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Fun Facts

The YMCA Mission in Action

  • 1,496 Y's serve communities where the median family income is below the U.S. average.

  • Y's give financial assistance to 20% of kids in their child care program.

  • All are welcome at their neighborhood YMCA, regardless of age, race, faith, or background.

  • American's 2,633 YMCAs are collectively the largest not-for-profit community service organizations in the United States.

  • YMCA's work abroad, serving more than 45 million people in more than 120 countries.

  • More than half a million volunteers across the country make it all happen.


Sports Facts...


Volleyball was invented at the Holyoke Mass YMCA in 1885 by William Morgan, an instructor at the Y who felt basketball was too strenuous for businessmen.


Racquetball was invented in 1950 at the Greenwich Conn YMCA by Joe Sobek.


Softball - was given its name by a motion by Walter Hakanson of the Denver YMCA in 1926. Softball has been played for many years prior to 1926, under names as kittenball, softball, and even sissyball.


Basketball - was invented by the International YMCA Training School in December of 1891 by James Naismith. The game's first professional team came from a Y.


Swimming has long been associated with the YMCA, and tens of millions of people across the country learned how to swim at the YMCA.


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Camp Fire Girl

Camp Fire Girls was founded in 1910. (Now Camp Fire Boys and Girls)

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Boy Scouts

YMCA leaders played a key role in the development of the Boy Scouts in the United States. YMCA and Scout leaders realized that Scouting in the United States needed to be a separate movement. In June 1910, a temporary national headquarters was housed in the YMCA office in New York City.


USO (United Service Organization)

USO (United Service Organization) was created in October 1940, as a joint effort between many organizations including the YMCA, helping servicemen and noncombatants in the nation's war.

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Peace Corps

Peace Corps was founded in 1961 by President Kennedy and was patterned after the YMCA's program of World Service Workers, which had started in the 1880's.


Gideons International

Gideons International was formed on July 1, 1899, at the YMCA in Janesville, Wisconsin. The Gideons were a group of Christian commercial travelers who were to evangelize as they went around the country on business, now they provide Bibles for every hotel room.

Father's Day

Father's Day in its present form was created at a meeting at Spokane, Washington YMCA in 1909 by Loise Smart Dodd. President officially recognized Father's Day in 1972

Famous YMCA Alumni's

  • Wilt Chamberlain- when he was 16, was on the national YMCA championship men's team.

  • Ronald Reagan - learned lifesaving and played the drum in the band at the Dixon, Illinois YMCA.

  • Aaron Spelling - TV producer, said the YMCA was his one escape from the streets: the chance to be part of something - the family of the Y.

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