The YMCA has a very clear and concise mission statement. Their mission is "to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all".
The YMCA is the nation's largest not-for-profit community service organization in America. With more than 2,500 YMCAs, they are able to meet the health and social service needs of 18.9 million men, women and children in over 10,000 communities in the United States. No one is turned away from the Y. It is a place for people fo all faiths, races, abilities, ages and incomes. Inability to pay is never a reason for the YMCA to turn someone away. Their strength lies in fulfilling their goal of bringing people together.
Not every community is the same. Therefore, each YMCA is different to accommodate these differing needs. The YMCA in your community may offer child care or teen leadership clubs. In the next town over, swimming lessons or drawing lessons may be of bigger concern. Every Y makes their won decisions based on the needs of the community around them. They decide which programs to offer and how to operate.
The YMCA was founded in London, England,
in 1844 by George Williams and some friends who lived
and worked as clerks in a drapery, a forerunner of drygoods
and department stores. Their goal was to help
young men like themselves find God. The first members
were evangelical Protestants who prayed and studied the
Bible as an alternative to vice.
The first U.S. YMCA was started in Boston in 1851,
the work of Thomas Sullivan, a retired sea captain and lay
missionary. From Boston, YMCAs spread rapidly across
America, many of which started opening their doors to
boys and men of all ages. Some YMCAs were started to
serve specific groups such as railroad and factory workers,
as well as African Americans, Native Americans and recent
immigrants. After World War II, women and girls were
admitted to full membership and participation....