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Rocky Mount, Va. (June 8, 2023) – Water safety is a top priority and the Y is here to ensure that individuals of all ages can enjoy the water with confidence. With a comprehensive range of swim lessons and a fantastic opportunity to experience the swim team, the Y is committed to promoting water safety, skill development, and an active lifestyle for all.

The Y is proud to offer both group and private swim lessons tailored to various age groups and skill levels. These lessons provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals to enhance their swimming abilities, learn vital water safety skills, and build their confidence in the water. Our experienced and certified swim instructors are dedicated to creating engaging and enjoyable lessons that cater to each participant's unique needs. Whether you are a beginner or looking to refine your technique, the Y has the perfect swim lesson program for you.

"Our goal is to empower individuals with the necessary skills to enjoy the water safely and confidently," said Kameron Kitts, Aquatics Director.

In addition to swim lessons, the Y invites youth ages 4 to 19 to dive into the exciting world of competitive swimming with a free trial of the swim team. During the first week of every month, individuals can experience the camaraderie, discipline, and thrill of being a part of the swim team at no cost. This unique opportunity allows swimmers to get a taste of the training, coaching, and teamwork involved in competitive swimming.

By participating in the Y's swim lessons and swim team trial, individuals can develop essential water safety skills, improve their swimming abilities, and embrace a healthy and active lifestyle. The Y is committed to ensuring that individuals of all ages have the knowledge and confidence to stay safe in and around water.

To learn more about the Y's swim lesson programs, the free trial of the swim team, or to register, call (540)489-9622 or contact Kameron Kitts at



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Rocky Mount, Va. (February 10, 2023) – The Franklin County Family YMCA helped feed the community this January by holding a canned food drive. Nearly 600 canned goods were donated and delivered to God and Food Provisions of Rocky Mount and Lake Christian Ministries at Smith Mountain Lake.

“Community members who donated at least three canned goods in January got to join the Y for free,” said Jessica Thomason, Branch and Membership Director, Franklin County Family YMCA. “We surpassed our goals this joining special, almost making it to our pre-pandemic membership numbers. I think a large part of that has to do with people knowing that they’re helping a neighbor while getting a good deal!”

Drop boxes were located in the lobby at each location of the Franklin County Y – Rocky Mount and Smith Mountain Lake. Food items collected included spaghetti sauce/pasta, peanut butter, jelly, canned/boxed soups and meals, canned vegetables/fruits, tuna fish, and other canned meats. With support, community members and the Y helped hundreds of families.

“Our members showed so much support during our drive, which brought in a significant amount of canned goods. Expanding our reach and helping the community is our number one goal,” said Andrea Fansler, Branch Director, Smith Mountain Lake YMCA.

February 13th – 17th, the YMCA will be hosting a member appreciation week to thank everyone for the effort to support the community. Each day tables will be set up in the lobby with gifts of appreciation. Members will also have the opportunity to win a free semi-annual membership if they correctly answer YMCA trivia questions that will be posted on the Y’s social media pages throughout the month of February.

To learn more about the Y’s community outreach efforts or for information on other programs please contact or call (540)489-9622. 


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Rocky Mount, Va. (November 28, 2022) – Starting in the summer of 2017, the Franklin County Family YMCA began offering an adaptive swim program for children and adults with varying physical or mental needs.

Known as Adaptive Swim for All, the program is led by Kameron Kitts, the Y’s aquatics director, and other YMCA aquatics staff. The Franklin County High School special education program participants are able to take field trips to the Y to participate in lessons that fall under Adaptive Swim for All guidelines. Students enjoy between one to three hours in the Cooper Aquatics center at the Rocky Mount Y.

“I just want to give a huge thank you to the YMCA staff and Kameron for arranging my students to come for swimming lessons. When we first started coming to the pool, many students were uncomfortable. After attending for the 4th time, the students have such an amazing time and enjoy themselves. It is such a pleasure to see our kids in a relaxing fun environment. Many students are able to get out of wheelchairs they sit in all day and it shows on their face how happy they are. Thank you so much for putting smiles on our kids' faces and love in their hearts,” said Tiffany Sproles, FCPS teacher.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the water. This program ensures that all children and adults have that opportunity and can learn at their own pace in a fun environment,” said Kitts.

