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Encyclopedia > Young Men's Christian Association
YMCAs in the United States and Canada use this logo. The red triangle symbolizes the YMCA mission to "build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all".

The YMCA (or Young Men's Christian Association) is an ecumenical organization offering programming based on Christian values. The YMCA mission is often stated as, "To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all." Each local YMCA oversees its own finances and governance. Within most countries, the local YMCAs are related primarily in terms of overall strategy and direction only—the organization is truly community-based and staffed and supported by volunteers and local employees. In some localities nowadays, the YMCA is almost exclusively a community sports facility, utilizing physical activities and recreation as a method of promoting positive values. YMCAs operate in 119 countries worldwide. Individual YMCA programming and mission varies from country to country as a result of the model of local governance adopted by the organization. The word ecumenical comes from a Greek word that means pertaining to the whole world. ... Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life, teachings, death by crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament. ... Modern indoor gymnasium with pull-down basketball hoops Gym is a shortened form of gymnasium and refers to facilities intended for indoor sports or exercise. ...



First YMCA in North America in Montreal, Quebec

The YMCA movement was founded in London on June 6, 1844 by George Williams and a group of like-minded Evangelical Christians. Williams was a draper, typical of the many young men who were being drawn to big cities by the Industrial Revolution. His colleagues were similarly employed, and they were concerned by the lack of healthy activities for young men in cities such as London. The alternatives were often taverns, brothels, and other temptations to sin. The "Y" expanded to Australia in 1850. The first YMCA in North America opened in Montreal, Quebec on November 25, 1851, and the first in the United States on December 29, 1851 Greater London and the Regions of England. ... June 6 is the 157th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (158th in leap years), with 208 days remaining. ... 1844 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... George Williams Sir George Williams (1821-1905), was the founder of the YMCA. Williams was born on October 11, 1821, on a farm in Dulverton, Somerset, England. ... Evangelicalism, in a strictly lexical, but rarely used sense, refers to all things that are implied in belief that Jesus is the savior. ... The term draper can refer to a number of individuals and places. ... The Industrial Revolution is the name given to the massive social, economic, and technological change in 18th century and 19th century Great Britain. ... This page is about sin in the context of religion. ... Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is the sixth-largest country in the world, the only country to occupy an entire continent, and the largest in the region of Australasia/Oceania. ... 1850 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... World map showing location of North America A satellite composite image of North America North America is the third largest continent in area and in population after Eurasia and Africa. ... This article needs cleanup. ... November 25 is the 329th (in leap years the 330th) day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events January 23 - The flip of a coin determines whether a new city in Oregon is named after Boston, Massachusetts, or Portland, Maine, with Portland winning. ... The United States of America — also referred to as the United States, the U.S.A., the U.S., America, the States, or (archaically) Columbia—is a federal republic of 50 states located primarily in central North America (with the exception of two states: Alaska and Hawaii). ... December 29 is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 2 days remaining. ... Events January 23 - The flip of a coin determines whether a new city in Oregon is named after Boston, Massachusetts, or Portland, Maine, with Portland winning. ...

Today, YMCAs are present in 119 countries.


The activities of the YMCA can be divided into four categories:


The first YMCA was very much concerned with Bible study, although has generally moved on to a more holistic approach to youthwork. Around six years after its birth, an international YMCA conference in Paris decided that the objective of the organization should become "Christian discipleship developed through a programme of religious, educational, social and physical activities" (Binfield 1973:265). More recent objectives as found on the YMCA UK website include no reference to discipleship. The Bible (From Greek βιβλιος biblios, meaning book, which in turn is derived from βυβλος—byblos meaning papyrus, from the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos which exported papyrus) is a word applied to sacred scriptures. ... DISCiPLE, Miles Gordon Technologys first product, was a floppy disk interface for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computer. ...


In the US, the YMCA "Indian Guides", "Princesses", and "Braves" programs have provided structured opportunities for fellowship, camping, and "tribal" outing activities (including craft-making and community service) for several generations of parents and kids in kindergarten through third grade.

The roots of this still vibrant program stem from similar activities dating back to 1926. Notable founders of s become today's YMCA parent/child programs include Harold Keltner, a St. Louis YMCA director, and indirectly, Joe Friday, an Ojibwa hunting guide. The two men met in the early 1920s, when Joe Friday was a speaker at a local YMCA banquet for Fathers and Sons that Harold Keltner had arranged. Today, Joe Friday and Harold Keltner are commemorated with patch awards honoring their legacy which are given out to distinguished YMCA volunteers in the program. 1926 was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Gateway Arch, shown here behind the Old Courthouse, is the most recognizable part of the St. ... One Called From A Distance (Midwewinind) of the White Earth Band, 1894 The Ojibwa or Chippewa (also Ojibwe, Ojibway, Chippeway) are the third-largest group of Native Americans in the United States, surpassed only by Cherokee and Navajo. ...

