Northampton YMCA Groundbreaking

Northampton County YMCA Groundbreaking
Posted on 08/27/2020

Distinguished guest ceremoniously break ground on the Northampton County YMCA on August 25, 2020. Photos by Jean E. Flynn


Northampton County is on a health kick. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us just how important our health truly is in the large scheme of things. But before the virus turned our lives upside down, a vision for a healthier Northampton County had already been hatched by two men who were instrumental in getting the momentum going to bring a YMCA to Northampton County. On February 11, 2020 a Town Hall meeting was organized by Reverend Russell Goodrich of Cape Charles Baptist Church and Bruce Bradley former Chair of YMCA South Hampton Roads to stir up interest in bringing a YMCA to Northampton County and to update the public on the project. Folks were so excited about the prospect most of the 4.5 million dollars had been raised even before the meeting date; the property was purchased and set to be closed on and more money was raised on the night of the meeting.
On Tuesday August 25, 2020 a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the future site of the Northampton County YMCA located at 22243 Parsons Circle just off of Route 13 in Cape Charles.


YMCA South Hampton Roads Youtube video of Groundbreaking Ceremony for Northampton County YMCA August 25, 2020 

"The Northampton County YMCA on the Eastern Shore of Virginia will provide much needed services that nurture the potential of every child and teen, improve our community's health and well-being and give back and support our neighbors in need. Unlike any other organization, the Y brings people together from all walks of life to connect them to their potential, to their purpose and to each other."  

YMCA We are more than just a gym


Bill Stulb, Chairman of the Board YMCA South Hampton Roads welcomed those in attendance and remarked on the remarkable speed in which funds were raised to build a Y in our County, “Today it is my pleasure to join you in officially getting this project started and the honor of thanking donors and partners making this a reality. They have demonstrated such a strong commitment to the health and well-being of the community of Northampton County. Together you have raised over 4.5 million dollars and I will say probably in record time,”  he said.

The YMCA’s mission is “working side-by-side with our neighbors to address critical community needs that help kids develop into smart, resilient adults, for people to improve their health and build a sense of community, and for our most vulnerable young people to get the care and support they need. Our mission is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.”

There are programs for everyone at every age and stage of life. The YMCA prides itself on its core values that encompasses the whole community and strives to be inclusive no matter the income or physical barriers. Oliver Bennett Northampton County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Oliver Bennett put it succinctly in his comments at the groundbreaking ceremony, “I was excited to learn the YMCA’s core values. How extremely important they are in life and for life. Those being respect, responsibility, honesty, inclusion and caring. We are elated about bringing a great combination of indoor and outdoor recreation to our community. As Chairman of Northampton County Board of Supervisors, we applaud the YMCA’s vision for a healthier Northampton County. We extend our warmest welcome to them as they join our county and our community.”

Sharing a Mission Moment

Anthony Walters

Anthony Walters President and CEO YMCA South Hampton Roads was instrumental in carrying the dream forward after former CEO Billy George retired late last year. Mr. Walters shared a “mission moment” and made it clear that the YMCA isn’t just about exercising the body but exercising the love and care for a community especially in times of crisis. Mr. Walters recounted a story about Linda Strain, an essential front line medical professional who struggled with caring for her daughter, Bella and having to go to work when schools closed in the spring due to the pandemic. The YMCA stepped in and created an emergency childcare program for essential personnel. Mr. Walters stated, “You might recall the Y started its emergency childcare for working essential personnel… Emergency childcare inspired now the Y’s E-learning academy...It starts this fall. Linda and Bella received subsidized childcare through the Y’s Open Doors financial assistance program.  You see at the Y, we believe that financial resources should never be a barrier for access to critical programs. And its support from our donors and partners allows Y’s to be built and provide resources where they are most needed. This is why we are here. This is why we show up everyday... I can promise you this: that this Y, this Y movement will show up everyday for this community.”

The project is expected to be completed June 2021. Mighty MachinesFour and a half million dollars has been raised but according to YMCA South Hampton Roads another $150,000 still needs to be raised in order for the project to be fully funded.

Elaine Luria

Congresswoman Elaine Luria of the 2nd District of VA
noted,  “I’ve seen the possibilities that community can build together. From the generosity of the community to make this possible where children grow and families thrive. I asked what’s the timeline from groundbreaking to the ribbon cutting where we can open the doors and see so many children and families enjoy this community center? It’s just over a year from now- summer of next year...these beautiful renditions will be a real live center where children can come, learn and thrive.”

Blueprints Northampton County YMCA Rendition

John CokerJohn Coker, Northampton County Board of Supervisor for District 1,
where the new YMCA is located, had a personal dream in mind for this YMCA.  “This is such an exciting addition to our community. I am certain it will help us build a healthier community which we all want especially in the world we find ourselves in today. Healthy is probably one of the best things we can all do. I want to tell you a little story about me. This has been a dream of mine. I want to have every child in Northampton County learn how to swim. In case you haven’t notice we have water all around us. And this is somebody who almost drowned. I was very close to drowning when I was 8 years old in Long Island Sound. It’s really important we teach our children to swim because there is water everywhere.”

An outdoor four lane lap pool and children's play pool is part of the construction plans. A separate fundraisingSwimming icon endeavor led by the community to seek donations to cover the pool is underway. If funded, the pool cover would become part of the project as well and would give citizens the opportunity for year- round swimming. For now, the pool will be open from mid-April to October.

Mr. Coker reiterated the appreciation for the generosity and hard work for getting this project off the ground. “Again, this is all consistent with our healthy community aspirations. We want to have as healthy a community as we possibly can. Finally, this is not something our County could have done on its own...Thanks to all who made this YMCA happen for Northampton County. We truly appreciate it.”

As a bonus, not only will Northampton County be healthier but the YMCA brings a boost to our economy, as well. According to YMCA South Hampton Roads, "The facility will require staff for all program areas and vacancies will likely be announced as we are much closer to the open-date."

Citizens and visitors to the County may utilize the facility especially if they are YMCA members. Membership with the YMCA of South Hampton Roads is structured as a one-Y system where membership for one facility is access to all facilities (locally and nationwide). The membership rates  all have income-based rates available as needed for the community through the Open Doors financial assistance program.

We are well on our way to establishing a healthier Northampton County community in body, mind and spirit.  

Seating awaits the guests
Empty seats facing the construction site await the guests. 

Seats filled with guests
Showing up and caring about community is how things get done! 

Jean Flynn
Website Content Coordinator
Northampton County, VA