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YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly was established in 1906 as a Christian conference and training center by Dr. Willis Duke Weatherford, Sr. and was added to the National Registry of Historic Sites in 1979. Since its inception, the Assembly has sought to be the vehicle in which positive, life-changing experiences occur for youth, young adults and families that impact their spiritual, mental and physical development.
Blue Ridge is owned by the YMCAs of the ten southeastern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. While our board of directors and trustees represent these states and their YMCAs, YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly is a separate legal entity and autonomous YMCA. We serve the nonprofit, tax-exempt sector exclusively and are located on a magnificent 1,200-acre mountain site in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
Blue Ridge works to strengthen the foundation of communities by providing opportunities for religious and educational instruction. Schools, churches, governmental and community development organizations constitute the bulk of our guests, along with youth character-building agencies, camp groups and human service organizations. In addition to providing a serene, picturesque and inspirational setting for these groups to accomplish their work, the Assembly also provides programming that promotes leadership, trust, team-building, self-discovery, health and physical education, family life and environmental conservation. In 2011, Blue Ridge served over 400 groups and more than 26,000 individuals, half of which were youth.
The other portion of the Assembly's work centers around strengthening families through intergenerational activities. The programs we provide unite family members in quality time, promote healthy lifestyles and encourage multi-generational bonding experiences. Just as play is fundamental to a child's healthy development, we know that playing and learning together is fundamental in building strong families.
In tandem with serving our guests and in an effort to shepherd cultural exchanges with positive impacts, the Assembly began hosting international students to live and work alongside American students. In addition to hosting students stateside, Blue Ridge has an ambassador exchange established with Belize, Brazil, England, Japan, Jerusalem, Sweden and the Sioux Indian YMCA. Our purpose for doing so is to provide personal development through an integrated program of work, study, recreation and worship in a Christian atmosphere.