Archive for December, 2011

It is hard to believe that the holiday season has nearly come and gone already. YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly has had one of the busiest Decembers on record, keeping our year-round staff on their toes and in high spirits! This month was full of excitement, merriment, retirements and engagements….

Blue Ridge staff at the 2011 Tree Trimming Party

On the week after Thanksgiving, Blue Ridge kicked off the Christmas season with our annual Tree-Trimming Party.  Staff and their families gathered in the Blue Ridge Center lobby for homemade baked goods, warm beverages, and fire-side fellowship. We decorated a majestic 13-foot Fraser fir, which was harvested locally and provides a visual reminder of the joyful holiday season and the remarkable beauty of the Assembly.

The collection of historic black and white Archive photos used to decorate the tree each year

Ed Colley takes the honor of topping the this year's tree

This years event was particularly special, as we were serenaded with live Christmas music from talented members of our Leadership team. We also received our first SNOW of the season, which provided the perfect festive backdrop to unite everyone in the holiday spirit!

Peggy, Owen, Kurt, Steve, and Richard sing Christmas carols in the lobby

Let it Snow! Lee Hall as seen from Blue Ridge Center, November 29, 2011


After 21 years of service, Blue Ridge Assembly’s Maintenance Director, Ed Colley, recently announced his retirement. On December 1st we hosted Ed’s Retirement Celebration, paying tribute to his excellence of character, warm personality, outstanding work ethic, and legacy to Blue Ridge.  The evening brought together Ed’s family, Blue Ridge staff, and Board members and included a Reception in the BRC Lobby, followed by a delicious banquet dinner in the Dining Room.

Ed Colley with his son, daughter, and granddaughter at the Ed's Retirement Reception.

We are eternally grateful for Ed’s dedication to Blue Ridge, both personally and professionally.  He touched hundreds of  lives as he served his community, provided for his family, and managed the Assembly’s historic buildings, and 1,200 acre grounds. Congratulations and best wishes for a happy and healthy retirement, Ed!  You will be greatly missed! Thank you for all that you have done.

Blue Ridge CEO, Kurt Eckel, and Board President, Hollis Downs, present Ed Colley with restored window framing turn-of-the-century black and white photos of the Assembly.

We are pleased to announce Ed’s successor, Philip Day, will take over as Maintenance Director. Welcome aboard, Phil!


ChristmasFest gathers for a holiday worship in the BRC Lobby

Earlier this month we also celebrated ChristmasFest, a longtime Blue Ridge tradition which was  revived for the first time this year in over a decade.  We were excited to welcome back an “active adult” group from the Jamerson Family YMCA in Lynchburg, VA for this years event. Guests enjoyed a 3 day program that embraced the childlike wonder of Christmas and included  crafts, fireside storytelling, caroling, and mealtime entertainment. The group was  also able to experience unique local attractions such as downtown Black Mountain, the Biltmore Estate Candlelight Christmas, and Grove Park Inn’s Gingerbread House display.  And it wouldn’t be Christmas without GIFTS! Each day they were surprised with handmade ornaments, stockings, jingle bells, and other seasonal treats.  What a fantastic way for our guests and staff to get in the holiday spirit!

Santa visits the Dining Room during ChristmasFest 2011



This holiday season,  already a joyous time of year, was particularly exciting for two Blue Ridge staff members who became engaged this month! We would like to congratulate our own Event Planner, Beth Snook,  and Program Coordinator Andrew McKinney on their wonderful news and the announcement of a wedding next fall. We are so happy to be a part of their engagement and are looking forward to watching this beautiful young couple share a lifetime of love and happiness together.

Congratulations to Beth and Andrew from your Blue Ridge family!

Also check out engagement photos for another couple, Lucie and Ryan, who recently became engaged at Blue Ridge Assembly! It seems that LOVE is in the (mountain) air! 🙂


Ho! Ho! Ho!

We would like to wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season! Warmest thoughts and best wishes as you celebrate joy, peace and goodwill with friends and family. Thank you for a wonderful year. We are looking forward to sharing 2012 with you!


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