YMCA of Central Virginia Member Competes in IMG 43662nd Round of Worldwide CrossFit Competition

What started as a dare between an athletic husband and wife team has led to the experience of a lifetime for Lynchburg resident Betsy Vanderburgh, who took her shot at the title of “Fittest Masters Female on Earth” after advancing to the second round of the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games.

When CrossFit was introduced at the Jamerson Family YMCA, Vanderburgh’s husband, Joe, gave the high-intensity workout program a try. He struggled but perservered, then dared his wife to join him. As an Air Force Academy alumna and military veteran, Vanderburgh’s life has revolved around fitness and mental fortitude. Not one for backing down from a challenge, Vanderburgh accepted and now finds herself on the international CrossFit stage.

“The CrossFit workouts were so ridiculously difficult that it wasn’t long before I realized that was the beauty and genius of the whole thing,” said Vanderburgh. “Even the best athletes must struggle through and push themselves to complete a workout. Everyone is laughing afterward and it’s a lot of childish fun to swing up on a bar, climb a rope, jump up on things, and skip rope.”

Vanderburgh’s journey began with the CrossFit Open, an opportunity for members from every affiliate globally to complete specified workouts over a five-week period with the strongest proceeding to Regionals. Older athletes and teenagers skip the Regionals and instead compete in an Online Qualifier against their top peers. Vanderburgh made the first cut, placing 45th, worldwide in her age group (55-59) and advancing to the Online Qualifier, which was held the weekend of April 20-23.

Vanderburgh placed 29th out of 200 participants during the online qualifier which challenges athletes’ mental and physical game with max lifts, high-skill movements and tests of general physical preparedness. Now in its fifth year, the Online Qualifier is a stepping stone for both masters and teenagers on their journeys to the CrossFit Games. Vanderburgh has completed the four assigned workouts for this stage of the competition, which were videotaped and validated by a licensed CrossFit affiliate.

“I’m not a professional athlete, trainer or coach,” said Vanderburgh. “I’m not in it for the trophy. I love the peer pressure, the camaraderie and the loud music. The coaches are so good at helping everyone take what they have and build on it to become stronger, faster and fitter. I hope my experience will help more people see CrossFit as less intimidating and more health and strength building.”

Vanderburgh is among the rapidly growing community of CrossFit enthusiasts – more than 1,500 affiliates launched in the past year alone to accommodate the increased interest, bringing the total number of locations to 14,500 worldwide. The all-inclusive CrossFit Open has become one of the largest participatory fitness events in the world, with 385,000 people competing in 2017. 

The YMCA of Central Virginia offers two CrossFit programs; Jamerson Crossfit which is held at the Jamerson Family YMCA, and CrossFit Seven Hills at the Downtown YMCA. Both programs are led by enthusiastic trained professionals committed to seeing athletes grow and reach their goals in a safe environment. In addition to CrossFit for adults, the Jamerson Family YMCA offers CrossFit Kids during the summer for youth ages 8 - 13 years old.

Additional information about the CrossFit program offered through the YMCA of Central Virginia is available online, at https://www.ymcacva.org/crossfit.html.


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YMCA of Central Virginia Opens 2018 Summer Camp Registration

– Field Trips, KidzGym Fun and Swim Lessons to Highlight Camp Experience –

LYNCHBURG, Va., April 20, 2018 – The YMCA of Central Virginia is looking ahead to summer for Lynchburg, Appomattox and Nelson County youth ages 5-12, with Summer Camp registration now open for the weekly program beginning June 4. The Day Camp program offers a mix of indoor and outdoor activities, learning and community exploration for kids, while fostering their social, educational and physical development.

“The YMCA of Central Virginia Summer Camp program is an incredible opportunity for local youth to build self-confidence, learn independence and create lasting memories,” Teena Williams, YMCA of Central Virginia Child Care Director. “It’s a fun and fulfilling experience for children, while offering parents peace of mind that their children are spending their summer break in a productive and safe environment.”

