Youth Troubles (5) – YMCA: Keeping the Youth OUT of Trouble
August 12 is International Youth Day. This week’s feature: “Youth Troubles”. We look into the challenges and struggles of the youth du jour.
Today we look into the YMCA and how it has been helping keep young folks out of trouble since 1844.
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow…for good!
In 1844, industrialized London was a place of great turmoil and despair. For the young men who migrated to the city from rural areas to find jobs, London offered a bleak landscape of tenement housing and dangerous influences. There was a lack of healthy activities for young men in major cities. The options available were usually taverns and brothels.
Twenty-two-year-old George Williams, a farmer-turned-department store worker, was troubled by what he saw. He joined 11 friends to organize the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets.
Although an association of young men meeting around a common purpose was nothing new, the Y offered something unique for its time. The organization’s drive to meet social need in the community was compelling, and its openness to members crossed the rigid lines separating English social classes.
|First Y in North America
opened: Nov 25, 1851
Years later, retired Boston sea captain Thomas Valentine Sullivan, working as a marine missionary, noticed a similar need to create a safe “home away from home” for sailors and merchants. Inspired by the stories of the Y in England, he led the formation of the first U.S. YMCA at the Old South Church in Boston on December 29, 1851.
By 1851, there were YMCAs in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and France.
Today, YMCA is a worldwide organisation with more than 58 million beneficiaries from 125 national associations.It aims to put Christian principles into practice by developing a healthy “body, mind and spirit”. These three angles are reflected by the different sides of the (red) triangle – part of all YMCA logos. The different local YMCAs are voluntarily affiliated through their national organisations. The national organisations in turn are part of both an Area Alliance and the World Alliance of YMCAs. The World Alliance’s main motto is: “Empowering young people” and it is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
In the USA:
The Y engages more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country. As the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to helping people and communities to learn, grow and thrive, the contributions of the YMCA are both far-reaching and intimate—from influencing the nation’s culture during times of profound social change to the individual support provided to an adult learning to read.
By nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving the nation’s health and well-being, and supporting and serving its neighbors, the Y ensures that everyone has the opportunity to become healthier, more confident, connected and secure.
How the YMCA can help kids,
teens & families
YMCA believes that the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks for life. Because of the Y, more young people in neighbourhoods in the USA, Canada and around the world are taking a greater interest in learning and making smarter life choices. At the Y, children and teens learn values and positive behaviors, and can explore their unique talents and interests, helping them realize their potential. That makes for confident kids today and contributing and engaged adults tomorrow.
With so many demands on today’s families and the increased focus on early brain development, families need all the support they can get to nurture the potential of youth. That’s why child care and early learning programs at the Y focus on holistically nurturing child development by providing a safe and healthy place to learn foundational skills, develop healthy, trusting relationships and build self-reliance through the Y values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
Education & Leadership
All kids have great potential. At the Y, a leading nonprofit strengthening community through youth development, they work every day to help kids set and achieve their personal and educational goals. As a result, millions of children and teens nationwide gain confidence as they recognize the Y as a place where they belong and can feel comfortable exploring new interests and passions. Additionally, through the Y’s leadership and academic enrichment programs such as mentoring, Youth and Government and college preparation, the Y makes sure that every child has an opportunity to envision and pursue a positive future, and to take an active role in strengthening his or her community.
Swim, Sports & Play
The Y is the starting point for many youth to learn about becoming and staying active, and developing healthy habits they’ll carry with them throughout their lives. And the benefits are far greater than just physical health. Whether it’s gaining the confidence that comes from learning to swim or building the positive relationships that lead to good sportsmanship and teamwork, participating in sports at the Y is about building the whole child, from the inside out.
Overnight, day or specialty camps at the Y share one thing: they’re about discovery. Kids have the opportunity to explore nature, find new talents, try new activities, gain independence, and make lasting friendships and memories. And, of course, it’s fun too.
Examples of YMCA’s various programs for the youth in different locations: