Founded in 1981, the Camarillo Family YMCA, a branch of the Channel Islands YMCA of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, serves the communities of Camarillo, Somis and Oxnard; we operated for twenty years without our own facility. The Camarillo Family YMCA offered the community popular and nationally recognized programs, involving 1800 youth and their families annually, including childcare, parent-child programs, youth sports, youth day and resident camps all from rented spaces within the community.
April 22, 2006 the Camarillo Family YMCA- Hiji Center opened the doors to our 14,000-square-foot facility at 3111 Village at the Park Drive. We had a dedicated team of volunteers and YMCA executives who helped raised funds.
Since the 2006 opening we have continued to grow and have become an important part of the community offering many programs such as childcare, parent-child programs, youth sports and wellness, youth day and resident camps, adult wellness and many more.
Volunteer founded and volunteer led, the YMCA was established in London, England, in 1844 by George Williams, a draper's shop assistant, to give young men an alternative to life on the streets.
In 1851, Thomas Sullivan, a retired sea captain and lay missionary, started the first U.S. YMCA in Boston. From there, YMCAs spread rapidly across America. Some were started to serve specific groups such as railroad and factory workers, as well as African Americans, Native Americans and recent immigrants. After World War II, women and girls were admitted to full membership and participation.
In 1881 Dr. Luther Gulick revolutionized the American approach to health and fitness with the idea that man’s well-being depends on a unity of body, mind and spirit. The same year, Boston YMCA staffer Robert J. Roberts coins the term ―body building and develops exercise classes that anticipate today’s fitness workouts.
In 1885 the Camp Dudley was started, America’s first known summer camp, at Orange Lake, N.Y. Its aim was to help kids build skills and grow in self-reliance while making new friends. Over the years, the Y created more family and year-round camps and expanded the focus to include environmental stewardship, academics, arts and leadership.
Two years later years later, in 1887, the YMCA was formed in Santa Barbara and Ventura. Since then, the Channel Islands YMCA has grown to include to six health and fitness facilities, a Youth and Family services branch, and more than 20 child care locations.
The YMCA movement in America has become the largest not-for-profit community-based organization in the nation, serving 20 million Americans. The nation's more than 2,500 YMCAs unite men, women and children of all ages, faiths, backgrounds, abilities, and income levels. YMCAs are also at work abroad, serving more than 45 million people in more than 120 countries.
Two major sports, basketball and volleyball, were born at the YMCA. A YMCA instructor created the first group swimming lesson, and the Y was the first to establish certification programs for lifesaving, swimming and aquatic instruction. The YMCA also pioneered and greatly expanded summer camping, night school, vocational counseling, adult education, college student services, and junior college.
YMCA World Service workers were forerunners of Peace Corps volunteers.
The YMCA assisted in the formation of other major voluntary groups such as Boy Scouts, Camp Fire, and the USO.