Community leaders celebrated the culmination of an almost 20-year effort Saturday when they officially cut the ribbon at Loudoun County’s first YMCA facility in Sterling.
“This took a lot of blood, sweat and tears from a lot of people, but we’re here now,” YMCA Loudoun County Executive Director Laura Fears said ahead of today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house.
The organization operates at 15 off-site locations and had been working for several years to move in to its own space. When a private child care center was looking to move out of its building on Church Road in Sterling, the organization’s leaders hurried to make it YMCA’s new home.
Fears describes the local YMCA chapter’s “bread and butter” as its after-school and summer programs. Each weekday, the organization serves 400 kids throughout Loudoun. Families are charged for the services on a sliding scale based on their income, and Fears said, “no child is turned away.”
The new YMCA Loudoun County Youth Development Center has room to serve 194 children, ages 6 weeks to 12 years. It will include a STEM learning lab and space for Loudoun organization All Ages Read Together, a pre-kindergarten readiness reading program serving students in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties.
Fears said the YMCA provides more after-school child care services than any other organization in Loudoun, but she added, “We want there to be a whole lot more than day care. This is a youth development center.”
Rusty Foster, chairman of YMCA Loudoun County’s board of directors, told those who gathered for Saturday’s open house that he was a “Y kid.” Growing up in Leesburg, he attended YMCA after-school programs and summer camps and, actually, had Fears as his camp counselor.
“The quality of educational resources and other services children receive here are definitely top quality,” Foster said. “YMCA has been a huge part of my life for a long time, so I’m glad we’re all here to celebrate this wonderful occasion in Loudoun County.”
The YMCA Loudoun County Youth Development Center is at 624 W. Church Road in Sterling. It still has space for children in its programs. Call 703-430-2781 or go to ymcadc.org for more information.
YMCA Loudoun County is a non-profit organization that raises the majority of its funds through two large fundraising events, Chocolates Galore each February and the Belfort Furniture-sponsored YMCA Loudoun County Golf Classic each May.