By Jasmine Driggs
The YMCA of Hampton Roads was recently granted the funds to build a 6,000-square-foot building in the wooded area in front of the arboretum in Village IV on Virginia Wesleyan College’s campus. There will also be an amphitheater behind the building.
The building is mainly for the children and counselors who attend Camp Red Feather, a summer camp that is always hosted on this campus. According to the Camp Red Feather website, the hours of the summer camp are Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Some activities that the children participate in include arts and crafts, music and drama, the alpine tower and archery.
“YMCA Camp Red Feather is all about discovery,” the website says. “Camping, like many Y programs is about learning skills, developing character and making friends.” Not only is the program designed for younger children to become leaders, but it also helps older teenagers use their leadership skills, while gaining more skills through its internship program. The internship program is available for rising 10th- through 12th-graders.
The donors to the YMCA feel strongly about Virginia Wesleyan College and the values they share with it, according to VWC President Scott Miller. Therefore, the building will be for use not only by the YMCA during the summer but also for VWC students during the academic year.
Miller said that the building will be consistent with the plans for the Greer Environmental Center in regard to keeping the building as environmentally friendly as possible. The design that is in the works is hoped to help minimize the number of trees that will have to be cut down. The actual floor plan will be available to Miller in about two weeks. This building will provide a gateway for the path that leads to Lake Taylor.
“The building will consist of three large classrooms with divided walls that will open into one big recreation room,” Miller said.
Miller did not have any specifications on who at Virginia Wesleyan will specifically use the building. However, he did know that during the academic year Virginia Wesleyan College will definitely have access to the facility.
“We hope to use some of the classroom and recreation space,” Miller said. “There will be office space for both the YMCA and Virginia Wesleyan and there will be a food preparation area for both the YMCA and Virginia Wesleyan. Virginia Wesleyan will also have full access to the amphitheater that will be located behind the building.”
The building may be useful for VWC resident assistants’ training, as well.
“We do not do a lot of training outside in the summer, but we do have an issue with finding a big enough space that we all fit comfortably into,” resident assistant Rachel Lambert said. “This new building sounds like a good space where we could break off into smaller groups and come back into a bigger one.”
Lambert was confident in saying that resident assistants will not be responsible for patrolling that area during their nightly strolls throughout the week. Instead, Virginia Wesleyan security officers will patrol it.
Virginia Wesleyan currently is going through some major changes with the Greer Environmental Center being constructed on campus. This construction has caused some inconvenience to the residents in Village IV.
“The YMCA building will be easier to construct than the Greer Environmental Center because it is not attached to campus. The construction of the building will not interfere with the everyday lives of the campus community,” Miller said.
Students may not find the construction of the facility to be inconvenient, but some do say they feel that the walk to get to the building will be lengthy.
“If you consider the people in Village II, it’s slightly inconvenient to walk that far; it’s even further than Blocker. Even though the campus isn’t huge, that is a little out of the way,” Lambert said.
Construction of the facility is set to be finished by May 2017. Miller said the plan is to have it open by summer 2017 so that the kids from the YMCA can use it.
“Virginia Wesleyan is more than appreciative of our partners at the YMCA of Hampton Roads,” Miller said.