Opportunities to discover new talents, develop new skill sets and interact with diverse peers has been the central focus of the YMCA Summer Camp for more than 150 years. Purposeful play and hands-on experience helps support teamwork and problem solving skills that are essential to youth development and their lifelong success. Among the many activities planned are community field trips to local parks and other attractions; KidzGym indoor play including rock climbing, interactive games and indoor sports; free swim lessons, and much more.

Swim lessons with CPR-certified lifeguards is among the highlights of the Summer Camp experience, with kids both enjoying and learning in the water. Swim time will offer supervised play and instruction, while campers gain confidence in the water and learn essential water safety skills.

The Summer Camp registration form is available for download, at https://www.ymcacva.org/summer-camp.html. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, and required at least one week prior to the week attending. Becoming a member of the YMCA of Central Virginia provides a savings of up to $100 on Summer Camp tuition. To support children needing financial assistance to attend, please consider donating at http://www.ymcacva.org/give.html.

About the YMCA of Central Virginia

Based in Lynchburg, Va., the YMCA of Central Virginia is committed to nurturing the potential of all children and teens by promoting healthy living and encouraging social responsibility within the community. For more then 160 years, the YMCA of Central Virginia has served as an advocate for all youth, while providing a safe and supportive environment for them.


tot swim group

Time to “Waterproof” Lynchburg Area Kids through YMCA of Central Virginia Swim Programs

Programs offer a mix of fun, physical activity and safety to create a lifelong love of swimming

Lynchburg VA – As the season turns from winter to spring, the YMCA of Central Virginia encourages children and parents in the central Virginia region to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety top of mind. In Y swim programs, participants can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence, while also learning safety skills that can save lives. 

“It’s never too early to get children involved in swimming—it’s an important for safety reasons, but also a great way to keep active and healthy,” said Josh Gravette, Association Aquatics Director, YMCA of Central Virginia. “There are so many options for parents, but the best place to start is by learning basic water safety skills that helps get kids familiar with the water that often continues with swim lessons and competitive swim programs and can even lead to a career.”

As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the local YMCA encourages parents to take an active role in fostering a relationship between their children and swimming—beginning with water safety. Following are safety tips to practice when in and around the water:

  • Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.
  • Adults should constantly and actively watch their children.
  • Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. 
  • Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach.
  • Children and adults should not engage in breath holding activities.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, swimming is a great way to increase physical activity. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing.

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 100 years. The YMCA of Central Virginia continues to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. There are a variety of programs to choose, including group swim lessons, private swim lessons, infant and toddler swim lessons, family swim, and competitive swim team. To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, donor supported financial assistance is available.

To learn more about the YMCA of Central Virginia’s swim programs, please contact on of the Y’s three convenient locations or you can visit them online at www.ymcacva.org.  

Click here to learn more about upcoming swim programs


9th Annual Storming of Thunder Ridge to Benefit YMCA of Central Virginiastorming of thunder ridge

– Proceeds Support 160-Year Tradition of Offering Services to All Community Members –

LYNCHBURG, Va., February 9, 2018 – The 9th annual Storming of Thunder Ridge will take place on Sunday, May 20, 2018, benefitting the YMCA of Central Virginia’s Annual Fund. The fundraiser supports its continued mission of providing services to people of all ages, faiths, backgrounds and income levels ­­– while also serving as a community-wide event celebrating the region’s cycling enthusiasts.

“We’re thrilled to once again bring the Storming of Thunder Ridge to Lynchburg and look forward to another year of supporting and honoring the mission of the YMCA,” said Paula Dahl, Storming of Thunder Ridge Director. “The outpouring of support generated by this event every year is overwhelming, and we’re incredibly grateful to our riders, sponsors and volunteers for ensuring its success.”

The Storming of Thunder Ridge is Lynchburg’s only local, fully supported road cycling event, featuring ride options of 27, 45, 47, 75 and 100 miles – all with the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains serving as the backdrop. The start and finish for the 2018 ride will be the Jamerson Family YMCA, with this year’s fundraiser offering riders the opportunity to camp in the gymnasium or on the soccer fields Saturday night. In addition, riders will enjoy such accommodations as shower facilities, whirlpool and swimming pools. A post-ride celebration will include food, drinks, prizes and more with friends and fellow riders.

