Celebrating 179 years of the YMCA: A visual journey

Date: 13 June 2023

In honour of the 179-year history of the YMCA, we collected inspiring images from YMCAs across the globe.

Although we received many images representing all four Pillars of Vision 2030, we received the most submissions around Community Wellbeing.

As part of our Founder’s Day photo challenge on 6 June 2023, we invited YMCAs to submit photos showcasing their organisation on that special day. We wanted to marvel at the breadth and depth of what we do. And we wanted to celebrate how far we’ve come since George Williams founded the YMCA in London on 6 June 1844.

And the work of our YMCA is amazing. We received 600-plus photos of YMCAs embracing Vision 2030 and images around each of the four Pillars: Community Wellbeing, Meaningful Work, Sustainable Planet and Just World. We received images for all six Areas and continents. And some images just embraced the fun of the YMCA – showing off the moves made famous from the 1978 Village People song.

We were so inspired by seeing the YMCA, and we hope you will be too.

‘These are exciting times in the YMCA. Across the global Movement, we’re coming together over one shared mission, one shared goal, and four shared ‘Pillars of impact’, said World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee. “We are thrilled at the warmth, enthusiasm and creativity of the response to a simple request to share photographic images of one special ‘family’ day. Thank you to all who took part and sent us these wonderful images. So let’s go up, go together and go outwards as we communicate Vision 2030.”

You can find all the images on our Flickr album, organized around the four Pillars of Impact of Vision 2030: Community Wellbeing, Meaningful WorkSustainable Planet and Just World.

We have been sharing images daily on our social media. Below are just a very few of the photos from all six regions, representing all four Vision 2030 Pillars. And find photo and video inspiration here:

Celebrating the YMCA

Our founder – George Williams

Sustainable Planet in the Asia Pacific area

Community Wellbeing

Highlights on Instagram

Each image tells a unique story of how the YMCA makes a positive difference each day. Join us in exploring the reach and impact of the YMCA.