SIDNEY — June 6 marked the 174th anniversary of the Y – a global organization that began with a simple but powerful idea: a strong, supportive community can help people build healthier, happier lives. Since its founding the Y has grown into one of the world’s largest community-based charitable organizations, renowned for its commitment to helping people of every background reach their potential.
From its humble beginnings on June 6, 1844, in London by George Williams and 11 friends, the Y saw to and met the practical and spiritual needs of young men flocking to London during the Industrial Revolution. Since then, the Y has grown and changed, meeting the needs of children, adults and families in 10,000 communities in the U.S. and 119 countries around the globe.
Locally, the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA is celebrating its 50th Anniversary – 50 years of Strengthening Shelby County!
Local Y CEO Ed Thomas said, “We have several ways to celebrate our 50th Anniversary throughout 2018 including our free family festival called Y-Fest! presented by Wilson Health on Saturday July 21st. However, what we are proudest of is the way our Y has been impacting all Shelby County residents through programs and services that build healthy mind, spirit, and body for all.”
There have been numerous notable events and achievements throughout the Y’s 174 year history that demonstrates the Y’s commitment to the communities it serves, including:
Celebrations such as Father’s Day, and organizations like the Peace Corps, all have their roots at the YMCA.
The oldest known summer camp, Camp Dudley, first opened in 1855 and countless numbers of boys and girls have since developed critical skills and made memories along the way. Many summer camps are currently underway or scheduled at the Y in Sidney, including Summer Day Camp with a new theme each week, Tumbling, Gymnastics, Acrobatics and Cheer camps, and Summer Sports Camps featuring tennis, basketball and volleyball.
From James Naismith’s invention of basketball to instructors creating racquetball and what would eventually become volleyball, the Y has a rich tradition in activities that are played by millions of people around the globe. One Y staffer, Robert J. Roberts, is credited with inventing the term “body building.”
YMCA leader John R. Mott was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for the Y’s groundbreaking role in raising global awareness and support and for the organization’s humanitarian efforts.
The Y is credited with spearheading the first public libraries, night school for adult education and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. Today that work continues with STEM, Achievement Gap and Youth and Government programs. Locally, the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA is preparing to install a new computer lab complete with STEM learning software to insure the youth in our community – particularly those in our before and after school program – have access to these tools. The funds for this brand new lab have come from a grant the Y has received from Honda of America.
Today the Y is addressing some of the most pressing health issues such as diabetes, obesity, and chronic diseases. The Delay the Disease exercise program for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease is held three times each week at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA, and has resulted in remarkable improvements in mobility for most of the participants.
“Our cause is ‘strengthening community,’” said Thomas, “and we are so much more than just a fitness center. As we are celebrating our first 50 years in 2018, we are looking forward to our next 50 with great expectation and excitement.”
For more information about the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA, its programs, membership, or Y-Fest!, call 937-492-9134 or visit www.sidney-ymca.org.