Registration for the Storming of Thunder Ridge is $65 prior to May 1, $75 until 8:00 p.m. on May 19, and $85 the day of the event. Online registration will close at Noon on Friday, May 18. Riders registered by the May 1 early deadline are guaranteed a Storming of Thunder Ridge moisture wicking t-shirt.

The Storming of Thunder Ridge is only possible through the generosity of sponsors, with each donation helping to cover event expenses and ensuring that all funds raised will benefit the YMCA of Central Virginia’s Community Support Campaign. Tax-deductible sponsorships are offered on various levels – Bronze ($250), Silver ($500), Gold ($1,000 or greater) and Title ($2,500). Likewise, volunteers are essential to the success of the event, with assistance needed for rest stops, course monitoring, the post-ride party and other needs.

Registration for riders is available online, at https://www.bikereg.com/storming-of-thunder-ridge. Sponsorship and volunteer interest can be directed to the YMCA, at http://stormingofthunderridge.org/contact/.


23509425 1848534275158331 7776057584193160019 oThe Downtown YMCA is pleased to announce the launch of Yoga for Warriors, a trauma-sensitive yoga practice designed for US Military Veterans. This vital program, which was spearheaded by YMCA members and staff is led by Gary Sullivan, YMCA Group Fitness and Yoga Instructor who is certified in trauma sensitive yoga techniques.

The US Department of Veteran Affairs reports that 11%-20% of veterans are afflicted with PTSD or PTSD like symptoms after returning from military service. With close to 25,000 veterans residing in the Central Virginia Region, this is something that should not be ignored. Research shows that programs like Yoga for Warriors at the Downtown YMCA can help individuals build physical, mental and emotional stamina to overcome issues caused by combat or non-combat trauma experiences. In October of 2017, the Y piloted the program which served eight local men from our area.

The new session will begin on January 10th, 2018 with a group of 10 male veterans. Participants will receive three months of one on one instruction before their integration into the group classes at the Y. Both Y members and non Y members can participate in the program upon completion of program-specific screenings by the local Veterans Affairs Administration, and a Yoga Therapy Assessment that is conducted by the YMCA.

Steve Bozeman, Vice President of the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council, which includes volunteers from numerous non-profits, works closely with veterans in the area to ensure that they are receiving information regarding such programs. "This is such a great program for veterans needing this level of recovery assistance" expressed Bozeman. "Peer to peer engagement, which is offered in this program, is key in the healing process for many of these men and women."

Gary Sullivan is a professionally trained yoga instructor who specializes in trauma-sensitive yoga techniques, "Helping these men that have sacrificed so much for our country isn't optional, it's necessary. I hope that we can serve at least 40 veterans each year, expressed Sullivan. "We are gearing up to launch an additional class in the spring that is designed for female veterans. After what we have witnessed in the fall with the pilot program, we know that we can make great strides in improving the lives of our veterans as we move forward."

For more information contact Program Coordinator Gary Sullivan garyhsullivan@earthlink.net or contact the Downtown YMCA to complete the Request Form to sign up Veterans in our community.

Mayor Joan Foster is pictured above with Kathy Thomas, Downtown YMCA Wellness Director at the recent Veterans Parade at Liberty University


434-582-1900 (Jamerson) 434-847-5597 (Downtown) 434-455-5996 (Express) 434-200-7097 (Bowen Wellness Center)


YMCA Exterior WEB 3801 Wyndhurst Drive

Lynchburg, VA 24502 

(434) 582-1900


YMCA Exterior WEB 91315 Church Street

Lynchburg, VA 24504 

(434) 847-5597


YMCA Exterior WEB 13402 Old Forest Road

Lynchburg, VA 24502 

(434) 455-5996


Feel free to reach out to one of our directors for questions, concerns, or other feedback.




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