YMCA and Polk County Partnership

Published 9:30 pm Sunday, August 22, 2021

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The YMCA of Greater Spartanburg’s presence in Polk County started in 1954 with Camp Skyuka, an “outdoor paradise in the clouds” at the top of White Oak Mountain. The camp closed in the 1980s, but Polk County remained a part of Spartanburg YMCA’s service area.

Now, Spartanburg YMCA runs much of Polk County Parks and Recreation Department’s programming, including youth and adult sports, aquatics, and summer day camp. This summer, the Y hosted 204 day campers at Tryon Elementary School, enrolled 98 children in swim lessons and trained 5 lifeguards. Programming this school year will include soccer and baseball. Scholarships are available to children whose families need that support—no one is turned away because of inability to pay.

Polk County, the school district, and a citizen’s committee (chaired by former Rotarian Michael Baughman) are working to fund and develop a YMCA facility for Polk County. It’s a good fit. The county wants to build a facility and expand programming, and the Y has history in the county and the necessary expertise to make it happen. The estimate is that the facility can be built within 5 years.

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The YMCA has programming for girls, boys and adults. Its mission is to develop strong kids, strong families, and strong communities with foundation values of caring, respect, responsibility and honesty. As “America’s swim instructor,” the YMCA teaches children of all ages and from all backgrounds that water should be fun

Submitted by Dave Scherping


Rotarian Marche Pittman, Polk County manager; Rick Callebs, CEO of the YMCA in Spartanburg; Atticus Fehl, YMCA program manager in Polk County and Rotarian Art Brown.