History of the YMCA

The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded by George Williams in London. Williams had left his farm home to work in London which he found to be a lawless and filthy city, rampant with crime and vice.  In response to these conditions, he formed a support group of young men like himself who came together to pray and study the Bible. The concept was readily accepted by both individuals and businesses. On June 6, 1844, the YMCA was organized.

The idea spread rapidly. Thomas Sullivan, a retired sea captain, established the first YMCA in the United States in Boston in 1851.

Initially, the YMCA served only young Protestant men. Today, the YMCA welcomes people of all ages, sexes and faiths. Sixty percent of YMCA members are women and the senior adult group represents the fastest growing membership population.

Looking for new ways to meet the needs of people, the YMCA helped to start the scouts, campfire, U.S.O., and youth resident camping. YMCA staff invented basketball in 1891 and volleyball in 1895.

The basic purpose of the YMCA is the wholesome growth and development of the mind, body and spirit of the individual. This atmosphere encourages people to make something better of themselves, their families and their communities.