The Alleghany Highlands YMCA provides critical and wide-ranging services to the Alleghany Highlands region in western Virginia, which includes Alleghany, Bath and a portion of Botetourt Counties, the City of Covington, and the Towns of Clifton Forge and Iron Gate. The Y’s mission is to develop the total person, strengthen families, and improve local and global communities by putting Christian principles into practice through programs that help build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. The YMCA was founded as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in 1993, when community leaders realized a need for such an organization in the area.
Over its 27 years, the YMCA has had a considerable impact on the Alleghany Highlands community. The YMCA provides a number of important educational services, health and wellness services, facilities, and opportunities that would not otherwise be accessible to residents in a predominantly rural area.
Initially housed in the Covington Boys’ Home gymnasium, the YMCA in December 2007 opened a 37,000 square foot, full-service wellness facility located in the Alleghany Regional Commerce Center in Low Moor, Virginia. This main health and recreational facility provides a central location to the area it serves.
Health and wellness facilities include the area’s only full-size, handicap-accessible, indoor swimming pool, in which area second graders received free group swimming lessons and the Alleghany High School swim team conducted practices and meets prior to the pandemic. Over the past 13 years, more than five hundred children and teens have participated in the Y’s own competitive swim team program and hundreds more have learned to swim via private and group lessons. The swimming area also contains a sauna and whirlpool.
The gym and wellness facilities offer numerous opportunities for the general improvement of health for people of all ages, including a full court gymnasium, cardiovascular machines, strength training equipment, a free weights section, and locker rooms which accommodate special needs. The unique elevated walking track has assisted many individuals with rehabilitation programs following serious illnesses. In addition, the YMCA offers land and water group exercise classes, Stay and Play programs for children ages 6 months to eleven years of age, performing arts classes, specialty day camps, and both teenager and senior adult programs. The Low Moor facility provides an excellent place for area residents to renew themselves both physically and socially.