August News: Membership Matters More Than Ever


The Y has served our community for more than 130 years. We’ve been here in good times and bad, but COVID-19 is a crisis like no other.

With a 60% decline in operational revenue, unable to fully reopen, we are hurting.

As a recent New York Times article explains, nonprofit service organizations like the Y are providing a lifeline to the community’s most vulnerable during the pandemic, but now find themselves in financial jeopardy.

Think the Y is just a gym? It’s actually much, much more. Every lap you’ve ever swum at the Y has helped prevent a child from drowning. Every pickleball game has helped a single parent keep their job because they have safe, dependable childcare. And every downward dog in yoga class has helped keep thousands of children from going to bed hungry.

Charitable contributions have always supported our mission to ensure equitable access to water safety, childcare, healthy food, and physical activity. Now more than ever, membership dues and program fees help fill the funding gap. The gap is widening as revenue declines, despite drastic cost-cutting measures.

Still, we are working hard to hold on, because without the Y, the community will suffer even more.

Your dues, volunteer support, and financial donations have helped us accomplish great things since mid-March (see the infographic below for details).

When schools reopen with a combination of in-person and remote learning, the Y will be there to care for children. As supplemental unemployment benefits expire, we will be there to distribute fresh produce and meals to those in need. We’ll do it with your help, for as long as we can. If you continue to stay with us, we can get through this together and rebuild our community. Thank you for your support.

pandemic impact


collective good

Belonging to the Y has never meant more to our community. Longtime member and donor Natalie Shaw is choosing to stay with us because she feels that her support plays a vital part in meeting community needs.

The Y is an "important cog that holds our community together," Natalie says. "The Y is a vital part of my village. I feel like family there."

Natalie is a local real estate agent, and her husband, Greg, owns a company that provides STEM programming to children worldwide. "We've been members for over 20 years through thick and thin," she says. "It's our honor to support and be a part of the Y."

We are extremely grateful to the Shaws and to everyone who's staying committed to the Y in these uncertain times.



As the state’s largest provider of licensed school-age childcare, the YMCA of Western North Carolina is enhancing its childcare programs to meet the needs of working parents as area schools reopen under Plan B and Plan C.

The Y is working with its school partners to create a safe, flexible program that can accommodate changes to school plans and offer consistent care that meets children’s social, emotional, and academic needs for the 2020-2021 school year.

Starting Aug. 17, the Y will offer afterschool and full-day childcare options for the state’s Plan B (in-person and remote) and Plan C (fully remote). As always, the programs are affordable and accessible to all.

Learn more about our childcare options.


This fall, children and families are turning to the Y to support their academic success in virtual learning centers, and we need help equipping them with proper supplies. Each child needs their own supply kit because shared materials aren't permitted under current health and safety regulations.

We welcome donations of new, unopened:

• Earbuds (This is the highest priority, so kids can do virtual learning in a room with others in different classes.)

• Markers, Sharpies, colored pencils, No. 2 pencils

• Pencil sharpeners (individual and electric)

• Pencil pouches/bins, calculators

• Notebooks, glue sticks, erasers

• Children's scissors

• Calculators

• Tape (Scotch, masking, duct)

• Educational games for elementary-age students

We also need individual student desks for the YMCA Youth Services Center at Beaverdam. If you have any leads, please let us know.

Supplies will be distributed to children in YMCA childcare programs and at our mobile food markets. Please drop off supplies at any Y, or donate funds to help us buy supplies. Thank you for supporting kids!



The YMCA of Western North Carolina believes that racism is a public health crisis, and that our community must improve health outcomes to advance racial equity and justice. We pledge to work with Buncombe County Health and Human Services and other community partners to improve health outcomes by advancing racial equity and justice.

The Y is honored to join this unified advocacy effort to end racial injustice in all systems. It is imperative that our community leaders take meaningful action now to address the experiences of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). COVID-19 has amplified existing health inequities, exacerbating the unjust and avoidable disparities in health conditions, opportunities and outcomes between community members and groups because of the cumulative stressors, trauma, and unequal treatment caused by racism.

Read more of the Y's statement of support.


outdoor groupex

We continue to be excited and motivated by the opportunity to offer outdoor and virtual workouts for our members.

Across the association we have more than 25 virtual classes and 100 outdoor classes each week.

We’re working to identify what types, times and variety of classes will best serve you. During normal operating times, each center monitors their class participation and removes classes from the schedule if they drop below eight participants. We need to do the same for our outdoor and virtual classes to serve you well and to be efficient with our limited resources.

Reserving your spot is essential for several reasons, including weather issues, social distancing, and general communication. When we know you’re coming, we can plan accordingly and we can update you if things change. It’s also a courtesy to other members. Please reserve on our mobile app (download here) or on our website.

When only four people show up for a class, that tells us we need to reconsider what we’re offering and when. We’ll cancel a class if less than four people are registered, approximately 90 minutes before the class time, and we’ll notify you via email.

Thank you for your patience during these challenging times. We welcome your ideas and suggestions for ways to meet your changing needs. Please share your feedback with LK Paden.


chamber challenge

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's Chamber Challenge 5K is going virtual this year, but you can still prepare in person with the Y!

We’re honored to be the training sponsor for this annual event, and are excited to help you get off the couch and into shape. Our training is free, open to the public, and designed for ALL fitness levels.

“Before COVID, we ran a typical couch-to-5K training for the Challenge, but this is more like Quarantine-to-5K,” says Jesse Hyder, the YMCA personal trainer who leads the program. “Safety protocols are place, but we’ll still have fun getting ready for the race.”

Live training sessions start Tuesday, Aug. 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and continue each Tuesday for a total of six weeks. Participants are required to adhere to health and safety precautions to keep everyone safe. Learn more.

The training group will run the course during their last session on Sept. 8. Chamber Challenge participants will run or walk on the day of their choice, at their preferred time, between Sept. 14-25. Sign up for the Challenge today!


swim lessons

Want to learn how to be safe around the water? Want to develop your swimming skills? The Y's nationally certified swim instructors teach life skills that could save a life and will benefit students for a lifetime. We're now offering private and group swim lesson options for all ages. Learn more and sign up here.


fit tip

How you start your morning can have a big impact on the outcome of your day. A short yet simple routine can give you a sense of certainty and productivity, especially in a time of so much instability and change.

Try creating a 20-minute routine that you can practice every morning, even if you know your day is over- or under-scheduled. Experiment and find what works best for you. Some people find movement is best, while others enjoy being creative or having a spiritual practice.

A morning routine doesn't have to be elaborate, just something simple that nourishes you and gives you a foundation for your day.

Try workouts you can do from home using our various virtual Y options or sign up for our outdoor classes using our mobile app.