The Y celebrates 173 years of making a difference

Staff report

SIDNEY — June 6 marks the 173rd 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 volunteer organizations, renowned for its commitment to helping people of every background reach their potential.

The Y was created on June 6, 1844, in London, England by George Williams and 11 friends. From these humble beginnings, the Y was committed to meeting the practical and spiritual needs of young men flocking to London during the Industrial Revolution. Since then, the Y has grown and evolved to be a cause that focuses on meeting the needs of children, families and adults in 10,000 communities in the U.S. and 119 countries around the globe. As part of its rich heritage, the Y is responsible for a number of innovations that influenced history and are part of our daily lives.

For instance:

• Basketball, racquetball and volleyball were all 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 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 also created at a Y.

For 49 years in Shelby County the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA has been a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We’ve help thousands of community members through Teen Leadership programs, swimming lessons, child care and many other vital services and programs. “As a cause driven organization, we have been tremendously blessed by all those who have supported and have been a part of our great Y” said Ed Thomas, CEO. He added, “none of what we have been able to accomplish would have been possible without the amazing volunteers, donors, members and staff who have been a significant part of our Y. We very much look forward to what the next 50 years will bring and how we can continue to make a difference in every life we touch”.

Stop by the YMCA to take a tour and to learn how the Y continues to make a tremendous impact in Sidney and Shelby County.

For more information, contact the Y at 937-492-9134 or visit

Staff report