YMCA of Greater New York
The YMCA of Greater New York is a community service organization that promotes programs that build spirit, mind and body. The YMCA focuses on the City’s youth. No one is turned away because of an inability to pay. It is the largest YMCA in North America and also New York City’s largest private youth-serving organization. In 2007, the YMCA of Greater New York served more than 13,400 children in 180 afterschool programs throughout the five boroughs.
The YMCA of Greater New York is a chapter of the national YMCA-USA.
- 1 Leadership
- 2 Board of directors
- 3 Branches
- 4 Real Estate
- 5 History/Timeline
- 6 Key Community Initiatives
- 7 Programs
- 8 YMCA Camps
- 9 YMCA of Greater New York and the Environment
- 10 Staten Island Counseling Service
- 11 International YMCA
- 12 Initiatives for New Americans
- 13 Guest Rooms/Housing
- 14 Celebrities/Notable Personalities
- 15 Media coverage
- 16 Notes
- 17 External links
The YMCA of Greater New York is managed by Jack Lund, President and CEO. Lund has been associated with the YMCA for more than 30 years. He joined the YMCA of Greater New York in 2004, and has been focused on strengthening the YMCA’s position throughout New York. His initiatives include innovative programs and new branches.
Board of directors
The YMCA of Greater New York is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of community leaders who help shape the organization’s strategic plan and ensure that the programs and activities of the organization reflect the needs and values of the communities being served. The YMCA of Greater New York Board of Directors includes senior corporate leaders, actors, architects, judges and one youth member-at-large. Programs include Jr. Knicks ages 5–18 Basketball
The YMCA of Greater New York serves the five boroughs of New York City through 19 branches. The YMCA also has plans to expand to two additional locations by 2010: the Rockaways and Coney Island.
- YMCA of Greater New York - New York, NY
- International YMCA - New York, NY
- New York YMCA Camp - Huguenot, NY
- YMCA Counseling Service - Staten Island, NY
- Bronx YMCA - Bronx, NY
- Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA - Brooklyn, NY
- Dodge YMCA - Brooklyn, NY
- Flatbush YMCA - Brooklyn, NY
- Greenpoint YMCA - Brooklyn, NY
- North Brooklyn YMCA - Brooklyn, NY
- Prospect Park YMCA - Brooklyn, NY
- Coney Island YMCA (opening 2010) - Brooklyn, NY
- Chinatown YMCA - New York, NY
- Harlem YMCA - New York, NY
- McBurney YMCA - New York, NY
- Vanderbilt YMCA - New York, NY
- West Side YMCA - New York, NY
- Cross Island YMCA - Bellerose, NY
- Flushing YMCA - Flushing, NY
- Jamaica YMCA - Jamaica, NY
- Long Island City YMCA - Long Island City, NY
- Ridgewood YMCA (reopening Fall 2008) - Ridgewood, NY
- Rockaways YMCA (opening 2010) - Arverne, NY
- South Shore YMCA - Staten Island, NY
- Broadway YMCA - Staten Island, NY
- YMCA Counseling Service - Staten Island, NY
Throughout its history in New York City, YMCAs have occupied several locations, continuing to expand to new buildings to meet the growing neighborhood demands and the changing demographics of its communities. The association currently owns more than 1,300,000 square feet (120,000 m2) of real estate in 20 buildings across the five boroughs. The first multi-purpose YMCA facility opened in 1869 on the corner of Fourth Avenue and East 23rd Street. This location, home to the original McBurney YMCA, included a gymnasium, bowling alley, baths, concert hall, reading rooms, artist studios and a gallery. The 23rd Street building was sold in 2000 and the branch moved the McBurney location to West 14th Street in 2003 to it currents 67,000-square-foot (6,200 m2) facility.
In 1998, the Landmark Preservations Commission granted landmark status to the Harlem YMCA building at 180 West 135th Street both for its architectural value as well as the vital role it has played as a cultural and recreational facility for the community.