The Y continues to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. There are a variety of programs to choose from, including group lessons, mommy and me classes and swim team. All teach life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing, skills that last a lifetime.

“The Y teaches people of all ages and backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives, it builds confidence,” said Linda Allen, YMCA swim instructor.

As part of the Y’s commitment to keep people safe in and around the water, the Franklin County Family YMCA provides scholarships for swim instruction and water safety to underserved children and adults in our community through their financial assistance program.

To learn more about aquatics or other programs please contact the Y at (540)489-9622 or at


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Rocky Mount, Va. (December 7, 2022) – The Franklin County Family YMCA organized a campaign called Keeping the County Warm that included a coat drive the month of November to help county residents this winter season.

The Y’s generous members were able to provide 39 children’s coats, 26 adult coats, 6 shoes, 6 scarves, 8 hats, 7 pairs of gloves that were donated to Stepping Stone Mission and Trinity Mission Health and Rehab of Rocky Mount.

“Strengthening the community through programs like this stays true to the ultimate mission of the YMCA – making sure our neighbors are supported,” says Kevin McAlexander, CEO of the Franklin County YMCA, “We’re thrilled to once again partner with local organizations to meet the needs of community members.”

The Y, in addition to its mission work in swim, youth development, childcare and senior programs, also hosts food drives, blood drives and much more. To learn more about this and other available programs visit or call (540)489-9622.

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Rocky Mount, Va. (December 20, 2022) – The Franklin County Family YMCA will make the holidays brighter for more than 140 deserving children and 120 local seniors through its annual Holiday Toy and Stocking Drive. Starting the end of November, the YMCA accepted new, unwrapped toys and gifts for children and seniors.

“We have an awesome community that loves helping each other out. The Y’s members are eager to participate in the angel tree and stockings for seniors program because they know how good it feels to be of service, especially during the holiday season,” said Jamie Stump, Childcare Director, Franklin County Family YMCA.

The gifts for children included outfits, shoes, toys and books while the gifts for seniors included simple puzzle books, stress balls, socks and toiletries. The seniors' gifts were delivered to Rocky Mount Health and Rehabilitation Center and the angel tree gifts were distributed to all of the elementary schools in the county.

“Getting gifts in the hands of people who may not receive any others during the holiday season fills the Y staff with a beautiful holiday spirit,” said Jessica Thomason, Branch/Membership Director, Rocky Mount YMCA.

The drive was a collaborative effort with local businesses including Cornerstone Building Products who sponsored 27 angels, Roanoke Water Authority who sponsored 8 angels, Trinity Women’s Episcopal Group Church who also sponsored 8 angels and United Health Care who provided all of the stockings for seniors.

“Our local partnerships allow for greater engagement in the community, increasing the impact we have on those who need support the most. We can’t thank these local businesses enough for their consideration and faith in the Y’s programs,” said Kevin McAlexander, CEO of the Franklin County Family YMCA.

In January, the YMCA will continue its efforts to support the community by hosting a canned food drive. Anyone who donates at least three canned goods will get their first month of membership for free.

To learn more about the Y’s community outreach efforts or for information on other programs please contact or by calling (540)489-9622. 


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Rocky Mount, VA (October 24, 2022) – The Franklin County Family YMCA Riptide swim team had a great weekend of swimming in Lynchburg at the Jamerson YMCA. Swimmers competed with over 250 from Cavalier Aquatics - Piedmont YMCA, Lynchburg YMCA, Martinsville YMCA, Southside Virginia Family YMCA, and YMCA of Virginia's Blue Ridge in the Lynchburg October Invitational this past Saturday and Sunday.

The team had three swimmers qualify for the Upper Southeast Regional YMCA Championship meet in Duncan, SC scheduled in March with new personal best times. Issac Anderson qualified in the 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle, Alec Dow qualified in the 50 freestyle and Landon Akers qualified in the 200 breaststroke. Swimmers must qualify for each event they compete in at USRYC meet.

Other notable achievements - Isaac Anderson cut a total of 27.56 seconds earning new personal best times in five events. Out of eight events Caroline Beauchamp swam two new events for the first time in competition and gained new personal best times in the other six events, cutting a total of 55.05  seconds over the weekend. Hunter Beauchamp loses 39.55 seconds while earning new personal best times in six events.  Alec Dow improved on all three of his events, cutting 22.72 seconds. 

