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YMCA of Greater Charlotte
YMCA of Greater Charlotte
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Thanks to Nancy Young, a mission to serve all God's children has warmed the summer for youth in and around Lake Norman. In a corner of a community where pockets of poverty can easily be masked by affluence, she's making it possible for kids of all backgrounds to enjoy summer camp at the Lake Norman YMCA. Watching these kids learn to swim in a lake they've never been able to enjoy until now, Nancy's reaction gives voice to the 150-mile-an-hour drive that fuels her calling.

“Oh my gosh!” she says. “These children are remarkable children. It's just a matter of providing them some opportunities.”

A grandmother of seven, Nancy has rallied folks in and around Cornelius and Davidson to the cause of providing those opportunities – then bonding with the Lake Norman YMCA to make it happen. Nancy says the Y's executive director Ben Pinegar and operations director Honora Ruggiero have been great to work with. Or as she puts it with her trademark enthusiasm, “Oh my gosh!”

Each summer, the Y hosts 11 weeks of camp, offering water sports and more than 20 specialty activities for kids to choose from. With her church, Davidson United Methodist, as ally and inspiration, Nancy raises money year-round to send kids to camp. Over the past three years, she has raised $15,000 - enough to pay for 180 weeks of YMCA camp for kids, at no cost to their families. Her goal for the summer of 2016 is to raise $20,000. Her family, of course, has been integral to the cause – husband Doug, and their two adult sons, Tye and U.S. Army Major Brian.

The Y's Ben Pinegar says Nancy's work particularly benefits many African-American and Hispanic families in the Smithville community, located just two miles from the Lake Norman YMCA. The summer camp connection spearheaded by Nancy has brought an added blessing: a closer relationship between the Y and its neighbors in Smithville, and not just during the summer.

The power of a great cause, with a passionate soul behind it, can be transformative.

“Nancy is incredibly determined, so high energy, so dynamic,” Ben says. “It's impossible not to want to follow her wherever she wants to go.”