The YMCA of Greater New York opened in 1852, eight years after the YMCA was founded in London in 1844. The New York YMCA was founded by George H. Petrie, who after visiting the YMCA while in London on business in 1851, decided that New York could also benefit from a similar organization. On May 25, 1852, Petrie, along with 300 other men, gathered at the Mercer Street Presbyterian Church in New York’s SoHo neighborhood for what was to be an exploratory discussion about starting a YMCA in New York; by the end of the meeting, 173 members were enrolled. In September 1852, the YMCA opened its doors at its first permanent location at the Stuyvesant Institute, located on Broadway, also in the SoHo neighborhood.
- 1844: YMCA is founded in London.
- 1852: New York Association forms.
- 1853: Brooklyn Association forms.
- 1857: New York and Brooklyn YMCAs offer the first gym classes at the YMCA.
- 1862: Robert Ross McBurney becomes first paid staff member of New York Association.
- 1869: First “purpose-built” YMCA building opens at Twenty-Third Street and Fourth Avenue, containing a gymnasium to house “physical” work; first YMCA evening high school classes are held in this new building.
- 1882: Brooklyn Association takes boys on first camping excursion.
- 1885: New Brooklyn Central Branch on Fulton Street features first indoor pool in a YMCA.
- 1889: Dr. Luther Gulick, YMCA Physical Director, introduces concept of unity of spirit, mind, and body.
- 1895: Permanent Council on Educational Work established at New York YMCA; First Association Business Schools and Day Institute for Young Men opens at Twenty-Third Street.
- 1896: West Side Branch opens on Fifty-Seventh Street, become the first in New York to house a dormitory.
- 1910: YMCA opens Ellis Island Branch to reach new immigrants at port of entry.
- 1915: Brooklyn YMCA opens new Central Branch, the “largest YMCA in the world.”
- 1916: McBurney School a preparatory institution for boys, holds first sessions.
- 1923: Brooklyn hosts first National YMCA Swimming Championships.
- 1934: West Side YMCA admits its first woman member.
- 1943: National Council of YMCAs rules that Associations must open membership to people of all races.
- 1946: YMCA leader John R. Mott awarded Nobel Peace Prize.
- 1947: Jackie Robinson becomes first African-American major-league baseball player and signs on as a coach for boys at Harlem YMCA.
- 1957: New York and Brooklyn and Queens Associations merge as the YMCA of Greater New York.
- 1962: YMCA appoints first executive for health and fitness.
- 1964: Harlem is first YMCA residence to house women.
- 1965: Physical fitness clinics inaugurated; West Side Branch offers nursery program, one of the first YMCA child care initiatives.
- 1968: Association introduces Youth Fitness program, endorsed by President’s Council.
- 1971: First New York City Marathon, organized at West Side Y, is staged in Central Park.
- 1982: New York is “largest YMCA in the world” with 21 branches
- 1989: YMCA becomes city’s largest non-governmental child care provider.
- 1991: Junior Knicks, Junior Mets programs launches.
- 1996: Global Teens sends first groups of Y youth abroad.
- 2001: YMCA offers emergency assistance following 9/11 attacks and administers aid reaching $2.4 million for families of victims and rescue workers; YMCA also commits volunteers and resources to aid the rescue and recovery effort and the West Side Y provides more than 7,000 room nights to rescue workers.
- 2004: YMCA launches Pioneering Healthier Communities project.
- 2006: YMCA celebrates 100 years of group swimming instruction.
- 2008: Strong Kids Card program launches.
Key Community Initiatives
Strong Kids campaign
The YMCA’s annual Strong Kids Campaign ensures that no child or family is turned away from life-enhancing YMCA programs because of the inability to pay. Each year, the YMCA of Greater New York provides over $46 million in financial assistance to tens of thousands of local youth and families in need.
2nd Grade Swim
The 2nd Grade Swim  program offers second graders from local public elementary schools around New York the opportunity to learn swimming skills and water safety at their local YMCA. The program emphasizes personal safety, personal growth, stroke development, water games and rescue techniques. Currently, 18 public schools throughout the five boroughs are participating in the 2nd Grade Swim program. It is supported by JP Morgan Chase and The Heckscher Foundation for Children.