The Riptides had four team records broken this weekend as well! Caroline Beauchamp set the new 9-10 record for the 400 IM with a time of 6:07.46.  The previous record of 7:06.41 was set by Allison Teer in 2013. Isaac Anderson beats a 22 year old record in the 200 Free with a time of 2:02.47.  Swimmer Chris Sampson held the record since 2000 with a time of 2:03.92.  Anderson also improved his own record set in March of this year in his 100 Fly and he set a new team record in the 200 IM with a time of 2:19.54, a record set by Landon Akers in February this year. 

The Riptides will be traveling to Martinsville on Saturday, October 29th to swim in a dual meet with Martinsville and Altavista. They will then go to Bedford for another dual meet with Alleghany Highlands YMCA, Altavista YMCA and Bedford Family YMCA on November 5th.


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Rocky Mount, Va. (October 18, 2022) – The Franklin County Family YMCA hosted a Trunk or Treat event on October 14th. The event featured multiple decorated vehicles for community members to visit and a costume party.

“Thank you to everyone who came out and participated in this year’s Trunk or Treat. It was great to see everyone dressed up! Whether you came in a costume, set up a trunk, donated candy, or just came to socialize, the Y is very thankful. None of this would have been possible without the help of staff and community,” said Karli Johnson, Youth, Family and Fitness Director, The Franklin County Family YMCA.

The decorated vehicles included a witches corner and football stadium. The costumes ranged from angels and bananas to scary clowns and scare crows. It was a family friendly event that was enjoyed by both adults and children.

“It is always awesome to be able to offer these fun events for the community. Seeing the kids’ costumes and the joy on their faces when getting candy is priceless,” said Jessica Thomason, Branch/Membership Director, of the Rocky Mount YMCA

To learn more about our events or other youth programs please contact Karli Johnson at or by calling (540)489-9622. 


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Rocky Mount, Va. (August 29, 2022) – Everything the Franklin County Family YMCA does is grounded in meeting the unique needs of the communities it serves – and it can't be done alone. The Y is partnering with Wheel Love, an organization committed to offering the wheelchair based community a chance to participate in a wide variety of activities including kayaking.

“We are working to provide more activities for folks in our community who may have congenital or acquired neurologic deficits. We try to create opportunities for people to get out and get moving doing things that are active and fun in a supportive social setting. Our hope is to allow people to have different and safe experiences as a group,” says Kellen Smith, Wheel Love Representative.

On September 10th, Wheel Love will be hosting a kayaking event in the Cooper Aquatics Center of the Rocky Mount YMCA. This all day event will take place on one half of the lap pool.

“This is the perfect community partnership and something the Y is honored to host,” said Kameron Kitts, YMCA Aquatics Director. “Through these types of programs, participants get to experience something that may otherwise feel unachievable. Wheel Love is a wonderful organization and, in the future, we hope to expand the programs we are able to provide to the community.”

The Y will be hosting another special needs focused program called I Am Limitless on September 17th from 10:00am to 11:30am that will give participants an opportunity to try a variety of group exercise classes that the Franklin County Family YMCA offers.

For more information on programs including private swim lessons, or joining our team of dedicated swim professionals, please contact Aquatics Director, Kameron Kitts by email at or call (540)489-9622.


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Rocky Mount, Va. (May 24, 2022) – Known as “America’s Swim Instructor,” more than a million children and teens learn to swim every year at the Y. Once completing swim lessons, many kids enjoy the water recreationally for the rest of their lives. For those who want to take their swimming to an even higher level, the Franklin County Family YMCA offers competitive swimming with the Riptide swim team.

Last weekend, 11 swimmers traveled to Greensboro to represent the FCFY Riptide swim team at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in the YBAC Spring Invitational. Swimmers were able to compete in a Long Course (50 meter) pool, most of them for the first time. In the past Riptide swimmers have only been able to compete in Short Course (25 yard) pools. The opportunity to go and compete at the same venue and in the same pool that, a month prior at the Phillips 66 International Team Trials, one world record and two American records were broken, was something that not only motivated the Riptide swimmers, but is an experience that will be cherished for a long time.

