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Local Y finalizes merger with South Hampton Roads / December 21, 2017

The merger of the local Y with a much larger affiliate — the YMCA of South Hampton Roads — is now complete.

The local board announced the official joining of the YMCA of South Boston/Halifax County with South Hampton Roads this week in a step the directors say will pave the way for the future growth of the Hamilton Boulevard facility.

“Three years ago, we were very close to losing our Y. It took a lot of effort on many fronts to get us to where we are today,” said Beth McCubbin, a member of the YMCA board. “If it wasn’t for efforts of a few swim team parents, the leadership of Sentara Healthcare and some very generous donors, we would have closed permanently three Christmas Eves ago.”

Since entering into an affiliation with the YMCA of South Hampton Roads two and a half years ago, the local Y has embarked on a capital campaign that has allowed it to undertake several important facility improvements — including a new state of the art Wellness Center, a completely overhauled Aquatic Center, installation of a new HVAC system in the locker rooms, upgraded showers and steam rooms, a paved parking lot, and other smaller fixes.

The ongoing capital campaign, funded locally, is nearing completion, and will pay for further improvements that include renovated locker rooms, two family changing rooms, rebuilding the lobby into a Welcome Center and turning the child care area “into a bright and fun ‘Stay & Play’ that kids can enjoy while their parents engage in healthy activity,” stated McCubbin.

“This merger doesn’t mean an end to our fundraising needs. We will still need the support of the community to finish these projects,” she said. “The difference now is that the supporters of the YMCA can count on the fact that their donations are going towards improvements in both our facility and the programs here in South Boston, not towards keeping the doors open.”

In three years’ time, the YMCA has gone from the brink of closure to serving half the population of South Boston, according to local Y directors. In a statement, they credit local friends and supporters and their affiliate partners with the YMCA of South Hampton Roads with rebuilding the local Y and furthering the organization’s mission of strengthening community.

The merger allows local Y leaders and members to leverage the resources of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, described by local board members as one of the strongest YMCAs in the country, serving some 250,000 children and adults in Tidewater Virginia and northern North Carolina.

The YMCA board also credited Sentara Healthcare, a longtime partner of the South Hampton Y, with helping to bring the South Boston Y into the group’s orbit.

“The mission and cause of the Y as a movement across the country calls on YMCAs, especially those in rural areas like South Boston, to be the sounding board in their community for programs that focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” local directors noted in their statement. “Keeping the doors open to the South Boston Y means that the commitment to strengthen the families and youth in the area will continue, bringing more programs, membership and support for neighbors that look to the Y as a resource.

“While operating under the guidance of a locally appointed Board of Directors, the focus of operations and programming will remain on local needs.”

In the coming year, the South Boston Y will continue to emphasize programs such as the “learn to swim” program, where all pre-K and ninth-grade students get two weeks of free swim lessons, as well as youth sports and healthy living offerings. The board will continue to focus on financial responsibility, ensuring resources stay in the community and that the Y remains a place for everyone to be a part of, at every age and stage of life.

Fundraising efforts continue, highlighted by a Nov. 11 celebration to thank major donors and dedicate areas of the facility in honor of benefactors.

“This merger opens the door for us to finish what we started and meet more needs of Halifax County, but it will still need the support of the community,” said McCubbin.

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