A branch of the Channel Islands YMCA

a branch of the Channel Islands YMCA

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Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA History

In 1988,the Santa Ynez Valley YMCA was formed. Based out of the Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church, two programs were established based on the needs of our valley: afterschool child care and Y-Guides. Since then, our valley has grown and changed seeing our Y housed in a variety of storefront locations and providing a variety of programs. In 1998, a 5-million dollar capital campaign afforded us the ability to build our current 27,000 square foot facility, renamed the Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA, where we quickly grew to over 6000 members, spanning seven communities and offering a multitude of programs with a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. In 2011, an additional 3.7-million dollars was raised to complete the master plan of our facility and increase our capacity to involve and engage more youth, adults and seniors.

YMCA History
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.

YMCA Inventions
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.


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