Decades of Impact

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Our History

The YMCA has been active in Waynesboro since the late 1940’s and had several rental locations before the current facility was opened in 1967. Through the generosity of Buz Dawbarn, who donated his home and
1.9 acres, and with the civic leadership of Paul Freed (the local Ford dealer) and B.L. Copeland (president of Basic-Witz Furniture), a campaign was conducted that raised the funds needed to build a gym and pool which are still in service today.

Twenty-three years later, in 1989, the Dawbarn home was replaced with an additional gym, group fitness studio, and workout areas, to create the current YMCA facility.

In 2007, the Waynesboro YMCA Foundation was created and has grown to hold 2.5 million in assets from 40 living members who have included the YMCA in their estates. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided over $500,000 in support of the Y’s mission.

Since the opening of our facility, the Waynesboro Y, which started as a community center, has now become the center of our community!

We provide individuals and families with health and wellness programming, as well as affordable childcare. Our Y offers a variety of fitness activities, such as playing basketball and pickleball, learning to swim and swimming competitively, in addition to numerous youth and adult classes. We offer summer camps, lifeguard training, as well as programs in gymnastics, dance, and martial arts. We are also proud to sponsor countless community leadership initiatives.

An Experience of a Lifetime. A Lifetime of Friendships. Join the Y Today

Decades of Impact …. There is a Y in every familY.

Episode 1:  Decades of Impact

Meet the podcasters, Merv Wooten, Ernie Lowrie, Tony Cooper, Alyson Wood, and Jeff Fife have a combined 140 years of Y experiences. In the first episode they talk about their involvement in the Y and some of their favorite memories.

Bonus 1: Bonus with Tony Cooper

In between recordings Merv talks about how the Y got their first set of weight lifting equipment which turned into legendary Tony Cooper stories in which Jeff Fife asks if they are true or not.

Episode 2: The 80’s

The history panel starts episode two discussing Gordon Shine and the old front desk staff.  Later in the episode the introduction of Nautilus equipment with Charles Dobson and growth of group fitness with former Ms. Virginia Rhea McChesney. 

Bonus 2: Bonus Stories

Between recordings … some bizarre stories are shared including arranged marriages, when Merv was contacted by police when someone ‘broke into Y’ naked swimming, and many more.

Episode 4: The Dawbarn House

Donated in 1963, the panel discusses their memory of the Dawbarn House, programs it held and ghost stories!!

Episode 5: Diamonds

The panel discussed those who have made a significant financial impact on the Y.  From Bobby Graves to Jenny Ross, and so many others, we feel fortunate to have experienced their immeasurable impact on our community.  

Bonus: Bonus #3

More stories between recordings, including the Corporate Cup, flooding at the Y, when Jeff Fife almost died on the roof, swim meets and golf tournaments!

Episode 6:

In this episode, former Board President Charlie Fairchilds talks about the 90’s, the bankruptcy era, heroes that helped the Y, and why he personally got involved. 

Giving Back to the Community

Waynesboro YMCA Foundation

Leave a lasting legacy for generations of youth and families

Our Programs

The Y offers diverse platform of youth programs designed to build Youth Development, Social Responsibility, and Healthy Living


Connect with your Y and make it better place

The Y is a 501c3 non-profit organization that reinvests back into the community to support Youth Development, Healthy Living, & Social Responsibility.

The Y never turns anyone away due to the inability to pay. Over the past 10 years, we’ve provided over 1.5 million dollars in scholarships and subsidy for youth and families that normally could not afford Y programming.