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YMCA hires new director
Mary Arocha

The Bryan County YMCA is undergoing some major changes. A new executive director was just brought on board and the group is reportedly close to a land deal that could finally create a full facility in Richmond Hill.

Mary Arocha, a 20-plus year veteran of the YMCA, replaced Tony Welch as director of the Bryan County branches. Joel Smoker, Vice President of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, said the transition was based on performance and sees Arocha as a key component in revitalizing the Richmond Hill and Bryan County YMCA.

"What we have on the horizon will offer a YMCA in Bryan County the caliber of which we have wanted to deliver for a very long time," said Smoker, a former Richmond Hill resident. "I’ve watched us go through 5-6 different directors and so many land deals that have fallen through, but it looks like it’s all finally coming together. We hope to make an (land) announcement by next week."

Smoker said he is hesitant to release details of land acquired for an expanded YMCA site "because we have walked to the altar so many times in Richmond Hill that I’m afraid of it falling through."

Arocha, who just moved her family to Richmond Hill, has previously worked with the Atlanta and Savannah YMCA branches and was most recently the director of the Wilmington Island branch.

"We are looking toward a bigger facility with the ability to offer more family programming," Arocha said. "Mainly why I’m out here is to get our name out into the community of what we can do. Especially in these economic times we’re in, more affordable family activities are very relevant."

Arocha said programs already in place include water aerobics, which are currently taking place at Waterford Landing, and the summer camp for kids. The camp goes up until Aug. 6 and includes a variety of field trips and activities.

"Bryan County residents have yet to reap all the benefits that the Y can offer, and my goal is to involve the families in this community and see how we can enrich their lives," Arocha said. "This includes youth sports, aquatic programs and a wide variety of other activities."

For more information on the Bryan County YMCA, call 756-5856 or 653-4484.

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