Lunenburg County YMCA was first opened in 1989 in Bridgewater on Dominion Street, to meet a demand for quality, affordable child care in Lunenburg County and to fill other community needs. After moving to the Bridgewater Plaza, the YMCA began to offer fitness and health programs and expanded its childcare services.
In 1995 the YMCA moved into 416 King St. in Bridgewater. Although this move significantly expanded its fitness and health programs, rapid growth and demand for new programs quickly resulted in the facility becoming woefully inadequate.
In the year 2000 the YMCA and the Nova Scotia Community College formed a partnership based on shared values and mission for serving the community. Two years later, on September 10, 2002 they entered into an agreement to work together towards the construction of a new YMCA on the NSCC Campus in Bridgewater. More than $990,000 was raised to build the new facility, which was officially opened by The Honourable Myra A. Freeman on May 4th, 2005.
Speaking with the Parent Advisory Committee early in the year, Lunenburg County YMCA formed an agreement with local education services. Sharing a vision to promote personal growth as individuals and members of the community, a thriving after school program within the walls of Hebbville Academy emerged.
During thorough assessment by our Board of Directors, a decision was made to grow a new after school program into a familiar area for Lunenburg County YMCA – 416 King St. Bridgewater. This development notably improved our ability to meet the increased demand for quality child care services in Bridgewater.
Without space at the High Street location to provide a Youth Centre, the King Street after-school centre became an ideal location to offer free programming that benefit youth of Lunenburg County. In November, YMCA officials marked the official opening of its King Street Youth Centre with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and the unveiling of a display acknowledging supporters who backed the project. Funding partner representatives from Bridgewater, the Municipality of Lunenburg, Lunenburg County Community Fund, United Way and the community health board addressed the event. YMCA Youth Leader Emily Seymour told told those in attendance that “it was important that youth be involved with all the aspects of the planning of the youth centre, including presenting to the town and municipal councils so that local government understood our vision, to quote a fellow youth leadership corps member, a place with no drama and no judgment.”
After a year of operation the members of the Lunenburg County YMCA and the Fundy YMCA agreed to a name change which better reflects their current operation. At special membership meetings held in Bridgewater and Cornwallis, YMCA of Southwest Nova Scotia was adopted as the name for the governing organization for the Lunenburg County YMCA and Fundy YMCA.
The name change reflects the joint operation of the two organizations under one management and governance organization. Each will continue to operate as Fundy YMCA and Lunenburg County YMCA in their respective communities. One Board is responsible for the governance of the two organizations.
Bethe Earle and Lawrence Gardner, two members of the Fundy YMCA were recently elected to serve on the Board. Both played an important role in the strategic planning meeting that identified the importance of the name change.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Elspeth McLean-Wile, enthusiastically remarked, “our work will continue to build on the YMCA mission of having a healthier community in mind, body, and spirit. We look forward to the new challenges that lie ahead and remain steadfast in our commitment to the Y being a vital part of life in Southwest Nova Scotia. Our name change reflects the bigger role we see the organization playing in serving the communities of our region.”