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.
A Leading Nonprofit
As a leading nonprofit, the Y is committed to strengthening communities throughout the nation. Your local Y seeks to fill gaps in community services and develop activities, strengthening communities across Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The Y has the presence and partnerships to promise and deliver lasting personal and social change. Believing that everyone should have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive, the Y nurtures potential and brings people of diverse backgrounds together. The Y has local presence and national reach, mobilizing local communities to effect lasting, meaningful change.
Be a part of an organization that cares. Mission The Channel Islands YMCA is a charitable organization providing programs based upon Christian principles to men, women, and children of all ages, races, religious beliefs and economic status to develop and enrich the spirit, mind and body. Cause A cause is defined as a principle or movement that moves people to defend and advocate. We have a deep commitment to the communities we live, and the Y works tirelessly to make each a better place for all. Strengthening the community is our cause. Values The Y is a spirit, a movement, and a cause. Our members join the Y because they believe in our cause and the values—caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Areas of Focus The Y is dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected, and secure children, adults, families, and communities. Every day our impact is felt when an individual makes a healthy choice, when a mentor inspires a child, and when a community comes together for the common good.
Youth Development – Nurturing the potential of every child and teen
All kids deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. That’s why, through the Y, thousands of youth in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties are cultivating the values, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and lifelong achievement.
Child care at the Y is about more than looking after your kids. It’s about nurturing their development, providing a safe place to learn, developing healthy, trusting relationships, and building self-reliance. The Y offers children and families water safety skills, sports, play time, educational and leadership development activities, and life-changing camp experiences as well as daily care.
Healthy Living – Improving the nation’s health and well-being
The Y is a leading voice on health and well-being. With a mission centered on balance of the spirit, mind and body, the Y encourages good health and fosters connections through fitness, sports and shared interests, to achieve greater health and well-being for the whole person.
Healthy living is so much more than simply being physically active. It’s about creating and maintaining a harmony of spirit, mind and body. At the Y we can help you work toward that balance by providing opportunities to learn a new skill, make personal connections with new friends, work toward better health, or bring your loved ones closer together through our many family-centered activities. At the Y, it’s not about the activity you choose as much as it is about the benefits of living healthier on the inside and the outside.
Social Responsibility – Giving back and providing support to our neighbors
The Channel Islands YMCA has been listening and responding to our communities’ most critical social needs since 1887. Through the Y, thousands of volunteers, donors, leaders and partners across Santa Barbara and Ventura counties are empowering others to be healthy, confident, connected and secure.
Together, we are committed to providing opportunities for kids, adults, families and seniors to give, join and advocate for stronger communities. Our existence depends upon the generosity of members utilizing their time and resources for the benefit of others. Consider how you might get involved as an advocate, a volunteer or a donor.
History of the YMCA
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 coined the term “body building” and developed exercise classes that anticipated today’s fitness workouts.
In 1885, Camp Dudley was founded, America’s first-known Y summer camp, at Orange Lake, N.Y. It aimed 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.
The Y is committed to the highest ethical standards of a public charity. The Channel Islands YMCA, an association of seven YMCAs, is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. We are governed by, and accountable to, an independent board of directors of community leaders and volunteers. Whatever you give to the YMCA, and whenever you give it, you can rest assured that your donation will be in good hands. For more information on what makes the Y a charity, please click here.
Below are financial documents and other information that will help you confidently give the YMCA. To make a donation, please click here.
Two major sports, basketball and volleyball, were created at the Y.
Y instructor created the first group swimming lesson.
Father’s Day was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd at a YMCA in Spokane, WA in 1910.
YMCA World Service workers were forerunners of Peace Corps volunteers.
The Y assisted in the formation of other major voluntary groups such as the Boy Scouts of America, Camp Fire, and the USO.