The YMCA has been working in local communities across Australia since 1851 providing children's services, recreation, camping, youth services and community initiatives, events, training and accommodation. However, the humble beginnings of the YMCA started a long way from home, in old London town in 1844.
The YMCA was founded in 1844 during the Industrial Revolution in England, a time of great despair and poverty. George Williams, a drapery merchant, decided that something had to be done. He gathered together a few friends to form a society that met regularly to support each other and gain renewed strength in body, mind and spirit. The group called itself the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). From its inception, through to the early 1900s, the focus was on the welfare of young men, and related social concerns. In 1851, after first reaching America, the YMCA further spread its wings to Adelaide, Australia, on the back of the gold rush. From the mid 1930s to the early 1960s, the YMCA was forced by depression and world war to revert to the original foundations of social and community concern. The emphasis was on youth work, youth clubs, physical development, leadership training, education and welfare. YMCA associations and branches can now be found all over the world.
Today we are a vibrant, active community organisation, involved in programs and services across Australia, seeking to make a positive difference with a range of programs and services, including sport and recreation, aquatics, health and wellbeing, camping and outdoor education, older adults programs, youth specific programs, children's services, disability services, schools, offering programs and services to all ages. We target all ages with various programs, but remain strong in our purpose to empower young people, just as George Williams did.