What is the YMCA? The Y is made up of all ages from every walk of life working side by side to strengthen communities. The YMCA’s motto is that they work to insure everyone, regardless of gender, income, faith, sexual orientation, or cultural background, has the opportunity to live life to its fullest. They share the values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. In this paper you will learn a lot about the YMCA’s history, its founder, and some of the activities.
George Williams founded the YMCA in 1844. In 1844 twenty-two-year-old George Williams joined 11 friends to organize the first Young Men’s Association (YMCA), a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape ...view middle of the document...
Martin Luther King Jr., novelist Jack Kerouac, and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young.
In 1861, a conference with President Abraham Lincoln led to the full-scale recruitment of YMCA volunteers. Eventually numbering 5,000, members of the U.S. Christian Commission served as surgeons, nurses and chaplains during the Civil War. The volunteers distributed medical supplies, food and clothing, and taught soldiers to read and write. The first YMCA buildings constructed with gymnasiums opened in 1869. In 1881, Boston YMCA staffer Robert J. Roberts coined the term “body building” and developed exercise classes that anticipated today’s fitness workouts. In 1903, the YMCA created an “industrial” department to work with railroad workers, miners and lumbermen, and to assist immigrants. Today, YMCAs respond to changing demographics through refugee services, welcome centers, adult education classes and more.
In answer to a YMCA campaign “to teach every man and boy in North America” to swim, George Corsan arrived at the Detroit YMCA in 1909 to teach swimming using radical new methods: group swimming lessons and lessons on land as a confidence builder. In Newark, N.J., alone, he taught 800 boys to swim in just four weeks. In 1910, 25 black YMCAs were built in 23 cities as a result of a challenge grant program announced by Sears Roebuck founder Julius Rosenwald. The Ys included clean, safe dorm rooms and eating facilities, which were a boon to black travelers, especially servicemen, in a segregated and discriminatory era. Swimming classes expanded throughout the century to include families and people with disabilities. In addition to helping youth feel safe around water, swim activities develop kids’ problem-solving abilities and bolster their self-esteem.
Throughout World War I, the YMCA provided morale and welfare services for the military. By war’s end, the YMCA, through the United War Work Council, had operated 1,500 canteens in the United States and France; set up 4,000 YMCA huts for recreation and religious services; and raised more than $235 million—equal to $4.3 billion today—for relief work. In 1926, YMCAs made a commitment to families when the parent-child program Y-Indian Guides began at the St. Louis YMCA. Started by Harold J. Keltner and Joe Friday, a member of the Ojibway tribe, the program was based on the Native-American family model and sought to foster the companionship of father and son. The program later expanded to include father-daughter (Y-Indian Princess), mother-son, mother-daughter (Y-Indian Maiden) and parent-preschooler components.
Sponsored by the New York State YMCA, the YMCA Youth & Government program began in Albany in 1936. The program encourages high school students to understand the processes of government and to prepare to participate in it. In 1950, YMCA volunteer Joe Sobek invented racquetball in Greenwich, Conn., as an alternative to squash and handball. Like previous YMCA inventors, Sobek was not paid for his invention;...