YMCA Wave Runners To compete in the CARIFTA Swimming Championships

The YMCA Wave Runners of Grand Bahama has 11 out of 36 swimmers named to the Bahamas Swim Team who will compete in the CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Barbados on April 9-15, 2020.

Ms. Abayomi Brown
Ms. Katelyn Cabral (not in photo)
Mr. Nigel Forbes Jr.
Mr. Ellie Gibson
Mr. Tristan Hepburn
Mr. Asher Johnson
Mr. Marvin Johnson Jr.
Ms. Seannia Norville-Smith
Ms. Mia Patton (not in photo)
Ms. Zidane “Zizou” Salting
Ms. Zoe Williamson

Mr. Ocean Smith has also been named to the Bahamas Open Water Swim Team competing in the said championships.

Congratulations to the swimmers, coaches, their parents and families, and to the whole of Grand Bahama!

Swim strong, always!🇧🇸💪


Update: CARIFTA cancelled due to COVID19.

Hurricane Dorian

The YMCA of Grand Bahama was founded in 1970 in Freeport and has been for many years the only functioning community facility of its kind on the Grand Bahama Island. The YMCA offers a wide range of community services including afterschool programs, sports, swimming, recreation, arts and a rehabilitation center for youth offenders. YMCA programs impact 2,000 people every year.

The YMCA of Grand Bahama suffered significant damage in 2004 following two major hurricanes and closed its doors for nearly two years. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew also damaged the YMCA infrastructure, compromising children and youth safety. With the support of the international community, the YMCA rapidly helped bring a sense of security, restoration and hope by providing a safe place and a meeting point for the community during difficult times.

Hurricane Dorian
On September 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Elbow Cay, Bahamas, after reaching Category 5, with sustained winds of 185 mph. Dorian made another landfall on Grand Bahama several hours later at the same intensity. Initial reports mention devastation on the islands’ infrastructure and at least 50 fatalities.

Dorian Impact on the YMCA of Grand Bahama
On Wednesday September 4, YMCA of the USA established contact with Ms. Karon Pinder Johnson, CEO of the YMCA of Grand Bahama. She reported that all YMCA staff are accounted for and safe. Seventy percent of the Grand Bahama island was covered in water. There is no power or running water across the island. The YMCA is flooded, 75% of the roof is damaged, all five pool pumps and three heat pumps (AC) are lost due to flooding, treadmills and elliptical machines are underwater, office furniture is wet, perimeter fencing is down and the dugouts for the soccer and baseball fields were destroyed. Fortunately, the main building is still standing.

YMCA Response
Karon and her team will meet on September 5, 2019 to start the clean-up, remove debris, gunk and roofing tiles, and discuss a plan of action. The team is assessing converting the basketball gym into a shelter for displaced families and allow community members to drop-in, shower and rest at the YMCA. They also anticipate that they will have the capacity to accept in-kind donations (canned food, water, clothes, first-aid kits, blankets, flashlights, batteries, etc.). YMCA Bahamas will not have the capacity to pay for shipping costs. The government will allow importing these types of items duty-free for 30 days.

How to Help
Financial contributions are the most effective way to help at this time. YMCA of the USA will officially launch a World Service appeal in coordination with the Latin American and Caribbean Alliance of YMCAs and the World Alliance of YMCAs as soon as a plan of action is in place. In the meantime, donations are being gratefully accepted and 100% of your support will be sent to the YMCA of Grand Bahama.

How to give:
Online: Please write YMCA Bahamas in the Comments/Special Instructions box
Mail : Please write YMCA Bahamas in the Comments/Special Instructions box
Phone: Call 312-419-8177

For additional information, please contact Renata Ferrari at [email protected] and 312-419-8137.

YMCA Day Care


The YMCA Day Care is a nurturing, fun and stimulating environment for your child to develop and grow. Certified instructors on board with many years of experience.

Limited space, call us today to secure your child’s seat.

OPEN Monday-Friday: 8:30am- 5:30pm

Ages: 1-4 Years

$40.00 per week

YMCA is proud to announce the start of its Flag Football Programme

The YMCA is proud to announce the start of its Flag Football Programme. We have been located in Freeport, Grand Bahama for over 30 years now, and majorly contributed to combating crime on the island of Grand Bahama, building and supporting sports programmes and fulfill our Christian mission operating under the mean of our 4 core values; which is caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. We also believe in partnering with other local organizations to bring forth positive change to the greater community.

Although the YMCA is still in its recovery state from the devastating hurricane of 2004, we challenge ourselves to be a beacon of light for the communities of Grand Bahama. We see how far we have come in making a positive impact in the lives of Grand Bahamians and look forward to doing even more. We are committed to the development of the Bahamian community in spirit, mind and body, and wish to move forward in promoting social justice and peace.

