YMCA extends reach into West Jackson with Zumba classes


The YMCA of Georgia’s Piedmont has been extending its offerings into Jackson County with Zumba classes.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to expand into the Jackson County area,” said Laurie Healan, associate branch director of the Brad Akins Branch of the YMCA of Georgia’s Piedmont, headquartered in Winder.

“We are offering Zumba classes three nights a week at Braselton Prep in Braselton. The classes are Monday and Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m.,” said Healan.

Aimee Boykin, who started out as a YMCA member, is the Zumba teacher in Braselton.

“Aimee attended all of our classes and grew to love aerobics classes. She is now a certified Zumba instructor,” said Healan. “She is primarily just teaching in Braselton and ‘subbing’ at the YMCA.”

The Y had envisioned being a part of a planned residential community in Hoschton but the development did not occur during the nation’s economic meltdown. A renewed possibility to be in a proposed senior living development on the same property also did not proceed with the Hoschton City Council’s decision to reject a development interest’s rezoning request. The Y previously had a location in the Riverwalk Communities but the developers of that residential community defaulted on the loan, forcing the Jaunary 2011 closing. Riverwalk YMCA had opened in 2008.

“We hope that this outreach will give us a way to discover the needs in Jackson County,” said Healan. “We hope to be able to continue to offer aerobics classes at the Braselton Prep location.

“We are excited to provide health and wellness opportunities into Jackson County,” said Healan.

“Originally, we were attempting to expand our programming in Jackson County but with the current economy we decided to adjust our approach,” she said. “We hope in the future that we will be able to bring the YMCA experience to Jackson County and continue to offer different levels of health and wellness.”

Healan has been leading the Y since 11-year president and CEO Kirk Stringfellow relocated to Florida to direct another Y in Sarasota. Healan was among the recent nominees of Woman of the Year in Barrow County, in part for her work with the Y and its impact on the community.

“Whether it is a new way to get healthy, a new found friendship or a few steps further along in their journey with Christ, we anticipate that everyone that visits the YMCA will take away a life-changing experience,” said Healan.