“We will be working with the community to have a YMCA facility to meet people’s needs.” And Hargrave was quick to add that “people can call me any time on my cell phone (434-579-7363) to give me suggestions on ways to improve our programs.”

Of course, people have already asked about the addition of a gymnasium and a swimming pool. Both are part of the long-range plans of The Complex, and they will come about as the community uses the current facility and thereby provides the need and finances for their planning and completion.

During the last week of each month, the YMCA will hold an instructional class for any member who wishes to learn more about the proper use of the exercise equipment, whether you are just a beginner or looking for more advanced workouts. You will also have the ability to receive individualized personal trainers. Times for these classes will be advertised.

The mission of the Mecklenburg County YMCA mirrors the YMCA of the USA: “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.”

Adds Hargrave: “Our YMCA remains committed to collaborating with other organizations to expand our offerings to enhance the quality of life in our communities. We understand individuals have different needs and we will do our best to make our organization fit those needs.”

“Our YMCA will strive to be more inclusive with our members and the community,” said Hargrave. “This national focus called Active America will target the rising onset of obesity and diabetes in adults and children. Through our partnerships will other YMCAs, we hope to bring this program to the Mecklenburg County community in the next few months.”

Marcus Hargrave’s final remark summarizes this new community services facility best.

“The YMCA’s success will parallel the success of The Complex.”

The success of The Complex will be directly related to the participation of the community in all the various community services under one roof, including the YMCA, the Lake Country Kids programs, Southside Virginia Community College, and the Lake Country Distance Education Center. Anyone wanting more information on The Clarksville Enrichment Complex, looking for ways to become involved (like volunteering to lead sessions, teach classes, or help behind the scene), or wishing to be a “One Hundred Club” member (pledging $1000 / year for 5 years) should contact Joe Davidson (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 434-738-8232) or Russ Messier (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 434-374-4204).

In addition, a new opportunity for giving has been established whereby community members or groups can purchase 4” x 8” commemorative bricks that will be placed in the sidewalk in front of The Complex. Names, messages, etc. will be engraved on your brick according to your wishes. Request forms are available at The Complex.



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