USA - National Council of YMCAs

Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1851
Membership Status: Full
Full member of the World Alliance of YMCAs since:

Brief YMCA History

The original Young Men's Christian Association started modestly in London in 1844, as a small group of men concerned with serving fellow young men who, like themselves wished to find God. The first members were evangelical Protestants who prayed and studied the Bible together.

Years later, Boston sea captain and missionary Thomas Valentine Sullivan also worried about the temptations facing young men in cities. Inspired by the work of the first YMCA, he led the formation of the first U.S. YMCA in Boston, on December 29, 1851.

Ys spread fast and soon were serving boys and older men as well as young men. Although 5,145 women worked in YMCA military canteens in World War I, it wasn't until after World War II that women and girls were admitted to full membership and participation in the U.S. YMCAs.

Today half of all U.S. YMCA members and program members are female, and half are under age 18. One out of three Americans reports being a YMCA member at some point in life, and the YMCA has touched virtually all Americans in some way. YMCAs invented basketball, volleyball, and racquetball. YMCAs pioneered camping, public libraries, night schools and teaching English as a second language. YMCAs introduced the world's first indoor pool and group-swim lessons. YMCAs offered after-school child care, and YMCAs have provided war relief since the Civil War, aiding millions of soldiers at home and abroad.

In 150 years, the U.S. YMCAs brought about many great organizational programs, such as staff training and certification, which launched the field of professional development. It also established the first retirement fund for any major welfare organization, founded upon a donation from industrialist John D. Rockefeller.

In addition, YMCAs have provided the right environment for ideas and organizations that might never have started without them. The Boys Scouts of America, Camp Fire Girls, the Negro National Baseball League, the Gideons, Toastmasters, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and Father's Day all got their start at YMCAs.

Today, the nation's 2,400 YMCAs are the largest not-for-profit community service organizations in America, working to meet the health and social service needs of 17.5 million men, women and children in 10,000 communities. Ys are for people of all faiths, races, abilities, ages and incomes. No one is turned away for inability to pay. YMCAs' strength is in the people they bring together.

Mission Statement

The mission of the YMCA of the USA is based on Christian principles shared by all faiths and practiced each day in YMCAs across the United States through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

In all its interactions with YMCAs, the YMCA of the USA will be guided by our:

Mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

Vision: We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities.



Core Qualities:
A commitment to stewardship
A devotion to diversity
A sense of unity
A passion for equity
A dedication to quality
A respect for locality
An enthusiasm for volunteerism
A conscious "internationality"

Main Programmes

Collectively, YMCAs make up the largest not-for-profit community service organization in the United States. YMCAs are at the heart of community life in neighborhoods and towns across the nation. They work to meet the health and social service needs of 17.5 million men, women, and children.

Ys help people develop values and behavior that are consistent with Christian principles. They are for people of all ages, abilities, races, religions, and incomes. No one is turned away for inability to pay. The strength of YMCAs is in the people they bring together.


In the average YMCA, a volunteer board sets policy for its executive, who manages the operation with staff and volunteer leaders. Ys meet local community needs through organized activities called programs. In its own way, each YMCA program is intended to:

--build spirit, mind, and body:


All YMCA programs address all three sides of the YMCA triangle. For example, health and fitness programs, which might be labeled as "physical", also improve mental acuity and morale, while arts programs, which might be seen as intellectual and spiritual, can improve health by offering participants a chance for self-expression and a community of caring friends.

--offer a place to belong, people who care, and fun:


YMCAs work to be inclusive and welcoming, building "small communities" among members while connecting them to the larger community. Caring staff and volunteers are the hallmark of YMCAs--they work to make programs fun so participants will stay interested and involved.

--provide effective solutions to social problems:


All YMCA programs meet one or more important community and social needs.

A few examples: health, fitness, and sports programs contribute to public health and indirectly lower health care costs while youth programs give kids the assets they need to become caring, competent adults. No matter what the focus, YMCA programs help build strong kids, strong families, and strong communities.


YMCAs in the United States do hundreds of things. Looking at the list of program issues on the World Alliance survey (Section Six), one could probably find at least one YMCA in the United States that is--directly or indirectly--addressing that issue. Here, however, in BOLD TYPE, are the main program areas of YMCAs in the United States, followed, in regular type, by the names of the typical programs in that category. For more detailed information, please see the YMCA of the USA Intranet, www.ymcausa.org (user name is ymca; password is 9622).


Major YMCA of the USA Program Categories and Examples of Programs


Character development, volunteer development, and service-learning are not listed here because they are not stand-alone programs-they are integrated into all programs.



· Arthritis classes, other water therapies

· CPR and first aid

· Classes for people with disabilities: kids, adults

· Competitive swimming and diving: youth (under 18), masters (18 and over), triathlons

· Lifeguarding, aquatics assistant classes

· Scuba, snorkeling, skindiving, technical diving

· Sports: kayaking, synchronized swim, water polo, wetball, etc.

