History of the Y

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Volunteer founded and volunteer led, the YMCA was founded in 1844 by George Williams in London, England to give young men an alternative to life on the streets. In 1851, Thomas Sullivan, a retired sea captain and lay missionary, started the first US YMCA in Boston. From there, YMCAs spread rapidly across America. Some Ys were started to serve specific groups such as railroad and factory workers, as well as Native Americans, African Americans and immigrants. After World War II, women and girls were admitted to full membership and participation.

Locally, the Valley Points Family YMCA was established as a result of a merger between three independent Ys (first the New Kensington and Kiski Valley and in 2019 the Allegheny Valley). We have been serving our community since 1901, in good times and bad. With a solid foundation of programs, community support and a common vision for the future, the Valley Points Family YMCA is poised to impact lives throughout the Alle-Kiski region on a daily basis.

The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for youth development, healthy living and social  responsibility. We are a powerful association of men, women and children committed to bringing about lasting personal and social change. With a focus on nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving the nation’s health and well-being and providing opportunities to give back and support neighbors, the Y enables youth, adults, families and communities to be healthy, confident, connected and secure. Programs, services and initiatives offered by the Y are unique to the needs of the local community and are open to people of all ages, regardless of their financial situation.

Did you know...

NaismithTwo major sports—basketball and volleyball—were born at the YMCA. A Y instructor created the first group swimming lesson, and the Y was the first to establish certification programs for lifesaving, swimming and aquatic instruction. The Y also pioneered and greatly expanded summer camping, night school, vocational counseling, adult education, college student services and junior college.

YMCA World Service workers were forerunners of Peace Corps volunteers. The YMCA assisted in the formation of other major groups such as Boy Scouts, Camp Fire, and the USO.

 

 
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