“The swimmers performed well and set baseline times to work towards improving over the summer as they continue their summer LC season. The Riptide swim team is the natural progression from Safety Around Water and Y Swim Lessons, encouraging children and teens to continue their love of swimming while providing an ideal environment for cognitive, physical and social-emotional development,” said Kameron Kitts, YMCA Aquatics Director. “Through our competitive aquatics program, participants experience achievement, feel a sense of belonging and build supportive relationships.”

Nationally, the Y is a leader in competitive swimming and has been for more than 100 years when the first national YMCA swimming records were filed in 1907. Today, over 60,000 athletes, 2,100 registered coaches and 5,100 trained officials are part of competitive swimming and diving at the Y. Additionally, 1,200 Ys have competitive aquatics programs and more than 250 YMCAs have a Masters Swim Program.

To get involved in the Riptide swim team, contact (540)489-9622 or



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Rocky Mount, Va. (May 18, 2022) – The Franklin County Family YMCA is hosting a Community Block Party on May 28th from 12:00pm to 5:00pm at its Rocky Mount location. The Block Party will be free and open to the public and will include goat yoga, kids activities, food trucks, local vendors and more!

“The Y is committed to strengthening our community and we couldn’t do it without all of our wonderful community members. We’re excited to announce that our membership has reached over 2,000 membership units, which is back to where we were pre-pandemic. We hope that everyone in the community will help us celebrate
this milestone and the fact that our community is able to be together again,” said Jessica Thomason, Branch and Membership Director of the Rocky Mount YMCA.

The vendors attending include The Chilled Spot, Unique Memories, K and K Kettle Korn, Scentsy, Self Love, Theragoats Yoga ($20 to register email, ARK Kreations, Magnabilities and Pruvit Ketones and Woodfections.

“Getting the chance to bring the community together and offer a fun and safe environment for everyone is really what makes it all worth it,” said Karli Johnson, Youth, Family and Fitness Director for the YMCA.

The day will start at 12 noon with family friendly programming developed for kids of all ages. Available activities will include multiple bounce houses, music and face painting. Join the community that’s helping kids soar through every age and stage for $0 the day of the event.

Other activities include demonstrations of Trapeze Yoga, a specialty class offered at the Y’s Smith Mountain Lake location. Trapeze yoga takes traditional yoga off the mat and into an aerial swing that deepens stretches and increases fun!

The Community Block Party is free and open to all ages.

To learn more about this event or other community services the YMCA offers contact the Y at (540)489-9622 or by emailing


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Rocky Mount, Va. (February 24, 2022) – One Friday every month, the Franklin County Family YMCA hosts a community event to inspire families to keep their minds and bodies active. The Y’s new initiative to improve health and well-being for kids and families began on January 14th with the first Family Fun Night event that featured activities such as games, bounce houses, face painting, tie dye and food available by Duck Donuts to motivate local families to have fun and connect with community.

“The Y believes in the potential of all children, and events that keep kids moving and laughing are as important as any other developmental skill,” said Karli Johnson, Youth, Family and Fitness Director, the Franklin County Family YMCA.

The second Family Fun Night at the Franklin County Family YMCA took place on March 18, 2022 where attendance more than doubled from 35 its first month to 80. The March event hosted Ella’s Eats food truck and included an obstacle course blow up that was enjoyed by both adults and children. Games included corn hole and giant connect four.

“The Y is a place for families to come together and participate in healthy activities. At Family Fun Night, we put the emphasis on fun, because that’s exactly what the world needs more of,” said Jessica Thomason, Branch/Membership Director, the Rocky Mount YMCA.

The next Family Fun Night will be held on March 18th, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and will include a St. Patrick’s Day themed dodgeball tournament for ages 13 and up and food available by Mama Joe’s food truck. Dodgeball teams will be comprised of five people at a $15 fee and is open to members and potential members of the YMCA. If participants are under the age of 18 and are non-members, they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Research shows that without access to out-of-school physical and learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Family Fun Night is a powerful reminder not to let children idle away their days. Instead, the Y hopes to focus on wowing them with their potential and make one Friday a month memorable by staying active and laughing with family and friends.

To learn more about our Family Fun Nights or other youth programs please contact Karli Johnson at or by calling (540)489-9622.


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 Rocky Mount, Va. (February 10, 2022) – For seniors at Franklin Health Care, the YMCA children who participated in Monday’s Fun Club provided some extra love for this Valentine’s Day.

