BY SARAH STEPHENS, OWNER/EDITOR
With an official groundbreaking for a major expansion at the Millbrook Grandview Family YMCA, and a big hint of bigger things to come, a large group gathered Monday, Nov. 18, to celebrate growth.
YMCA Board Chairman Andrew Harp welcomed the large group to the event
“We are gathered here today not only to celebrate the first phase of construction, but the growth of our programs and all of the improvements we have made,” Harp said. “In the last three years this YMCA has had significant growth in membership and program areas. In this year alone, we have served over 6,000 people through youth and adult sports, group exercise, after school programs, aquatic programs, summer camping and family programs. Our membership is at the highest level it has ever been with nearly 1,000 families, or 3,200 individuals as members. This past summer 950 different kids took part in our summer camp program. During the last school year 192 different kids took advantage of the after-school program and 400 children will participate in sports programs such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and swim team. I offer a heartfelt thank you and welcome on behalf of our staff and board.”
Executive Director Bill Myers gave a history of the property that is now the Grandview YMCA.
“Camp Grandview was founded in the early 1920s right here on 63 acres around the old homeplace. And it functioned as a summer camp exclusively for girls from the 1920s until the mid-1980s. It was originally tent camping and was a progressive camp,” Myers said. “It built two lakes, had a swimming pool with a high dive and taught swimming and synchronized swimming. It had a dining hall right here with a recreation hall and oversized stage where they did theatrical productions. They offered horseback riding and archery. They taught girls how to live independently.”
He continued, “It was estimated that over 15,000 girls came through those same gates that you did a minute ago and enjoyed Camp Grandview between the summers of 1950 and 1980. We are proud to continue that legacy that those Grandview girls established years ago. We are proud to carry on that legacy here at the Grandview YMCA today. Without facilities like these and the ones we build, we could not carry out our mission in the community to put Christian principals into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Our campus has undergone a significant change over the last six years. We have had a renaissance of sorts at our facilities and improvements help us serve more children and families. Some of those include renovating the commercial kitchen behind you; Adding another 130 acres of property to our original 63 acres camp; Creating additional space for Soccer; creating a new shooting sports area for day camp; Building a covered, open air pavilion overlooking the lake; converting an old, unused swimming pool into an amphitheater; building a Blog and zipline tower at the lake and nd renovating the original camp recreation hall with the help of the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery. But today we are here to celebrate something else, something big, something that is going to help us carry on this legacy for another 100 years.”
Myers introduced officials present, saying without their help this accomplishment would not be possible.
Millbrook Mayor Al Kelley, President of Millbrook City Council Michael Gay, City Councilwoman Ward 1 Olivia Venable, City Councilman Ward 3 Jimmy Harris, City Councilman Ward 5 Hal Hodge, Alabama Senator for District 30, Clyde Chambliss, Elmore County Commission Chair Troy Stubbs, Elmore County District 4 Commissioner Bart Mercer, Art Faulkner ECEDA Chair, Cary Cox ECEDA Director and representatives and board members of the Midsouth RC&D.
“So we couldn’t have a great YMCA without a great city. And we have a great city here in Millbrook which is led by some great people,” Myers said.
Millbrook Mayor Al Kelley was next at the podium, giving a warm welcome to attendees.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for being here today. This is a great event and great honor for the city of Millbrook to be involved with the Greater Montgomery YMCA and the Grandview Y,” Kelley said. “I have been coming here since I was little. Since I met Gary Cobbs of the Montgomery YMCA years ago, I have seen them do great and wonderful things. It starts at the top and I want to thank (Gary) for the wonderful job you do with the YMCA Board as Executive Director. We have a lot of plans in the future, too. You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
Mayor Kelley praised Executive Director Bill Myers for his dedication to the Grandview YMCA.
“This is a young man like I have never seen with as much energy and enthusiasm in his life for anything like he has for the YMCA,” Mayor Kelley said. “Seven days a week, and 24 hours a day. He even lives on site. Who wants to live at your office? I want to thank Bill Myers. He has done a tremendous job. I thank the City Council. We are 110 percent in with this YMCA. We are going to see that other 120 acres out there do some things you never thought you would see in Millbrook, Alabama. We have a great partnership going. The hardest thing in the world is to form a partnership between so many organizations. We have the city, county, school board, private non-profit like the YMCA and ECEDA. Five governmental type entities involved in one pursuit. You can get a lot out of it, but it is a difficult battle, believe me. Come back when this project is finished!”
Gary Cobbs with the Montgomery YMCA said, “It is a great day in Millbrook, great day for the Grandview YMCA. We are so thankful to be here. It is a very special day. A lot of hard work behind the scenes. There are 900 plus kids that come here for the day camp over the summertime. That is an amazing feat. I don’t think any one of our YMCAs in our community have that number of kids coming through for a day camp. This is a very unique YMCA when you have such a large day camp and then the actual facility where you have memberships and programs there as well. Right where we are standing now will be a brand new wellness space around 3,600 square feet. The current wellness space is around 1,800 square feet. Our new Child Watch area will be around 1,500 square feet. We are also adding some family changing areas, locker rooms, that will be for those who come and swim here at the Y and take part in the day camp. The current Wellness space inside the facility will be converted to a brand new group exercise space. So, there is just a lot going on here in Millbrook. Our YMCA is for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. And we exhibit that every single day here at this YMCA.”
YMCA and Community supporters Jim and Elmore Inscoe, Mayor Kelley, Economic Development Director Ann Harper, Commissioner Bart Mercer, Sen. Chambliss, Sr. Vice President Jeff Reynolds, Grandview Board Chair Andrew Harp, Tom and Bessie Parker, and Bill Myers were just some of those included in the official groundbreaking. A group of young children from the YMCA also offered their assistance.
While it was not mentioned directly as to what the future holds, it is well known that the YMCA took part in a survey asking the community what they would like to see. That was at the same time that discussion centered around creating a giant multi-sport plex at the YMCA that would help create much more space and fields for a variety of sports. It is still in the developmental stages, but officials are hopeful this will be a future project for the YMCA.