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Pool to celebrate 40th anniversary

Former members of Christian Youth Unlimited (CYU), pool officials and community members will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Ricky Taylor Memorial Community Swimming Pool in Deltaville with a party/picnic at the pool on Sunday, June 28, from 1 to 4 p.m. The public is invited to take part in the celebration.

by Larry S. Chowning

For Middlesex youth growing up in the late 1960s, the Christian Youth Unlimited (CYU) was a dynamic interdenominational organization that had 60-plus teenage members from throughout the area.

The group was started in 1967 by Rev. David G. Brown Jr., the young minister of Philippi Christian Church in Deltaville. 

In July of 1968, two members of the CYU lost their brother in a tragic accident during a parade in Deltaville. Ten-year-old Ricky Taylor was killed when he fell from a float after the parade.

As a memorial to Ricky, the group rallied the community and raised $30,000 to build the Deltaville swimming pool, and additional funds to build the tennis courts and purchase 3 acres of land adjoining the DCA property. 

On June 29, 1969, the capsule-shaped pool was dedicated and officially named the Ricky Taylor Memorial Community Swimming Pool.

Former members of the CYU group, pool officials and the Deltaville community will celebrate the pool’s 40th anniversary with a party/picnic at the pool on Sunday, June 28, from 1 to 4 p.m.

“A lot of people ask us why the pool was named for Ricky Taylor,” said Becky Revere, organizer of the celebration. “This is just another way to bring awareness of the history of the pool and the tremendous effort by the youth group that worked to raise the funds to have this pool built.

“The pool has been an important part of our community, and for the past 40 years has given the youth of the community a positive place to go to swim and be together,” she said. “We certainly want it to continue to be here for many years to come.”

Rev. Brown is currently interim pastor at First Christian Church in Robinson, North Carolina. “When Ricky died it solidified the CYU group,” said Brown this week.  “We probably had 20 or 25 kids in the youth group when he died. After that a lot of the kids were grief stricken and upset, so we decided to do something in his memory. Then the group really began to grow.”

Local churches and the community joined together to make it all work, Brown said. “We had adult-chaperoned dances at the community center on Saturday nights. Sometimes there were 150 people. There were so many couples they had to take turns using the dance floor. We used the profits toward the pool.

“There were so many ways the community helped,” continued Brown. “We cut a lot of firewood and sold it. We didn’t have a truck so several of the local boatyards would lend us their trucks to haul the wood. The merchants and others were always willing to help.

“Ricky’s death brought the community together and the pool and tennis courts were the outcome of it,” said Brown. 

Betsy (Glascock) Hudgins was active in the CYU group and was one of those who worked to help raise funds for the pool. “I remember the first thing we did to raise money was to tear down an old house in the parking lot next to Philippi Church,” she said. “We had bake sales, car washes, dinners and Saturday night dances at the DCA building. We also cut and hauled firewood and sold it. Mr. Brown manned the chainsaw.

“Mr. Brown was young and had a great deal of energy,” said Hudgins. “He loved the youth and was devoted to us. When there was an away high school game, he would carry a carload of kids to the game and we’d all go to the Virginian (restaurant) to eat afterwards.”

The Virginian Restaurant was a well-known Saluda restaurant on Route 17 across from where Leasure’s Wrecker Service is today.

During that time, Norma Jean Sears of Saluda also was active with the CYU group and, along with Brown, was an adult advisor. “She was very dedicated to the youth too,” said Hudgins. “She gave a lot of her time to help.

“Raising the money for the pool didn’t seem that hard then, but now it seems like a miracle,” continued Hudgins. “When I see my grandchildren swimming in that pool, it makes me realize we did something very special. We were all just a bunch of kids. It shows you what can be done when people work together!”

posted 06.17.2009

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