Community roundup: Barnwell pool, scouts and animal center get help

From left: Chantsie Pickelsimer, Barnwell County Family YMCA Director; Larry Hutto, Barnwell...
From left: Chantsie Pickelsimer, Barnwell County Family YMCA Director; Larry Hutto, Barnwell County Recreation Board Chair; Natalia Johnson, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Principal Scientist and Barnwell County Family YMCA Board Member; receive a check from Stuart MacVean, SRNS President and CEO.(WRDW)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 4:53 PM EST
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AIKEN, S.C., November 30, 2021 – A million-dollar, multi-feature aquatics center for the Barnwell County Family YMCA is now closer to reaching its fundraising goal, thanks to a recent $20,000 contribution from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions.

The aquatics center will offer a wide range of features to include a six-lane lap pool for recreational swimming and future competitive events, a water slide and other features. The center will also provide an estimated 30 summer jobs and leadership development for local youths.

“We are so grateful to our friends at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions for their heartfelt contribution to this important cause,” said Pamela Rush, executive director at Axis I Center of Barnwell. “We believe the impact of this new facility will be extensive, having a positive economic effect throughout the area in addition to the recreational and much appreciated health-related benefits for local and nearby residents to enjoy.”

Rush also explained that this state-of-the-art facility will save lives, as well. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children throughout the U.S.

The Barnwell County Recreation Commission has already secured $725,000 of the total amount needed to build the aquatic center. “We’re working closely with our partners in this effort to reach our last goal, to raise the final $350,000. Thanks to a large grant from the State of South Carolina and friends like SRNS, we’re getting close,” said Rush.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions is responsible for the management and operations of the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site.

World Finance collects donations for animal center

AIKEN, S.C. - World Finance will collect donation items to benefit the local SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare through Dec. 31 at the community branch located at 778 Silver Bluff Road in Aiken.

The public can drop off donation items during store hours from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday.

The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare needs dog and cat food, cleaning supplies, chew toys and more. A full list is available at

“We are so grateful to be a member of the Aiken community and to take this opportunity to use our resources to give back during the holiday season. We believe that when we come together as a community, everyone benefits,” said Jennifer Easler, manager of World Finance branch in Aiken. “Animals bring so much joy to their families and we hope this donation drive can help make their time in the shelter a little more comfortable until they find their forever homes.”

Scouts partner with Bechtel to offer STEM-based merit badges

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Bechtel Corp. will be partnering with the Georgia-Carolina Council of Boy Scouts of America on Dec. 11 to provide three STEM-based merit badges including electricity, engineering, and space exploration.

Forty-five Scouts will have the opportunity to earn one of these badges during the eight-hour session at the new Georgia-Carolina Nature and Adventure Center.

“The opportunity to work with Bechtel Corp. professionals to bring world class instruction in these exciting areas is a great benefit of being a Scout. We are deeply grateful to Bechtel Corp for their financial support as well as their professional support of time and talent,” noted Scout Executive Dan Rogers.

He said as the scouts develop the Nature and Adventure Center, they will be looking to partner with more local businesses to provide mentoring opportunities to participants.

For information on how you can volunteer with the Georgia-Carolina Council, or to join Scouting as a youth member, contact Ron Bane at 706-733-5277.

Youth Leadership Columbia County accepting applications

EVANS, Ga. - The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications for its Youth Leadership Columbia County program, presented by Gold Cross EMS.

The program is designed to educate and motivate young leaders through experience, enabling them to take an active role in their community. The program results in strong leaders who have hope for the future and the tools to influence a positive and progressive community. Applicants must be rising sophomores or juniors in Columbia County public high schools, private schools or home school students.

Applications can be downloaded at and are due to the email address by March 18, 2022.

For more information on this program, contact Ashley Rice at 706-651-0018 or

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