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.
Twenty-two year old George Williams, a farmer-turned-department store worker, joined with eleven 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. The YMCA idea was unusual because it crossed the rigid lines that separated all the different churches and social classes in England in those days. This openness was a trait that would eventually exemplify the YMCA philosophy – allowing all men, women and children to participate in YMCA activities, regardless of race, religion or nationality. Also, the YMCA established itself from the very start as a means for meeting social need in the community.
By 1851 there were 24 Ys in Great Britain, That same year, the Y arrived in North America - it was established first in Montreal. On December 29, 1851, the first YMCA was established in America by sea captain, Thomas Sullivan.
The Albany, Georgia YMCA began through the efforts of 100 businessmen, who met on October 25, 1909 at the New Albany Hotel. The worldwide movement was then 65 years old, and local leaders recognized that a YMCA was needed in Albany.
Since its beginning at the corner of Pine and Jefferson in 1910, the Albany Area YMCA has been a vibrant, integral part of life in the community. The organization has grown from one downtown location, to three facilities and four off-site childcare locations serving Dougherty and Lee Counties.
The Albany Area YMCA is a volunteer-driven, charitable, and non-profit organization. All programs, services, and operations are based on the positive community values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. Members, program participants, staff, and volunteers are encouraged to share this character development focus.
The Albany Area YMCA serves preschool children, youth, adults, seniors, and families through a variety of health, fitness, recreational, social, and leadership programs. Each year, over 12,000 people are involved in YMCA programs. These programs are provided at the Central Facility, Lee Branch and Sports Park.
Join the movement today and become a part of our history.