On March 26th, 2016 is the tentative date of start for our programme and will be ending June 11th, 2016.  This programme is geared to exposing our families as a whole to the game of Flag Football.  There will be three divisions, Youth, Women and Co-Ed.  The Youth programme will be played 5 on 5 no contact, Women programme 8 on 8 semi contact and the Co-ed programme 7 on 7 no contact.  Games will be played between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays. 

Should you require any further information feel free to contact us.

Kind Regards,

YMCA and GBPA partnership garners success in energy savings and efficiency project

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama — YMCA Executive Director, Karon Pinder-Johnson praised Sir Jack Hayward and The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) for its partnership in a recent Energy Savings & Efficiency project.

Geared at assisting the community support facility, and reduce its electrical operations cost which totaled $130,000.00 in 2012, the project proved to be quite successful, Pinder-Johnson revealed.

“The YMCA has always grappled with its electrical bill. In fact, at one point the organization acquired arrears totaling approximately $50,000.00.

“Immediately, the Board of the YMCA met to discuss a plan of action regarding ways in which the facility could be outfitted that would generate energy savings and efficiency.

“Following consultation with electricity experts, it was decided that replacing all 270 plus incandescent light bulbs in the YMCA to LED (energy efficient) light bulbs would be beneficial in meeting the challenge of reducing the electrical bill.

“GBPA greatly assisted the YMCA in this effort, providing us the opportunity to do just that in a timely manner. Merchantec Limited & A/C Services were hired to complete the Energy Savings & Efficiency project which took them just over two months once the needed materials arrived on island.

“Additionally, energy savings apparatuses were installed between our breaker system, swimming pool pumps and concession stand areas, which allow for power stability, eliminating power fluctuation (spikes and dips) and ultimately, saving money on the electricity bill,” said Pinder-Johnson.

“GBPA, Sir Jack and corporate Grand Bahama, have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the YMCA continues to serve the public, especially our youth and we truly appreciate their assistance.”

Pinder-Johnson also revealed that plans are underway to further reduce electrical costs by way of solar energy, especially where the air conditioning units are concerned.

“It has been suggested that solar powered timers be placed on our air conditioning units at the YMCA. This would ensure that power turns on and shuts off at appropriate intervals, rather than constantly running, to further facilitate energy efficiency. We are doing what we can to ensure this is also done in a timely fashion.

“Again the YMCA cannot thank GBPA enough for assisting us in this venture. Personally, I recall when I became a part of the YMCA family in 1986, GBPA and Sir Jack Hayward’s names were synonymous with this facility as two of our biggest supporters. Actually, it is because of them that the doors of the YMCA did not permanently close following the hurricanes of 2004.

“So we thank GBPA’s Donation Committee for its support in facilitating this Energy Savings & Efficiency project and look forward to their continued partnership in the future,” Pinder-Johnson added.

As the YMCA continues to play a vital role in building the community of Grand Bahama, Dr. Smith revealed GBPA’s elation to assist in the project stating, “We are indeed pleased to facilitate the Energy Savings & Efficiency project here at the YMCA.

“We recognize that the YMCA, through its programmes particularly sports, continues to help build our communities and the youth of Grand Bahama island.

“Hence, GBPA is pleased to lend support to the YMCA as it continues to foster positive development within the Grand Bahama community.”

For further information about the YMCA programmes and activities telephone 352-7074/5 or visit

Save The Bays supports YMCA Learn to Swim SOS program

Declaring it was proud to help impart lifesaving skills to children growing up on an island surrounded by water, the fast-growing environmental movement Save The Bays today presented a substantial grant to the YMCA SOS Learn to Swim program in Grand Bahama.

The contribution will pave the way for thousands of children to take an in-the-water course that could save lives.

Some 13,000 pre-school and primary school students have already benefitted from the SOS (Swim for Ocean Survival) course, according to Grand Bahama YMCA Executive Director Karon Johnson, and this contribution will enable even more.

“We can’t thank Save the Bays enough for seeing the importance of this program,” said Johnson. “The course is designed to teach kids to survive, first and foremost, in an underwater situation. As they get older we work to introduce them to opportunities provided by competitive swimming and thirdly, we want to them to have the skills to enjoy our marine environment so they don’t have a fear of the sea.”

Overcoming fear and appreciating the beauty of the underwater world, said Save The Bays education officer and a director of the YMCA Joseph Darville, is one of the reasons Save The Bays selected the YMCA SOS program as its newest partner.

“It is with tremendous joy and satisfaction that I, on behalf of Save The Bays, present this grant to the Grand Bahama YMCA,” said Darville. “As Executive Program Vice-Chairman of the YMCA, I know firsthand the outstanding and unparalleled work this organization has done over the past 20 years in teaching thousands of our school children on Grand Bahama to swim. Additionally, over the past two years, the Anglican schools in Nassau have come on board and the program benefits their students as well. This is the only training course of its kind in The Bahamas.”

Save the Bays Supports Learn to Swim Program - Students of public and private schools in Grand Bahama learn to swim thanks to a grant from Save the Bays, the fast growing environmental movement, donated to the YMCA Learn to Swim SOS program. The SOS program runs twice a year, September through October and April through June, and caters to preschools and primary schools in Grand Bahama, private and public. Students are bused to the YMCA from school for hour long sessions.

