Hendersonville Family Y Names New Executive Director


Hendersonville, N.C., Sept. 22, 2020 – LoriKay “LK” Paden is full of energy and enthusiasm, qualities she will bring in abundance to her new role as executive director of the Hendersonville Family YMCA.

“She's all about positive energy, attitude, and spirit,” said Jesse Boeckermann of Montreat College, who recently nominated Paden for the ATHENA Award. “She exemplifies initiative in everything she does.”

The Illinois native has called Henderson County home since 2016, and comes to the Hendersonville Family Y after two years leading the YMCA at Mission Pardee Health Campus in Fletcher.

“I love the hometown feel of Henderson County,” Paden said. “The spirit of community, support and love shines through.”

While leading the Y at Mission Pardee, Paden grew membership and increased the number of support groups and classes available to people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer and arthritis. She’s excited about what’s next for the Hendersonville Family Y.

“The opportunities for growth are new for us,” she said. “As we overcome the pandemic, I’m inspired to help us to create a place of community for all. We all have to be determined to see things from a different lens and serve Henderson County like never before, with the highest quality of service and programs.”

Y now open for safe indoor and outdoor fitness

The Hendersonville Family Y reopened for indoor fitness earlier this month with new health and safety protocols.

“When we temporarily closed our facilities in March, we did so to protect the health and well-being of all our staff, volunteers, members, and program participants,” said Paden. “As we reopen indoors, we have the same commitment to keeping everyone safe.”

The Y’s safety precautions include frequent cleaning, health screenings, mask requirements and upgraded air filtration. With capacity limited to 30 percent, members have plenty of room for a socially distanced workout. The Y will continue to offer outdoor and virtual group exercise options.

Serving community outside the walls of the Y

Paden is excited that indoor fitness is back, but notes that the Y didn’t stop serving the community during its closure.

“We’re thrilled to reopen, but the pandemic has proven what we’ve always known – that the Y is much more than a gym and a place to swim,” Paden said. “As a nonprofit community benefit organization, our Y is about people – people from all backgrounds and walks of life who come together to improve their lives, nurture their families, and strengthen their community.

“While the pandemic closed us down physically, we never stopped caring for our community,” Paden said. “We provided emergency childcare for kids of essential workers, summer day camp, and virtual learning hubs. Here in Henderson County, we’ve served more than 23,000 pounds of free, fresh produce and 9,000 meals to over 1,600 families since the middle of March. And we kept in touch with our members to keep them strong and healthy with virtual and outdoor classes.”

Paden said she is grateful for the community's support of the Y and each other.

"Thank you for staying with us throughout these challenging times. You were here for your community when it needed it most, and the Y is still here for you,” Paden said.

More about LK Paden

LoriKay “LK” Paden holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health, physical education and recreation from Illinois State University. Her work experience includes more than 25 years serving in public parks and recreation, motivational speaker, trainer and consultant for the Office of Recreation and Park Services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has also taught courses at Montreat College, DePaul University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A member of Biltmore Church, she is an active member of the Fletcher Area Business Association, the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce, and serves on the Town of Fletcher Park and Recreation Advisory Board. Paden and her husband, Jim, live in Fletcher and have two adult children, Jolee and Justen.