Annual Campaign funds are used to widen access to many life-changing programs. You can designate your gift to any program you are passionate about. Read about our different areas of designation below.
Living in the digital age, young people often do not have opportunities to spend meaningful time in nature. The Go Outside, Grow Outside program seeks to break through this barrier by getting kids, teens and families outside and active. Through experiential learning, recreation and outdoor adventure, children deepen their connection to the natural world, strengthen confidence and enhance teambuilding skills. Blue Ridge also helps families visit the Mountain for meaningful intergenerational experiences. Getting families outside and having fun through challenge courses, team-building and arts and crafts allows for bonding and quality time together.
All of these experiences are made possible by support from the Annual Campaign. Donations to the Annual Campaign ensure that no child or family is denied a life-transforming Mountaintop experience simply based on financial need.
At its heart, Leaders’ School trains youth in the principles and philosophy of YMCA physical education to build their self-esteem, foster leadership development, strengthen Christian values and enhance the teaching skills and physical fitness of participants. Each summer over 700 teens from almost a dozen southeastern states descend on YMCA Blue Ridge for the honor of being a “Leader”.
The sprawling campus and inspirational surroundings of YMCA Blue Ridge provide the perfect setting for Leaders’ School. Based on a six-year curriculum, dedicated YMCA staff and volunteers teach classes in character development, physical wellness, and coaching methods to the teens. At the end of the week, Leaders leave the Mountain not only energized about healthy living but also instilled with greater confidence and the leadership ability forged from a week of character education and leadership training
YMCA Conference on National Affairs (CONA) teaches young people about important public issues, the democratic form of government, and the vital importance of civic engagement.
Every summer, over 600 teenage delegates from more than 30 states present carefully researched policy proposals and engage in intensive discussion and debate with other understanding young people in a mock government format. Thanks to the dedicated conference leaders from the YMCA of Greater Montgomery and the platform YMCA Blue Ridge offers, thousands of National Affairs delegates have strengthened their insights and skills to become outstanding civic and business leaders.
While delegates come away from the experience as better-informed citizens, the real impact resides in the lifelong relationships forged from a week of immersive collaboration and passionate discussion.
The YMCA Christian Values Conference brings together over 400 teenagers of diverse backgrounds from across the country for a life-changing experience focused on spiritual growth, character development, and peer bonding.
Surrounded by caring adults who are dedicated to mentoring teens, participants deepen their faith and learn positive life skills in a safe, nurturing Christian environment. Daily family discussion groups provide moral guidance and instill the importance of being an example to peers on and off the Mountain, while challenging team activities and one-of-a-kind games help foster a fun, welcoming atmosphere and lifelong relationships. The breathtaking natural setting of Blue Ridge complements the experience by serving as a constant reminder of God’s creation.
While the conference only lasts a week, its vision is more far-reaching: to build stronger communities and prepare the next generation of leaders by helping teens sharpen their moral beliefs and apply the values and lessons learned on the Mountain once they are home.
Through the LIVESTRONG Cancer Survivors program, we create weekend retreat experiences every spring for cancer survivors who have completed the LIVESTRONG exercise program at their hometown Y. Through expressive arts, nutrition classes, worship opportunities, and group discussions, our goal is to encourage the hearts and restore the souls of these special guests. Thanks to support from the Annual Campaign, Blue Ridge offers this experience at no cost to cancer survivors. This year 60 cancer survivors and 10 spouses joined us for a weekend of fellowship, reflection, learning, and renewal.
Our staff is our family. They come from many different backgrounds and offer a variety of gifts and talents. Each summer nearly 100 college-age young adults join us on the Mountain for 8 life-changing weeks. This year we welcomed staff from 10 different countries and 17 different states. We are able to impact thousands of lives each summer, so we rely on the hard work of these service-minded leaders to help us enrich the experience of our guests.
In return, we want the staff to have a meaningful experience while they are with us. We offer leadership programs, cultural exchange and learning opportunities, and discounted scenic trips throughout the Southeast. Many of these programs would not be possible without support from the Annual Campain.