The Young Men's Christian Association was founded in London, England, on June 6, 1844, in response to unhealthy social conditions arising in the big cities at the end of the Industrial Revolution (roughly 1750 to 1850). Growth of the railroads and centralization of commerce and industry brought many rural young men who needed jobs into cities like London. They worked 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week.
Far from home and family, these young men often lived at the workplace. They slept crowded into rooms over the company's shop, a location thought to be safer than London's tenements and streets. Outside the shop things were bad -- open sewers, pickpockets, thugs, beggars, drunks, lovers for hire and abandoned children running wild by the thousands.
George Williams, born on a farm in 1821, came to London 20 years later as a sales assistant in a draper's shop, a forerunner of today's department store. He and a group of fellow drapers organized the first YMCA to substitute Bible study and prayer for life on the streets. By 1851 there were 24 Ys in Great Britain, with a combined membership of 2,700. That same year the Y arrived in North America: It was established in Montreal on November 25, and in Boston on December 29.
The idea proved popular everywhere. In 1853, the first YMCA for African Americans was founded in Washington, D.C., by Anthony Bowen, a freed slave. The next year the first international convention was held in Paris. At the time there were 397 separate Ys in seven nations, with 30,369 members total.
The YMCA idea, which began among evangelicals, was unusual because it crossed the rigid lines that separated all the different churches and social classes in England in those days. This openness was a trait that would lead eventually to including in YMCAs all men, women and children, regardless of race, religion or nationality. Also, its target of meeting social need in the community was dear from the start.
George Williams was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1894 for his YMCA work and buried in 1905 under the floor of St. Paul's Cathedral among that nation's heroes and statesmen. A large stained glass window in Westminster Abbey, complete with a red triangle, is dedicated to YMCAs, to Sir George and to Y work during the first World War.
Civil War times
In the United States during the Civil War, Y membership shrunk to one-third its size as members marched off to battle. Fifteen of the remaining Northern Ys formed the U.S. Christian Commission to assist the troops and prisoners of war. It was endorsed by President Abraham Lincoln, and its 4,859 volunteers included the American poet Walt Whitman. Among other accomplishments, it gave more than 1 million Bibles to fighting men. It was the beginning of a commitment to working with soldiers and sailors that continues to this day through the Armed Services YMCAs.
Only 59 Ys were left by war's end, but a rapid rebuilding followed, and four years later there were 600 more. The focus was on saving souls, with saloon and street corner preaching, lists of Christian boarding houses, lectures, libraries and meeting halls, most of them in rented quarters.
But seeds of future change were there. In 1866, the influential New York YMCA adopted a fourfold purpose: "The improvement of the spiritual, mental, social and physical condition of young men."
In those early days, YMCAs were run almost entirely by volunteers. There were a handful of paid staff members before the Civil War who kept the place clean, ran the library and served as corresponding secretaries. But it wasn't until the 1880s, when YMCAs began putting up buildings in large numbers, that most associations thought they needed someone there full time.
Gyms and swimming pools came in at that time, too, along with big auditoriums and bowling alleys. Hotel-like rooms with bathrooms down the hall, called dormitories or residences, were designed into every new YMCA building, and would continue to be until the late 1950s. Income from rented rooms was a great source of funds for YMCA activities of all kinds. Residences would make a major financial contribution to the movement for the next century.
Ys took up boys work and organized summer camps. They set up exercise drills in classes -- forerunners of today's aerobics -- using wooden dumbbells, heavy medicine balls and so-called Indian clubs, which resembled graceful, long-necked bowling pins. Ys organized college students for social action, literally invented the games of basketball and volleyball and served the special needs of railroad men who had no place to stay when the train reached the end of the line. By the 1890s, the fourfold purpose was transformed into the triangle of spirit, mind and body.
Moody and Mott
John Mott (second from left), a leader of the YMCA movement in America, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946. Mott's award was in recognition for the YMCA's role in increasing global understanding and for its humanitarian efforts. Mott himself was a student of the YMCA movement, and he was a major influence on the Y's missionary movement. Through the influence of nationally known lay evangelists Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) and John Mott (1865-1955), who dominated the movement in the last half of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries respectively, the American YMCAs sent workers by the thousands overseas, both as missionary -- like YMCA secretaries and as war workers.
The first foreign work secretaries, as they were called, reflected the huge missionary outreach by Christian churches near the turn of the century. But instead of churches, they organized YMCAs that eventually were placed under local control. Both Moody and Mott served for lengthy periods as paid professional staff members of the YMCA movement. Both maintained lifelong connections with it.
The U.S. entered World War I in April 1917. Mott, on his own, involved the YMCA movement in running the military canteens, called post exchanges today, in the United States and in France. Ys led fundraising campaigns that raised $235 million for those YMCA operations and other wartime causes, and hired 25,926 Y workers -- 5,145 of them women -- to run the canteens.
It also took on war relief for both refugees and prisoners of war on both sides, and worked to ease the path of African American soldiers returning to the segregated South. Y secretaries from China supervised the Chinese laborers brought to Europe to unload ships, dig trenches and clear the battlefields after the war. Y.C. James Yen, a Yale graduate working with YMCAs in France, developed a simple Chinese alphabet of 100 characters that became a major weapon in wiping out illiteracy in China. Funds left over from war work helped in the 1920s to spur a Y building boom, outreach to small towns and counties, work with returning black troops and blossoming of YMCA trade schools and colleges.
Young Men's Christian Association is a International, Non Governmental, Voluntary, Non profit making christian Organization who seek to unite those young men, who regarding Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour. acccording to the Holy scriptures, desire to be disciples in their faith and in their life, and to associate their efforts for the extension of His kingdom amongst young men.
We offer community based services, we equip the youths and train them to becoming the great Y we seek
That they all may be one...... John 17:21
Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and striving for spiritual, intellectual and physical well being of individuals and wholeness of communities.
Empowering all, especially young people and women to take increased responsibilities and assume leadership at all levels and working towards an equitable society.
you to attend the YMCA Conference. Check our Fanpage.
You can book our main multipurpose hall for your wedding ceremony, Birthday, naming ceremonies, Special events, seminar and lectures
There are spaces for your offices work which you can fill in a year and more
Charlets are available for your privacy, 24/7 electricity, running water, security and many other facilities
We have fieldwhich you can also use for your events,parking space which can contain not less than 500 motor cars.
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