· Swim lessons: parent-child, preschool, youth, family, teen, adult

· Swims: family, lap, open

· Water fitness

· Water play

· Water and boating safety



· Lessons in the various arts

· Literary arts: Writer's Voice, reading and discussion groups, storytelling, public readings, etc.

· Performing arts: music, dance, poetry, performance, theatre, etc.

· Programs for different groups: children, youths, teens, young adults, adults, families

· Visual arts: ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, murals, textiles, multimedia, etc.



· Camps for special populations: burn victims, spina bifida, cancer, etc.

· Day camp: youth, teen

· Family camp

· International Camp Counselor Program (ICCP)

· High adventure programming

· Older adult camp

· Outdoor and environmental education

· Resident camp: youth, teen

· Specialty camps: computers, sailing, etc.

· Travel and caravan camping



· Full-day infant care

· Full-day toddler care (ages 1-2)

· Full-day preschool (ages 3-5)

· Part-day preschool programs

· School-age child care for elementary and middle schoolers (before or after school and on breaks)



· Family activity programs: family nights, etc.

· Family resource and support programs: counseling, support groups, referrals, etc.

· Parent-child programs: Y-Guides, Y-Princesses, etc.

· Parenting skills programs

· Y-Trail programs



· Group exercise: step, hi/lo aerobics, indoor cycling, kickboxing, etc.

· Health risk/lifestyle assessment, fitness testing

· Personal fitness programs for those starting out

· Personal training

· Programs for people with disabilities

· Specialty exercise classes: healthy back, prenatal, etc.

· Sports medicine programs: cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapy, etc.

· Stop smoking program

· Strength training

· Stress management

· Walking classes and clubs

· Weight management and nutrition, including Get Real

· Yoga

· Youth fitness, including preschool movement, parent-child, teen exercise, etc.



· Education and international awareness programs

· Exchanges: youth, adult; staff, volunteers

· International and development education

· International Camp Counselor Program (ICCP)

· Movement Strengthening

· Multicultural and Diversity education

· Y-to-Y partnerships

· YMCA World Service fundraising

· Youth Development(civic education, employment, recreation, technology, adolescent reproductive health)



· Arts: reading groups, fine arts, crafts, etc.

· Day care for fragile older adults

· Intergenerational programs with sons, daughters, grandchildren

· Low-impact exercise

· Older adult camping

· Older adult sports

· Social clubs

· Support groups and programs

· Travel clubs

· Volunteering, service-learning

· Water exercise and fitness



· Adult leagues: basketball, softball, etc.

· Corporate challenges

· Family sports

· Gymnastics: progressive, competitive

· Martial arts: judo, karate, etc.

· Special Olympics

· Teen sports of all kinds, teen adventure programs

· Youth baseball, softball, T-ball

· Youth basketball, volleyball, soccer

· Youth football: flag, tackle

· Youth hockey

· Youth tennis, racquetball

· Youth wrestling



· Black Achievers (for all youth of color)

· Earth Service Corps

· Leaders Clubs

· Middle-school, after-school programs

· Model United Nations

· Teen clubs: Hi-Y, Tri-Y, etc.

· Youth and Government



· HIV/AIDS education

· Youth Achievers (for all youth of color)

· College student programs (student YMCAs)

· Employment, G.E.D., literacy, tutoring programs: adult, youth

· English as a second language

· Housing: runaway/homeless youth, low-income, short-term homeless shelters, transitional

