Click here to view an online version of the YMCA of the Inland Northwest's 125th Anniversary book.
The YMCA of the Inland Northwest was established in 1884. We serve thousands of members, hundreds of volunteers, and over 800 employees every year. We remain dedicated to our mission of putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
Local: The YMCA of the Inland Northwest was established in Spokane Falls, Washington Territory on November 4, 1884. In 1906 a large new building was dedicated at the corner of First and Sprague Avenues across the street from the soon to be built Davenport Hotel. In 1915 the Association added a full-time camp on Fan Lake near Deer Park, Washington, after receiving a generous gift of 11 acres from Mr. Reed, for whom the camp was named.
In 1957 the YMCA purchased property on Havermale Island for the construction of a new facility. With a vision in mind, the Board of Trustees for the YMCA launched a capital drive in 1965-66 for the funds to begin construction of a facility that was dedicated on January 23rd, 1967. This building formerly located in the heart of Riverfront Park was home to the downtown Y and corporate office for 42 years. This building was sold to the City of Spokane as part of the recapitalization of assets and capital campaign to build new, easily accessibly facilities for Y programs and services. In 2010 the YMCA vacated the Riverfront Park property and moved corporate offices to 1126 N. Monroe St., directly north of the new Central YMCA facility.
In 1997 the YMCA secured property for a new Valley facility through a generous donation from the Cowles family. The new facility, located at Mirabeau Point, marked a major expansion for the Association and an opportunity to serve children and families in the rapidly growing Spokane Valley. After the successful completion of a capital campaign, the new Spokane Valley branch was dedicated in May of 2000.
In 2011 the YMCA completed a sweeping capital campaign entitled "Your Y you're why" that raised funds for the construction of two state of the art facilities: Central Spokane and North Spokane. This unprecedented campaign fused the resources of the YMCA and YWCA for the first time anywhere in the nation, housing both organizations together at the Central location. Both the Central Spokane YMCA and North Spokane YMCA opened in 2009, May and September respectively.
With the new facilities, the YMCA now has three state-of-the-art locations of approximately 50,000 sq. ft. to better serve 1 in 9 residents of Spokane County and put 440,000 people within a 15-minute drive of a YMCA.
Organization: Collectively, YMCAs are the largest not-for-profit community service organizations in America. YMCAs are at the heart of community life in neighborhoods and towns across the nation. They work to meet the health and social service needs of 20.9 million men, women and children. Ys help people develop values and behavior that are consistent with Christian principles. Ys are for people of all faiths, races, abilities, ages and incomes. No one is turned away for inability to pay. Our strength is in the people we bring together.
At the average YMCA, a volunteer board sets policy for its executive who manages the operation with staff and volunteer leaders. Ys meet local community needs through organized programs. Every Y works to nurture the healthy development of children and teens; strengthen families; and make its community a healthier, safer, better place to live.
YMCA programs are tools for building the values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility. Longtime leaders in community-based health, fitness and aquatics, Ys teach kids to swim, offer exercise classes, and provide enrichment programs for all ages along with disease prevention programs. They also offer hundreds of other programs in response to community needs including camping, child care (the Y movement is the nation's largest provider), teen centers, environmental programs, substance abuse prevention, youth sports, family nights, mentoring, job training, international exchange and many more.
There are over 2,600 YMCA facilities and camps across America. Ys are run by paid professional staff as well as over half a million volunteer policy makers on Y boards, program leaders and uncounted other volunteers. These volunteers and staff members worked not only out of YMCA buildings and resident camps but also out of rented quarters, parks and playgrounds. Some Ys have no building at all.
Each YMCA is a charitable not-for-profit, qualifying under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Tax Code. Each is independent. YMCAs are required by the national constitution to pay annual dues, refrain from discrimination and support the YMCA mission. All other decisions are local choices, including programs offered, staffing and style of operation. The national office, called YMCA of the USA, is headquartered in Chicago.
International: YMCAs are at work in 130 countries around the world, serving more than 45 million people. Some 230 local U.S. Ys maintain more than 370 relationships with Ys in other countries, operate international programs and/or contribute to YMCA work worldwide through the YMCA World Service campaign. Like other national YMCA movements, the YMCA of the USA is a member of the World Alliance of YMCAs, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
Firsts and foremosts: YMCAs have played a significant role in the history of America. YMCAs invented basketball, volleyball and racquetball, and pioneered camping, physical fitness and swimming lessons. YMCAs helped found the USO, Boy Scouts of America and Camp Fire Girls. YMCA volunteers provided support and services to millions of soldiers in many major wars, including the Civil War, World War I and World War II. In 2001, YMCAs celebrated their first 150 years in America. Our own YMCA of the Inland Northwest aided in the founding of Father's Day as a national holiday in 1910.
History: The YMCA was founded in London, England, in 1844 by George Williams and some friends who lived and worked as clerks in a drapery, a forerunner of dry goods and department stores. Their goal was to help young men like themselves find God. The first members were evangelical Protestants who prayed and studied the Bible as an alternative to vice.
The first U.S. YMCA was started in Boston in 1851, the work of Thomas Sullivan, a retired sea captain and lay missionary. From Boston, YMCAs spread rapidly across America, many of which started opening their doors to boys and men of all ages. Some YMCAs 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. Today, half of all YMCA members are female, and half of them are under age 18.