41 children in the Franklin County Family YMCA Fun Club program decorated 100 valentines on February 7th. The valentines will be delivered to seniors at Franklin Health Care center on February 14th.

“It’s a good thing to help others and be kind, and provide a sense of community to people who may feel isolated or lonely,” said Jamie Stump, YMCA Childcare Director. “Everyone deserves to feel a little special on Valentine’s Day.”

Lexi Hall, 8 years old, and student at Boones Mill Elementary focused intently as she finished off her first Valentine’s Day card.

All of the YMCA’s youth programs incorporate outreach projects to support its Character Counts curriculum. Character Counts uses the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship as a foundational strategy for development while having fun! These values were identified by a group of youth development experts in 1992 as core ethical values that transcend cultural, religious, and socioeconomic differences.

“I think it’s a really nice thing,” Lexi said. “I think it’ll make people very happy and make them smile. I like Valentine’s Day and seeing all of the flowers, chocolates and teddy bears in the stores too.”



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At the Franklin County Family YMCA, child safety is an utmost priority. As such, we’re proud to highlight and participate in National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Five Days of Action (April 18-22), both of which are designed to raise awareness about child abuse prevention.

When we know how abuse can happen, see the warning signs, and respond quickly to prevent it, we can foster a culture of child abuse prevention in our Y community.

Guided by the Five Days of Action’s three tenets—know, see, and respond—we encourage you to check out the 5 Days of Action website, which is full of resources on how to keep kids safe in public spaces and online.

Together, we can take an informed, proactive approach to child abuse prevention, doing our part to keep the Y a safe, supportive haven for our community’s kids.


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Rocky Mount, Va. (December 23, 2021) – The Franklin County Family YMCA organized a community We Care Campaign that included a Veterans day fundraiser, coat drive, canned food drive and Angel Tree during the months of November and December to help county residents this winter season.

The Y’s generous members were able to provide $96 toward our scholarship program for returning Veterans, 105 non-perishable food items, 36 coats, and gifts for 60 children to be distributed to families in need this holiday season.

Food items and coats will be delivered to the local soup kitchen and Franklin County Department of Social Services. The Angel Tree gifts, which included 50 boxes of toys from the National Guard in Rocky Mount, have been distributed to children in elementary schools across the county. Funds raised with the Y’s flag sales for Veteran’s Day will go to helping local veterans who need assistance with their Y membership.

“Our members and staff are so amazing and generous. The Y as an organization works every day to make Franklin County a stronger community. Giving everyone a chance to help their neighbor, not only enriches the lives of those in need but brings back the true meaning of the holidays,” says Connor Matherly the Rocky Mount YMCA’s Membership Services Lead/Manager.

The Y, in addition to its mission work in swim, youth development, childcare and senior programs, also hosts food drives, coat drives, blood donations and much more.

To learn more about this and other available programs visit or call (540)489-9622.

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Rocky Mount, Va. (November 16, 2021) – November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and the Franklin County Family YMCA is encouraging Franklin County residents to understand their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and steps to take to prevent the disease.

Following a year of reduced activity due to COVID-19, statistics show prediabetes rates are on the rise. Currently, 88 million American adults (more than 1 in 3) have prediabetes but less than 16 percent know they have the condition. In addition to the high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, people with prediabetes are also at risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

During National Diabetes Awareness Month, we encourage all community members to take control of their health and learn their risk for type 2 diabetes by visiting your local Y and taking steps to prevent developing the disease.

“A new study from the University of Michigan revealed that over one third of Americans put off healthcare during the pandemic,” said Andrea Fansler, Branch Director, Smith Mountain Lake YMCA. “This makes it imperative for community members to be aware of the health risks of prediabetes. The Y is here to help.”

To learn more about the Y’s healthy living programs, please visit or call (540)489-9622.

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Rocky Mount, Va. (September 20, 2021) — The Franklin County Family YMCA has named Karli Johnson as its new Youth, Family and Fitness Director. In her new role Karli will be responsible for taking the lead on increasing the Y’s programing that focuses on keeping families in our community active.