· Mentoring programs

· Substance abuse programs

· Violence prevention, gang intervention and prevention

· Youth development programs

Address National Office

YMCA of the USA
Mr Kevin Washington
101 N. Wacker Drive Chicago IL 60606-7386

Telephone: 00-1-312-977-0031
Fax: 00-1-312-977-9063
Website: www.ymca.net



YMCA of the U.S.A

YMCA Earth Service Corps

YMCA Archives

International Camp Counselor Program

YMCA of Greater New York - International Division



Southeast YMCA, Huntsville AL

YMCA Camp Cosby, Birmingham AL



Anchorage Community YMCA, Anchorage AK



Prescott YMCA



Hot Springs Family YMCA, Hot Springs AR



Burbank Family YMCA, Burbank CA

The Downtown Berkeley YMCA, Berkeley

California YMCA Youth & Government Program


Camarillo Family YMCA, Camarillo CA

Orange YMCA

Ventura Family YMCA, Ventura CA

YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles Los Angeles CA

YMCA of San Diego County, San Diego CA

YMCA of Stanislaus County, Modesto CA

YMCA of Orange county, Orange CA



YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park CO

Estes Park Center - Lula W. Dorsey Museum



Camp Hazen YMCA, Chester CT

Camp Sloane YMCA

Connecticut YMCA Youth and Government, CT

Vally YMCA, Ansonia CT



Charlotte County Family YMCA Charlotte County FL

North Central Florida YMCA, Gainesville FL

Sarasota Family YMCA, Sarasota FL

Suncoast Family YMCA, Clearwater FL

Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, Tampa FL

YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg



YMCA National SCUBA Program



Atherton YMCA, Oahu HI

YMCA Camp H.R. Erdman



YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago

B.R. Ryall YMCA, Glen Ellyn IL

Illinois Valley YMCA

YMCA of Chicago, Cook, DuPage, IL

Joliet YMCA, Joliet IL

Two Rivers YMCA, Moline IL

Naperville Area YMCA, Naperville IL

Oak Park YMCA IL

University YMCA, Urbana-Champaign IL



Lafayette Family YMCA, Lafayette IN

YMCA of Valparaiso, Valparaiso IN

LaPorte Family YMCA IN



YMCA of Greater Des Moines, Des Moines IA



YMCA of Wichita, Sedgwick, KS




YMCA of Louisville



YMCA of Greater New Orleans, New Orleans LA

YMCA of Baton Rouge East Baton Rouge Parish, LA



Casco Bay Regional YMCA Freeport ME



Cumberland YMCA, Cumberland MD

Cumberland YMCA Heritage Foundation, Cumberland MD



Allston/Brighton Family YMCA, Brigton MA

Attleboro YMCA, Attleboro MA

Camp Frank A. Day, Residence Camp, Newton, MA

YMCA of Greater Boston



Greater Memphis Website



YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit

YMCA Camp Eberhart, Three Rivers MI

YMCA Storer Camps, Jackson MI

YMCA of Detroit Wayne, MI



Kimball Camp YMCA

Northwest YMCA, Minneapolis MN

Rochester Area Family Y, Rochester MN

University of Minnesota YMCA, MN



Jefferson City Family YMCA, Jefferson City MO

Springfield Family YMCA, Springfield MO

West County YMCA, St. Louis MO

Missouri YMCA Youth in Government Programme

YMCA of Greater St. Louis



Missoula Family YMCA, Missoula MT



Downtown Lincoln YMCA, Lincoln NB


New Hampshire

Camp Takodah, Cheshire County YMCA, Keene NH

YMCA Camp Coniston


New Jersey

Madison Area YMCA, Madison NJ

Princeton Family YMCA, Princeton, NJ

Somerset Hills YMCA, Basking Ridge NJ

YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Inc. Medford NJ

YMCA Camp Ralph S. Mason, Hardwick NJ

YMCA Newark NJ

YMCA Westfield NJ

West Morris Area YMCA

YMCA Camp Bernie


New York

Camp Dudly YMCA, Westport NY

Dutchess County YMCA

Frost Valley YMCA

YMCA of Greater New York, New York NY

YMCA of Silver Bay


North Carolina

Greensboro Central YMCA, Greensboro NC

YMCA Camp Cheerio, High Point NC

YMCA Camp Greenville, Cedar Mountain NC

YMCA of the Greater Charlotte Area

YMCA of Iredell County



YMCA Of Metropolitan Dayton

Akron YMCA, Akron OH

YMCA of Central Ohio, Columbus OH

YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati OH

Lake County YMCA, Painesville OH



YMCA Great Plains Family

Camp Classen, a branch of the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City



Salem Family YMCA, Salem OR



Bloomsburg YMCA

Deer Valley YMCA Camp, Fort Hill PA

YMCA of Philadelphia & Vicinity, Philadelphia PA

William Sport YMCA

New Castle Community Y

State YMCA of Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre YMCA


South Carolina

Camp Thunderbird, Lake Wyiie, SC

Summerville Family YMCA, Summerville SC


South Dakota

Sioux YMCAs



YMCA Camp Ocoee, Chattanooga, TN

YMCA of Middle Tennessee




Central Texas Y SCUBA Program, Waco TX

YMCA of Austin Travis Williamson Hays, TX

Downtown Houston YMCA, Houston TX

Park Cities YMCA, Dallas TX

YMCA of Arlington, Arlington TX

YMCA of Victoria Texas, Victoria TX

YMCA of Wichita Falls, Wichita Falls TX

YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth



YMCA Camp Roger, Salt Lake City UT



YMCA of Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA



Eastside YMCA, Bellevue WA

Skagit Valley Family YMCA, Mount Vernon WA

The Whatcom Family YMCA, Bellingham WA

YMCA at Washington State University, Pullman WA

YMCA of Tacoma-Pierce County Tacoma WA

Inland Northwest



Door County YMCA, Sturgeon Bay WI

Phantom Lake YMCA Camp, Mukwonago, WI

Y Camp Jorn, WI

YMCA of Green Bay, Brown, WI

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