The YMCA of Iredell County, which 17 community members organized, celebrated its 35th birthday the week of Aug. 3-10.
The organization was chartered in Statesville Aug. 5, 1973. Today, branches exist in Statesville, Barium Springs and Taylorsville in Alexander County.
Ken Conger, one of the founding members, recalled that the Y operated from an office in the beginning. He and others introduced kids to soccer, and they became involved in the Y. “We provided a sport that young kids 5 and 6 could play. At one time we had four groups going at Northview,” Conger said.
The original building was the district office for the United Methodist Church in North Carolina. The Y bought the building on Wesley Drive and added a swimming pool and locker rooms in 1975-76. An upgrade in 1990 included a gymnasium, fitness and aerobics rooms and adult locker rooms.
Additional renovations in 1995 and 2000 have resulted in another gymnasium, aerobics room, swimming pool and a 2,000-square-foot workout fitness room.
When Tip Nicholson, chief executive officer, arrived in 1984, the membership was 1,500. It has increased to 10,237.
In keeping with its community service tradition, the Y partners with Iredell-Statesville schools to offer swim programs. Marcheta Campbell, chief operating officer, said that second-grade students are bused to the Y and taught to swim during the school term. She recalled that one year a child used the safety training to help save another youngster.
Campbell mentioned that Frances Fanjoy, a founding member, has worn and replaced 92 bathing suits since the first pool was built.
To learn more about the YMCA of Iredell County, contact Nicholson or Campbell at 704-873-9622.