There’s a unique experience at the Y.
It’s a place where the community comes together to connect, play, and discover new things.
The Y offers comprehensive healthy living and learning experiences for adults and kids, from fitness equipment and team sports, to FREE after school programs for area youth. But Y membership means so much more, because we’re not a club, we’re a community.
Belonging to the Y strengthens more than your body. It helps you find balance. As you build relationships and relieve stress, your spirit soars. The time you spend at the Y with your family and friends creates bonds to last a lifetime. And when you volunteer your time at the Y, the whole community benefits.
That’s why the YMCA is both life-changing and community-changing.
Greater Wichita YMCA Mission Statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that promote healthy lifestyles, strong families, and positive youth development to build healthy spirit, mind and body for all, regardless of ability to pay.
We've been serving the community for over 130 years.
The development of the first YMCA was a based on a practical and humble mission - meet a community need.
Williams recognized that a lot of young men had left their farms to work in the growing London factories. Unfortunately, the primary activities for young men in London after the work day ended were in local taverns and brothels. Williams found himself falling into these new pastimes and sought a solution to meet the community need for wholesome recreation. Thus was born the first Young Men's Christian Association.
Williams' YMCA held prayer meetings and Bible studies with a goal to establish "a work of sacrifice and service - a work for young men by young men, improving their environment, giving them victory over their temptations."
Not long after its first meeting, the YMCA began offering lectures and classes for young men to receive vocational training, meeting yet another community need.
In 1851, sea captain and missionary Thomas V. Sullivan saw a similar need during one of his trips to Boston, Mass., and the United States saw its first YMCA.
Now, venture forward about 25 years to a new settlement in Kansas called Wichita. Cattle drives from Texas to the railroad are turning this small community into a booming city, and new settlers are in need of wholesome recreation and vocational training.
A group of community members attempt to organize a Wichita YMCA in 1876, but fail due to limited support. Several years later A.A. Hyde and C.L. Davidson each donate $500 to launch a YMCA. They rent a small office and reading room on Main Street, are joined by 35 additional members and the Wichita YMCA receives its official charter on January 10, 1885.
Two years later, they build the city's first YMCA on the corner of First and Topeka. A first-class building to serve the growing needs of the community, the YMCA offers vocational programs, dormitory space and in 1892 brings a little-known game called basketball to Wichita.
Following several years of booming growth in Wichita, the YMCA starts a North Branch in a private home and also introduces local businessmen to volleyball. Despite the expansion of YMCA services, a recession forces the YMCA to sell its original building in 1897.
Not to be dissuaded, the YMCA continues offering programs in private homes for the next decade, and builds its second facility in 1907. Through all of the trials and tribulations of the Wichita YMCA's early years, one thing always stood the test of time - its mission. In the spirit of George Williams, the Wichita YMCA continued to seek out and meet community needs. Over 125 years later, the YMCA commitment to meeting community needs still remains.