The program was created to address the fact that despite that fact that The Bahamas is surrounded by water, many local children are unable to swim, partly because of a traditional fear of water-related accidents and partly because of the cost of swimming lessons.

“Thanks to companies, donors and organizations like Save The Bays we have been able to offer the program free of charge to the children of Grand Bahama,” said Johnson. Costs are also contained by part of the program falling within the Physical Education curriculum in schools.

“This is the only training course of its kind in The Bahamas, and we are extremely proud to be the body responsible for imparting lifesaving skills to multitudes of our children who live in an archipelagic nation,” says Darville. “This grant is indeed in line with the goal of the Save the Bays organization as it strives to conserve and preserve the beauty of these islands, terrestrial and marine and thus enable all children now and in the future to enjoy these islands both on land and in the sea.”

Since its launch in April, Save The Bays has gained more than 5,000 signatures on a petition calling for an environmental protection act, managed an awareness campaign that has opened the eyes of thousands to the delicate nature of the environment and formed partnerships with more than a dozen organisations with environmental interests and agendas.

Legacy Baseball/Softball Announces Development Camp Dates

Grand Bahama’s Legacy Baseball/Softball Association has released the dates for its Fall Development Camp to be held at the YMCA.  Eugene Thompson, President, advised that the camp will begin on October 20th at 1:00 pm and will be held each Saturday thereafter through December 15.  The camp is open for baseball to boys 4-18, and for softball to girls 6-18.

Thompson is urging parents to register their youngsters for 2013 season in either baseball and/or softball and ensure that they participate in the development camp.

“We’re pleased to have Coach Eric Albury together with Larry Russell and others spearheading this year’s development exercise that is geared to enhancing the skills of returning players, and teaching first time players the basics and fundamentals of the game.

“Our softball programme for girls gets going on the same date and again it is geared to new and returning players and is being coordinated by Miss Nerissa Lockhart and her coaching corp.  Legacy’s softball programme has been adjusted with emphasis being moved to the schools softball season to ensure greater participation and development opportunities for young girls,” said Thompson.

The President also announced the reaffirming of Legacy’s partnership with the YMCA, one that will provide additional opportunities for Legacy players and coaches.  High on the list is the availability to parents of the YMCA’s after school tutoring programme that will allow Legacy members to complete school assignments and homework under supervision before their team practices or games begin.

Mrs. Karon Johnson, Executive Director of the YMCA took the opportunity to congratulate the newly elected governing board of Legacy, noting, “I am confident that their expertise and commitment will not be wavered.  The uniqueness that stands out with Legacy is the willingness of both administrators and parents working together for the betterment of the league, this in my mind speaks volume.

“The Y.M.C.A. is proud to have partnered with Legacy in its efforts to develop the whole child.  Our after school programme is supervised with qualified teachers that will work to the ability level of each child, allowing them to progress at their own pace.   The Y.M.C.A endorses Legacy baseball & softball and invites parents to register their little darlings today”.

“We’re pleased to have this facility available for our players”, said Mr. Thompson, “it is something that will help them from a young age to learn time management and more importantly, how to prioritize their activities.

“Other YMCA activities will become available for our players and coaches which will allow them to improve their skills.”

Nerissa Lockhart, VP Softball announced that effective October 20, 2012 the Legacy Softball Programme will also operate from the YMCA for all youth divisions up to the 16-18 Junior Division, which will continue to utilize the field at the sports complex.

“This will assist parents with children playing both baseball and softball to drop-off and pickup their youngsters from the same area, also giving them a chance to utilize the YMCA’s programmes,” said Miss Lockhart.

Legacy also announced plans to participate in three Bahamas Baseball Federation mini-tournaments in 2013 in the Family Islands in advance of the BBF Nationals in the Coach-Pitch, 9-10, and 11-12 Divisions, and to continue the exchange programme with the girls softball division of the Junior Baseball League of Nassau.

Registration for Legacy’s 2013 baseball and softball seasons is currently underway and applications are available at the YMCA and from Legacy officers. 

Legacy Baseball/Softball recently completed it Annual General Meeting during which the following new officers were elected: President, Eugene Thompson; Vice President, Terry Wildgoose; Secretary, Stacey Knowles; Treasurer, Yvonne Lockhart; Player Agent, Lillian Carey; Vice President – Baseball, Stephen Meadows; Vice President – Softball, Nerissa Lockhart; Asst. Treasurer – Baseball, Allison Meadows; Assistant Treasurer – Softball, Trudy Wilson; Asst. Secretary – Softball, Samantha Gibbs; Chairman Parents’ Committee, Sonia Knowles; Asst. Chairman Parents’ Committee – Softball, Michelle Laing; and Directors, Legal Consultant, Charisse Brown, Greg Christie – Media Relations & Special Projects; Cleo Rolle, and Stephen Burrows.