“During our search for a new youth, family and fitness director, we looked at candidates from throughout Franklin County but Karli stood out among the rest. Her energy and vision for the Franklin County Family YMCA is exactly what we were looking for. With Karli’s experience and passion towards community wellness, we are convinced that the Franklin County Family YMCA will continue to be the leader in youth, family and fitness programming,” said Kevin McAlexander, CEO of the Franklin County Family YMCA.  

Karli graduated from Radford University in 2020 as a first generation college student with honors - Cum Laude, and comes to the Y with a BS degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism with a concentration in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership. While there, Karli created programs on and off campus including afterschool programs, teambuilding, and interpretation.

“I am thrilled to join the YMCA family,” said Karli Johnson, Youth, Family and Fitness Director at the Rocky Mount YMCA. “I’m originally from Deweyville, Texas and traveled quite a bit until my family settled in Franklin County around 2010. I love living in an area that has so much to do outdoors. Whether it is hiking, kayaking or riding four-wheelers, but I also love that the Y offers programs that are accessible all year round, such as swim lessons, youth sports and camp. I’m excited to be able to give back to our community with innovative programming and am looking forward to opportunities to better serve our neighbors.”

For more information on programming visit or call (540)489-9622.


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Rocky Mount, Va. (September 1, 2021) – The Franklin County Family YMCA is launching Y360 on September 1, 2021 alongside their pay the day joining special. The video on-demand and live streaming service brings the Y experience seamlessly to mobile devices, TVs, streaming devices and the web.


“A new virtual only membership option with Y360 allows people to pursue a healthier mind, body, and spirit at their own pace, on their schedule, and in any location. It will include two monthly visits to our facility and is perfect for anyone just starting their health journey or for people looking for an in-home option,” said Karli Johnson, Youth, Family and Fitness Director of the Rocky Mount YMCA.


Y360 matches any on-the-go lifestyle, delivering talent from instructors across the country in hundreds of            on-demand exercise, nutrition, youth, senior and family classes.  Whether it’s in your home or at the Y, finding the lifestyle choices that work for you is easier with new programs and live-streamed videos added weekly for users to explore.  


“With many affected by COVID-19, we saw a need for an innovative way to offer programs that could be accessed from anywhere,” said Kevin McAlexander, YMCA CEO. “Each community member deserves health improvement tools and we’re excited to expand our capacity to do that with Y360.”


In 2020 YMCA staff led the way in offering virtual programs from their living rooms, back yards, and garages where they created and shared videos on Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram in an effort to stay open when their physical locations were closed. When the YMCA’s doors reopened the desire to continue connecting with people in new innovative ways led the Franklin County Family YMCA to offer Y360 to the community and it goes beyond just offering workouts with an array of youth offerings from culinary arts to camp activities.


“The app is filled with workout options including boxing, yoga, bootcamp, strength, and core. My favorite so far has been the bootcamp classes with Rachel. There is something on this app for every fitness level,” said Alice Smith, Franklin County resident and long time YMCA member.


Join the YMCA in September and pay a joining fee in the amount of the date you join. The Y also has financial assistance for individuals and families who qualify for income based pricing. If you are interested in learning more about YMCA360 or membership options call (540)489-9622 or visit


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Rocky Mount, Va. (July 28, 2021) – Franklin County Family YMCA wants to ensure that water safety doesn’t get lost in Franklin County’s eagerness to reopen this summer. As temperatures rise, kids want to cool off, whether that is in home pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, or oceans. This means the risk of drowning is as prevalent as ever. On August 16th the Y will be providing swim lessons to the children who missed out on school term swim sessions last year due to COVID-19.

“With the help of donations from local businesses and community members, we’re preparing to teach approximately nine hundred second and third graders invaluable water safety and swimming skills this year. Last year, we were unable to run our typical second grade swim program and want to make sure that all students have the opportunity to learn water safety,” said Kameron Kitts, Aquatics Director at the Rocky Mount YMCA.

The local businesses providing support include Carilion, CAPPs, American National Bank, Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia and Cooper Classics. The Y is encouraging other businesses and organizations in the area to support the cost of the program through tax deductible donations.

"With watersports and other activities in and near the water becoming more and more popular, now is the time to teach our kids how to be safe in and around the water.  Drowning is one of the top five causes of accidental deaths for kids ages 1-14. With the swim program and the support of our community we are able to reach a large number of these high risk kids who otherwise wouldn't be able to participate in our regularly offered lessons," said Kitts.   

