Putting the ‘C’ back in YMCA

Published 1:39 pm Friday, July 13, 2012

Executive director Mary Beth Wyatt is excited about the changes taking place at Chilton County’s YMCA.

While she is enthusiastic about the countless repairs being made to improve the way the building looks on the outside, what Wyatt is most passionate about is the change that is occurring on the inside.

“We’re putting the ‘C’ back in our YMCA,” she explained.

Wyatt says that Christian values are why the YMCA exists, and she plans to be more intentional in sharing that. Even though the ‘C’ never really left, she admitted that lately it hasn’t had a strong presence. While they’ve had small projects along the way, their last big church partnership was around 10 years ago.

But Wyatt is making a point to change that. She hopes to partner with churches throughout the year and has specific plans for this fall.

Wyatt used this analogy to illustrate the Y’s new mindset: “It’s like swimming. Everyone can doggy paddle, but to do a breaststroke you have to be intentional about it. You have to know the move and do it on purpose, and when you do, everyone recognizes it.”

“You can be a YMCA and have Christian principles and it not be obvious.” Wyatt continued, “We plan to act in a way so everyone knows what we’re doing. Isn’t that the foundation of Christianity?”

Wyatt says they are currently in the process of giving the building a facelift, and, in addition to the renovations, they plan to paint Bible verses on the walls.

“It’s something small, but it’s a step we’re taking in the right direction.”

According to Wyatt, the city of Clanton donated 85 gallons of paint, and together they have repaired the roof and the bathrooms, fixed the insulation and vent fans, repainted the parking lot and even bought a new dumpster.

Though this is just the first step in what is sure to be a long journey, Wyatt is looking forward to what the future has in store.

“As soon as you walk in the door we want you to know that this is a loving, welcoming, Christian place you can bring your family,” said Wyatt. “This is the only exposure to Christianity some children will get. If one kid gets something positive out of all this, it was all worth it.”