To teach Zumba at the YMCA there are lots of trainings and online courses required. Fortunately, they’re paying me for my time. While taking the “New Staff Orientation Training”, I was impressed by the YMCA mission:

“To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.”

I’m on board with that. I was amazed to see the word “Christian”. Christian principles come from the Bible…so in essence, I’m putting Biblical principles into practice by doing my zumba “ministry”. I love it! My two worlds right now–biblical counseling and zumba–are more interconnected than I originally thought!

Some interesting factoids about the Y:

-150 years old and still going strong

-YMCA stands for Young Men’s Christian Association. George Williams founded the first YMCA in London, England in 1844.

-22 year old George Williams and 11 friends were compelled to help young men find what they felt: god’s grace. They were a small group of men concerned with protecting fellow young men from the vices of the city.

-The first members were evangelical Protestants who prayed and studied the Bible as an alternative to the vice-plagued streets.

-The YMCA was unusual because it crossed rigid lines that separated all the different churches and social classes in England.

-Years later, Boston sea captain and missionary Thomas Valentine Sullivan also worried about the temptations facing young men in the cities. Inspired by the work of the first YMCA, he led the formation of the first U.S. YMCA, in Boston on December 29, 1851.

-George Williams and his colleagues restricted membership to those who belonged to a Christian Church. It was not until 1931 that the YMCA opened its doors to members of all faiths.

-Despite restrictions on their membership, women have served on YMCA staffs since Ellen Brown was hired at the Buffalo, NY YMCA in 1886 to do educational work with boys. In 1933, women were recognized and admitted into the YMCA board of  directors.

-Today about half of YMCA members are female and half are under age 18.

-Some YMCAs choose to adopt a variation of the mission statement.

-One third of all Americans are YMCA alumni.

-YMCAs invented basketball and volleyball, their best-known contributions.

-YMCAs pioneered camping, public libraries, night schools and teaching English as a second language.

2 thoughts on “YMCA

  1. Another factoid: Dale Carnegie (author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”) started teaching public speaking at the NYC YMCA in 1912 (100 years ago this year).

  2. When did the YWCA start? Young WOMEN’s Christian Association.
    And what about the dance Y-M-C-A?! 🙂
    The 92nd Street Y in NYC leaves off the last three letters…wonder if it was a real YMCA or a different organization.

    So glad your YMCA is keeping to the original mission! That mind-body-spirit connection is real and you are doing well to care for the whole person.

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