Lake Norman & Mooresville

Sally's Y celebrates 1st year

Sally's YMCA will celebrate its first birthday with the community on Jan. 28.

The event will kick off with a breakfast at 9 a.m., followed by program samplers, yoga, health assessments and registration for upcoming programs until 3 p.m. People will have a chance to learn about the Y's camps, adult and kids sports, parents' night out and senior activities. Plus, you can enjoy a slice of birthday cake.

"We are so excited to celebrate a successful first year at Sally's," Sally's Y executive director Jeff Townsend said in a news release. "It will be a great way to reflect on the accomplishments of 2011, as well as look toward what is to come in 2012."

The Lincoln County Polar Plunge will take place at 1 p.m. at Sally's Y. Participants are asked to raise $50 take "the plunge" into the pool. Rescue divers and emergency medical services personnel will be on-site as a precaution. All money raised will be donated to the Lincoln County Special Olympics.

The community is invited to attend the birthday bash and also take a tour of the 22,000-square-foot facility, located beside 85 acres protected by the Catawba Lands Conservancy. The facility was built in honor of 19-year-old Sally Clark, who died in a car accident with her cousin, Anna Grace Jordan, in 2004.

Sally's YMCA opened last January with 721 families becoming members. Now, the Y has 1,160 families as members. For Terry Matthews, operations director at Sally's Y, the 400 jump in memberships is impressive, considering the economy and the facility being new to the area.

"Any time you have anything open for the first year, it's a reason to celebrate," she said. "In these tough economic times we are facing, it's just wonderful to celebrate something positive in the community."

So far, the Y's fitness area, boasting almost 5,000 square feet, has been a real hit with members, Matthews said. The fitness area is stocked with the latest equipment and people can be seen regularly taking one of the many aerobic classes, such as kickboxing, Pilates and yoga. Older adults can participate in low-impact fitness classes designed to help them regain mobility and become healthier.

This past summer, Sally's Y taught 200 children how to swim. The children also enjoyed playing in the outdoor water park, which is loaded with slides and splash features. Dozens of children enrolled in summer and day camps, where they learned arts and crafts, participated in sports and made new friends.

Matthews said it is important for Sally's Y, a branch of YMCA of Greater Charlotte, to reach as many people as possible in the community. Instead of offering various plans and prices, Sally's Y generates a membership fee based on the annual income and number of people in the household.

"I think people are excited about the new facility being in town," said Matthews. "I think the fact that it's new and wonderful draws people in, but the fact that it's affordable draws people in too."