The Y celebrates 172 years of making a difference

Staff report

SIDNEY — June 6 marks the 172nd anniversary of the Y – a global, Christian based organization that began with a simple but powerful idea: a strong, supportive community can help people build healthier and happier lives. Since its founding, the Y has grown into one of the world’s largest volunteer organizations, renowned for its commitment to helping people of every background reach their full potential.

From its humble beginnings on June 6, 1844 in London, England, led by its founder George Williams and 11 friends, the Y was created to meet the practical and spiritual needs of young men flocking to London during the Industrial Revolution. Since then, the Y has expanded to meeting the needs of over 58 million people, consisting of children, families and adults in 10,000 communities across the U.S. and in 119 countries around the globe. As part of its rich heritage, the Y is credited with a number of innovations that have influenced history and become a part of our daily lives.

For instance:

Basketball and volleyball were both invented at the Y.

Night school and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes began at the Y.

The world’s first indoor pool was built and operated at a Y, and the concept of group swim lessons started at the Y.

The United Service Organizations (USO) was created with help from the Y, and the Peace Corps was patterned after a Y program.

Father’s Day was created at a Y.

Closer to home, the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA, for the past 48 years has been a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Each year countless families and children have benefited from signature programs such as the Two-Star Step-Up-To-Quality Child Development Center, Swim Lessons for all ages, the nationally award winning Gymnastics Programs, Diabetes Education and Awareness classes for those adults at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, Adult and Youth Sports and more than 50 different fitness classes anchored by the Y’s top rated Wellness Center. For a complete listing of all that the Y has to offer, call 937-492-9134 or visit the Y’s web site at

To help celebrate the Y’s 172nd anniversary, the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA is offering “Funday Mondays” during the month of June. Current Y members will be able to bring a guest for free to the Y any Monday in June. If their guest decides to join on a “Funday Monday,” the New Member Joining Fee will be completely waived. For more details, stop by or call the Y’s Welcome Center.

Staff report