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YMCA names new leader of Hendersonville branch

Lorikay Paden Lorikay Paden

LoriKay “LK” Paden, who has led the YMCA branch at the Mission Pardee Health Campus for the past two years, has been named executive director of the Hendersonville Family YMCA.

“She's all about positive energy, attitude, and spirit,” said Jesse Boeckermann of Montreat College, who recently nominated Paden for the Athena Award. “She exemplifies initiative in everything she does.”

A native of Illinois, Paden holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health, physical education and recreation from Illinois State University. Her work experience includes more than 25 years serving in public parks and recreation, motivational speaker, trainer and consultant for the Office of Recreation and Park Services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

She has also taught at Montreat College, DePaul University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A member of Biltmore Church, she is an active member of the Fletcher Area Business Association and the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Fletcher Park and Recreation Advisory Board. Paden and her husband, Jim, live in Fletcher and have two adult children, Jolee and Justen.

“I love the hometown feel of Henderson County,” Paden said. “The spirit of community, support and love shines through.”
While leading the Y at Mission Pardee, Paden grew membership and increased the number of support groups and classes available to people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer and arthritis.

“The opportunities for growth are new for us,” she said. “As we overcome the pandemic, I’m inspired to help us to create a place of community for all. We all have to be determined to see things from a different lens and serve Henderson County like never before, with the highest quality of service and programs.”

The Hendersonville Family Y reopened for indoor fitness earlier this month with new health and safety protocols.
“When we temporarily closed our facilities in March, we did so to protect the health and well-being of all our staff, volunteers, members, and program participants,” Paden said. “As we reopen indoors, we have the same commitment to keeping everyone safe.”
The Y’s safety precautions include frequent cleaning, health screenings, mask requirements and upgraded air filtration. With capacity limited to 30 percent, members have plenty of room for a socially distanced workout. “We’re thrilled to reopen, but the pandemic has proven what we’ve always known – that the Y is much more than a gym and a place to swim,” Paden said. “As a nonprofit community benefit organization, our Y is about people – people from all backgrounds and walks of life who come together to improve their lives, nurture their families, and strengthen their community."