YMCA Indian Guides participants historically take pride in cultivating respect and honor for Native American culture. Bowing to changing political viewpoints, the official name for this program is now known nationally as "Adventure Guides," though some federations in California and North Carolina are by choice holding onto the "Indian" theme through 2009. "Trailblazers" is the YMCA's parent/child program for older kids. Native Americans (also Indians, Aboriginal Peoples, American Indians, First Nations, Alaskan Natives, Amerindians, or Indigenous Peoples of America) are the indigenous inhabitants of The Americas prior to the European colonization, and their modern descendants. ... State nickname: The Golden State Other U.S. States Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Official languages English Area 410,000 km² (3rd)  - Land 404,298 km²  - Water 20,047 km² (4. ... State nickname: Tar Heel State Other U.S. States Capital Raleigh Largest city Charlotte Governor Michael Easley Official languages English Area 139,509 km² (28th)  - Land 126,256 km²  - Water 13,227 km² (9. ... 2009 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Children earn patches for achieving various goals, such as completing a designated nature hike or participating in Y-sponsored events. A typical, suburban Indian Guides meeting is parodied in the Bob Hope/Lucille Ball comedy of 1960, The Facts of Life. More recently, the continued popularity of the YMCA I-Guides is seen in the 1995 Chevy Chase/Farrah Fawcett comedy, Man of the House, wherein a campout takes place complete with the dads and kids addressing one another by their Indian names (Chase is "Squatting Dog") in patch-covered vests, wearing headdresses, singing songs, and roasting marshmallows around a campfire. Leslie Townes Hope KBE (May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003), best known as Bob Hope, was a famous entertainer, having appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, on radio and television, movies and in army concerts. ... Lucille Ball as Lucy, Vivian Vance as Ethel on an episode of I Love Lucy Lucille Désirée Ball (August 6, 1911 - April 26, 1989) was an American actress, comedian and star of I Love Lucy. ... 1960 was a leap year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1995 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Cornelius Crane Chase, better known as Chevy Chase (born October 8, 1943) is an American comedian, writer and television and film actor from Woodstock, New York. ... Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett (born 2 February 1947) is an actress who became a noted pop culture icon of the 1970s. ... Man of the House is both a 1995 film and a 2005 film. ...

Physical fitness

Basketball, volleyball, and racquetball were all developed by YMCA instructors. It is very common for YMCA's to have swimming pools and weight rooms, along with facilities for playing various sports. Basketball Basketball is a ball sport in which two teams of five players each try to score points by throwing a ball through a hoop. ... Volleyball is a popular sport where teams separated by a high net hit a ball back and forth between the teams. ... Racquetball racquet and ball Racquetball is a sport played with racquets and a hollow rubber ball on a special indoor court. ... 50 meter indoor swimming pool A swimming pool, swimming bath, or wading pool is an artificially enclosed body of water intended for recreational or competitive swimming, or for other bathing activities that do not involve swimming, i. ... A sport consists of a physical activity or skill carried out with a recreational purpose: for competition, for self-enjoyment, to attain excellence, for the development of a skill, or some combination of these. ...


Many colleges and universities owe their creation to the YMCA. Springfield College was founded in 1885 as an international training school for YMCA Professionals, while Sir George Williams University—one of the two schools that eventually became Concordia University—started from night courses offered at the Montreal YMCA. A college ( Latin collegium) can be the name of any group of colleagues; originally it meant a group of people living together under a common set of rules (con-, together + leg-, law). As a consequence members of colleges were originally styled fellows and still are in some places. ... A university is an institution of higher education and of research, which grants academic degrees. ... Springfield College is a college located in Springfield, Massachusetts. ... This article is about Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. ... This article is about Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. ...

The YMCA pioneered the concept of night school, providing educational opportunities for people with full-time employment. Many YMCAs offer ESL programs, alternative high school, day care, and summer camp programs. English as an additional language is used to refer to the learning of English by speakers of other languages. ... In education, the phrase alternative school usually refers to a school based on a non-traditional, new, or non-standard educational philosophy. ... Day care is the care of a child during the day by a person other than the childs parents or legal guardians, often someone outside the childs immediate family. ... Summer camp, a world-wide phenomenon, is a common destination for children and teenagers during the summer months. ...

American high school students have a chance to participate in YMCA Youth and Government, wherein clubs of kids representing each YMCA community convene annually in their respective state legislatures to "take over the State Capitol for a day." YMCA Youth and Government helps teens learn about and participate in civics in a real-world setting. YMCA Youth and Government is a program the YMCA oversees in the United States to educate high school students about the principles of democratic government. ... State legislatures are the lawmaking bodies of the 50 states in the United States of America. ...

YMCA and the gay community

Historically, before the decriminalisation of homosexuality, some men used the local "Y" as a place to meet other men—often as a place to have anonymous sex. This practice has diminished as gay bathhouses have become more prevalent. The Village People's blockbuster recording of the Disco era, "YMCA", alludes to this. However, most Y's will not freely admit to this part of their history. Homosexuality may refer to: A sexual orientation characterized by aesthetic attraction, romantic love, and sexual desire exclusively or almost exclusively for members of the same sex or with the same gender identity (e. ... Men who engage in human sexual behavior with other men, but do not necessarily identify themselves as gay or bisexual are often described as MSM or Men who have Sex with Men. ... Gay bathhouses, also known as (gay) saunas or steam baths (and sometimes called, in gay slang in some regions, the baths or the tubs), are places where men can go to have sex with other men (note that not all men who visit gay bathhouses consider themselves gay). Bathhouses for... Village People were a disco band of the late 1970s. ... Discothèque redirects here. ... Members of the Yankee Stadium grounds crew pause to do the YMCA dance YMCA is the title of a joyful and sublimely deadpan 1978 song by The Village People. ...

See also

Categories: Organization stubs ... YMCA Youth and Government is a program the YMCA oversees in the United States to educate high school students about the principles of democratic government. ... A Jewish Community Center is a general recreational, social and fraternal organization serving the Jewish community in a number of cities. ...

External links

  • World Alliance of YMCA (http://www.ymca.int/)
  • YMCA history (http://www.ymca.int/history/history.htm)
  • YMCA Guides/Braves/Princesses Program in Thousand Oaks, CA (http://www.conejovalleyymca.org/indian)



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