YMCA: History to Present

The Hampton Virginia YMCA closed last month due to coronavirus. My back misses it and tells me so. Swimming is essential for back pain relief. Working from state to state there always has been an available Y and for this I am grateful. Thinking of this let’s learn about their history.

How did the Y start?

The YMCA, Young Men’s Christian Association, started in London, England, in 1844 by George Williams, a 22 year old farmer turned department store worker. He and 11 friends began as a Bible group for young men needing a place free from the turmoil of early industrial England. The Y was an escape for these young men helping them find healthy social connections in large cities.

How did the Y come across the Atlantic?

In 1851, Thomas Valentine Sullivan, a marine missionary brought the Y to America. He created a home for sailors and merchants in the First Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts.

And today’s Y?

There are 2700 YMCA’s in America with 20,000 full time staff and 600,000 volunteers assisting 9 million youth and 13 million adults. The Y continues after more than 150 year of service helping others to remain active and fit.

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