The Family Y in Thomson unveiled its new nature trail as the first of many features expected for the 22-acre parcel where the Family Y is located.
Neal Tam, chairman of the Thomson Family Y board of directors, said the construction of the trail is another way to show that the Family Y is more than just a gym.
“The stuff that the Y does for the community is much deeper and broader that most folks realize, and this is just another example,” Tam said.
James Thomas, Family Y district vice president, said when the Y first came to Thomson, they had one job and that was to serve.
“Without community partners … we wouldn’t have been successful doing that,” Thomas said. “We wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for the following sponsors or donors for this nature trail.”
Thomas said the Citizens of Georgia Power donated the funds to complete the first phase of the trail. Piedmont Healthcare donated their previous hospital building, now the Family Y’s current facility, along with the land where the trail is now located.
“If it wasn’t for those two entities, we would not be standing here today,” Thomas said.
Nic Wood, administrator at Piedmont McDuffie, said the hospital donated the property to the Y and commended the Family Y for being good stewards, continuing the mission of promoting healthcare and wellness to the community.
“It’s such an honor to see what the YMCA continues to do for our community, continues to serve,” Wood said. “The different programs that they continue to develop and then now this nature and fitness trail that we are here to celebrate today.”
Kerry Bridges, Georgia Power area manager, said a portion of the funds needed for trail construction were provided by the Citizens of Georgia Power, which is a 100-percent volunteer organization within the company. He said the group provides support to communities and helps build community.
“We have strived, in all of our chapters across the state of Georgia, to leave a fingerprint and a footprint of our beliefs and our values all across the state of Georgia,” Bridges said. “This trail is one of the best examples of that.”
Family Y Associate Executive Director Jennifer Daniels said the nature trail has been in the plans for quite some time.
“The nature trail has probably been in the plans since before we got into the building,” Daniels said. “So, we were in the building in 2017, and we had a plan. It was much more a dog park, but once we got with Archway and they had 19 students come out and explore the land, it ended up as a nature trail.”
Daniels said they hope the trail will be a place where families will come. Over time, they will add additional trail routes and add areas like outdoor classrooms, picnic tables, and gazebos. They will also want to add a sidewalk from Hill Street to Ware Street, so that people can safely cross from the Family Y site to the nature trails.
“Just adding different things for the community,” Daniels said about the future additions to the trail.
Daniels said trail signage was provided by Farm Bureau and the UGA Extension, and that Family Y hopes to have a Halloween event in October for the community.
“We’re planning on having something for Halloween,” Daniels said. “A nature trail, Halloween type theme. Just to get more people out here. A lot of people, they see it, they see that it’s clear, but they don’t know that you can come and walk on it yet.”