The Y brings people together every day, providing opportunities to promote healthier decisions that support physical, intellectual and spiritual strength.

A Positive Attitude Leads to a Positive Outcome

APYC/YMCA Camp Kekoka is a summer camp that is more than just fun activities and meeting new friends; it helped me see a better me. It has impacted my life in the best way; I now understand the importance of kindness and that it is okay to be myself.

They Y teaches us core values and caring is one of them. Before I went to Camp Kekoka, I understood that it is good to be nice to people but camp helped me apply it. I was usually nice to people when it helped me; now I’m nice to people all the time. I have learned that saying one nice thing can positively impact someone’s day. When I am positive, I impact others to be positive.

An example of this is when my group was trying to settle a challenging situation. One of our friends in the group began telling us how funny we are; it made us realize the fight was unecessary and her words were impactful.

Before camp, it was hard to be myself because I believed what other people thought about me was important. At camp, it’s such a safe environment that you can genuinely be yourself all the time. It is an amazing feeling. Camp has impacted my life.     -Kaity, YMCA Camper

A “Powerful” Connection

There is something so sweet about cherished chatter over of a cup of coffee with your female friends. Women often desire the closeness that comes from sharing daily joys and struggles. After becoming members of the Y, Lauren, Sara and Adrian’s commitment to fitness and passion for power lifting drew their paths closer to crossing. Their trio of strength manifested quickly.

“The YMCA provides a synergistic atmosphere where relationships and goals like ours flourish. Our formidable team is able to accomplish all that our training requires via the continuous encouragement and necessary equipment. We have been tremendously blessed to have our coach, Ernie, at the Y. None of our training would be possible without his support which has led each of us to hold Virginia State records.

We do life over coffee. We do empowerment under barbells. We never met before joining the Y, and found that we share a love for lifting at the Y. We are being sharpened by inner and outer strength. We aren’t just going to the gym, we’re powerlifting at the YMCA.


Happiness is…Changing a Life

“The First Tee program has helped my son, Sean. Sean is diagnosed with Autism, and has struggled with self-control, discipline, concentration, and social skills throughout his young life. I have noticed that Sean has had a marked increase of self-control and discipline since he has started with the program.

His concentration on homework, reading, and classroom behavior has also improved dramatically. The area he has grown the most in is his ability to interact in a social environment. I have seen Sean use golf etiquette while playing with his friends and classmates. This might seem odd to most people, but in the case of Autism, this level of social integration and skill is very hard to teach. I want to express my pleasure for allowing Sean to be part of your program, and I thank all the wonderful people that are involved on the team.”


A Healthier, Fuller Life at the Y

After suffering a stroke, Richard joined the Y in 2012 when he completed his rehabilitation sessions. When Richard joined, he started working with one of our wellness instructors, Joanie. He nicknamed her the Drill Sargent and attributes much of his success to how she has pushed him and was there for him. Richard says, “Since joining the Y I am in better physical shape than I have ever been, it has helped to improve my equilibrium immensely, and I have lost about 30lbs.”

Richard feels that if it had not been for the Y, he would be in terrible shape and would have never recovered from his stroke. In November 2015, he had another clot, this time in his heart. He had a surgery called the Five Box Maze to remove the clot. Through all of this, Richard has continued to use the Y and is faithful in his workouts. He says, “It’s the best choice I ever made.”


Taking Charge of My Life

Several years ago I had a conversation with a good friend. After explaining how much stress I was going through and some of my symptoms, my friend asked, “Have you seen a cardiologist?” I really didn’t want anything else on my agenda, but I broke down and went.

The cardiologist detected an irregular heartbeat and palpitations brought on by stress. For every good heartbeat I had one bad one. I started taking medications to slow down my heart rate but noticed I was struggling to breathe. At my next visit, the cardiologist said I now had three bad heartbeats for every good one and I was not going to live long like that.

I needed to take charge of my life, so I immediately began to walk and take yoga. I joined the YMCA and started attending a group exercise class. Before long, these classes became “tame” for me and I started more intense classes. Soon I forgot that I was taking these classes because it was “what the doctor ordered,” they had become part of my daily routine and something I enjoyed.

Eventually my cardiologist reported that I no longer had extra heartbeats. He was amazed and asked what I had done so he could share it with his other patients. Yoga and regular exercise at the Y were the keys to my success.


Happy elder woman rejoicing health success with her trainerRemaining Motivated on my Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle

I joined the Diabetes Prevention Program in May of 2016. My experience has been life-changing, and I heartily support the program. The program promotes a lifestyle change of nutrition and physical activity which reduces the risk of diabetes. For several years my primary care provider urged me to lose weight and exercise more because I was pre-diabetic. I joined a gym with good intentions, unfortunately, my efforts failed repeatedly. Last March my doctor referred me to the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program. I made the one-year commitment and had learned nutrition, the importance of consistent physical activity, and have identified road blocks that kept me from reaching my goals. The facilitator and classmates offer additional support as we take this journey to a healthier lifestyle together.

Now, five months into the program, I remain motivated and have exceeded my goal of 7% weight loss. I exercise at the YMCA at least three times a week and now understand how a balanced and healthy lifestyle will protect me from diabetes. I am looking forward to my next appointment with my doctor instead of the usual dread. I am confident that my lab results will show improvement. More importantly, I now feel healthy and optimistic that my life-style changes will be long-term.


iStock_000075419823 for websiteLearning Together – Savoring Healthy Choices

Our daughter Sophia entered the YMCA preschool program in September. We have been amazed by the learning Sophia has accomplished over the past couple of months. She loves to talk about HALO (Healthy Alternatives for Little Ones), the part of the preschool curriculum that focuses on healthy choices. We have enjoyed several fun and informative conversations in the car and at the dinner table sparked by what Sophia has learned through HALO. Not only is Sophia more aware of healthy versus harmful choices, but she has made us think twice about some of our choices especially when it comes to the foods we eat. Sophia loves to talk about how healthy choices help build a healthy body. The Y has become an extension of our family and encourages us to make healthy choices for our family. We enrolled Sophia in the Y to help her early learning experience; we had no idea what we would learn as a family.

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Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.