During this year long program, each elementary school in the county will spend two weeks learning essential life saving swim skills in a fun and safe environment at the YMCA’s aquatic center. The Y is also encouraging parents to play an active role in promoting water safety and providing five tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all.

  1. Never swim alone or without a water watcher. When children are swimming, make sure they are actively supervised at all times. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty, or where a responsible adult agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions.
  2. Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach at all times.
  3. Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.
  4. Wear a life jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  5. Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling the rescuer underwater. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.

If you or your business is interested in supporting the swim program or learning more about it, please contact Kameron Kitts at (540)489-9622 or



About the Franklin County Family YMCA: The Franklin County YMCA, a registered non-profit organization, plays an important part in Franklin County by offering an array of family and community oriented services at its  facilities in Rocky Mount and  Smith Mountain Lake, including childcare, fitness, group exercise, summer camp, swimming, tennis, pickleball, racquetball, and a variety of other activities and events. These services are related to its mission of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

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Rocky Mount, Va. (February 5, 2021) – The Franklin County Family YMCA will host a Swim-a-Thon on February 22-23, 2021 to raise funds for the Riptide swim team. Riptide swimmers will be reaching out to community members to secure pledges for new equipment.

“Swimmers can get pledges from anywhere! Pledges can be made by family, friends, parents, co-workers, or local businesses. The goal is to be creative and get as many pledges as possible, but the swimmers are encouraged to raise at least $100,” says Kameron Kitts, Franklin County YMCA Aquatics Director.

To maximize its impact and to include all of the community, the Y is also looking for volunteers to help count lengths swam. The swim will take place during the teams normal practice times and different prizes will be awarded to swimmers who make it to at least 100 lengths and to those that make all 200 lengths. The swimmer who secures the most donations will win a grand prize. After the Swim-a-Thon, swimmers will have one week to collect their pledges.

“The money raised during the event will go to improving the Riptide experience. The teams current goals are to upgrade the touchpads and purchase bleachers for seating during swim meets,” says Kitts.

For more information on this or to volunteer for the event please contact Kameron Kitts at (540)489-9622 or

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About the Franklin County Family YMCA: The Franklin County YMCA, a registered non-profit organization, plays an important part in Franklin County by offering an array of family and community oriented services at its three facilities in Rocky Mount, Smith Mountain Lake, and Ferrum, including childcare, fitness, group exercise, summer camp, swimming, tennis, pickleball, racquetball, and a variety of other activities and events. These services are related to its mission of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. 


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Rocky Mount, Va. (January 26, 2021) – The Franklin County Family YMCA is committed to providing meaningful programs and services to help maintain and improve health and well-being. As a part of these efforts, the Y has partnered with UnitedHealthcare to provide a wellness experiences to the community that goes beyond the basics to help people live healthier every day.

Renew Active, UnitedHealthcare's gold standard Medicare fitness program for mind and body, is now being offered by the Franklin County Family YMCA. This program is available to people enrolled in most Medicare Advantage plans, Renew Active offers access to both the Rocky Mount and Smith Mountain lake YMCA locations at no additional cost.  

“We’re so excited to offer a new membership option to our community. Renew Active provides eligible community members with access to either of our YMCA locations at no cost! Plan holders of Medicare Advantage Plans and Supplement Plans insured by United Healthcare Insurance can use the Renew Active program. Eligible members can use all the services that are part of a standard Y membership,” says Jessica Thomason, Branch Director.

Staying active is not only good for your body, it’s also good for your mind. The Y provides programs designed for both, with the goal of helping every community member reach their fitness goals. To find out if you’re eligible, call your health plan’s Customer Service Toll-Free number. The telephone number is on the back of your member ID card.

For more information on this and other membership programs at the Franklin County YMCA please contact Jessica Thomason at (540)489-9622 or

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About the Franklin County Family YMCA: The Franklin County YMCA, a registered non-profit organization, plays an important part in Franklin County by offering an array of family and community oriented services at its three facilities in Rocky Mount, Smith Mountain Lake, and Ferrum, including childcare, fitness, group exercise, summer camp, swimming, tennis, pickleball, racquetball, and a variety of other activities and events. These services are related to its mission of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.


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