YMCA Strong Kids Card
The YMCA Strong Kids Card  is a pilot initiative that seeks to engage more kids in structured physical activity to combat the obesity epidemic and improve their overall health and wellness. The Strong Kids Card gives children free access to the resources and facilities at every YMCA branch in New York City during scheduled activity times. More than 25,000 cards were distributed in 2008. The program is supported by corporate sponsor JPMorgan Chase.
America on the Move Week
The YMCA of Greater New York participates in America on the Move Week, a nationwide YMCA event, in collaboration with the non-profit organization, America on the Move. The YMCA organizes events in the community to encourage individuals and families to incorporate healthy eating and exercise into their daily lives. All 19 branches of the YMCA of Greater New York are free and open to the public during this week.
Pioneering Healthier Communities
A national YMCA community development initiative, the Pioneering Healthier Communities  project promotes healthy living and chronic disease prevention. For example, in East Harlem, the YMCA is engaged in a project to support the neighborhood’s grocery stores and also encourage them to carry healthier foods at reasonable prices, enabling those in the community to eat healthier by making healthy foods more accessible.
Healthy Family Home
To promote healthier eating habits in children’s homes, the YMCA of Greater New York instituted the Healthy Family Home  program, which encourages families to work together to eat right, exercise, and spend time together, thereby promoting the entire family’s health and well-being. The YMCA provides families with resources to establish a healthy home through a starter kit with healthy eating tips and activities, available at http://www.healthyfamilyhome.org. The program is funded by Eli Lilly and Company Foundation.
Healthy Kids Day
Each spring, YMCA’s across the country offer a free day of activities designed to promote health in children and families and promote the YMCA values of spirit, mind and body. Activities include games, sports, health screenings, and more.
The YMCA of Greater New York serves 15,000 children  a year with programs tailored to meet the needs of the City’s youth and their families, emphasizing cognitive, social, physical and emotional development. Specialized youth programs include:
YMCA Universal Pre-Kindergarten: Offered at select branches of the YMCA throughout the City, the program is a partnership between the Y and the New York City Department of Education to provide pre-school free to local children.
Y After School:  Y After School programs are offered at more than 140 sites throughout New York, most of which are New York City public elementary and middle schools, serving more than 13,000 girls and boys each year. The program focuses on supplementing the educational, physical and social skills children learn during the school day, giving them additional opportunities to enhance their healthy development at the YMCA after school.
Junior Knicks/Junior Mets: The YMCA collaborates with both the New York Mets and the New York Knicks to sponsor clinics that teach young children both the fundamentals of playing sports and social skills like sportsmanship and teamwork. In the summer of 2008, over 1,100 New York City youth participated in the Junior Mets program.
The YMCA of Greater New York serves 25,000 teens  each year with a comprehensive menu of educational, health and leadership programs that nurture them, helping them make positive choices for their future. Programs include:
YMCA Teens Take the City:  Teens Take the City is a leadership development program that offers teens opportunities to engage in civic involvement and have a say on issues affecting them and their communities.
YMCA Youth & Government:  YMCA Youth & Government encourages students to develop leadership skills and self-confidence through the study of public issues, debate of public policy, writing of legislation and an experience in the State Government process.
FutureWorks:  FutureWorks is a year-round program offered for teens who are interested in learning to start their own businesses.
The YMCA offers older adults  programs for socializing, volunteering, and physical fitness that fosters a sense of community and strengthens social ties. The YMCA also participates in the SilverSneakers preventative exercise program, the largest senior-focused exercise program in the U.S.
Health & Fitness
The YMCA offers members a targeted program to help them improve their personal fitness. The Y Personal Fitness program is a 12-week, personalized exercise program geared toward helping people change their lifestyle by addressing the hindrances that often prevent people from exercising, including lack of time, resources and information on what to do in the gym.
For more than 100 years, YMCAs in New York have offered swimming instruction and aquatics programming. The first swimming pools were introduced in Ys in the 1880s in Brooklyn; in 1984, the YMCA became the largest operator of swimming pools in the world. Today, Ys offer swimming lessons, lifeguard training, and water rescue training. YMCAs have helped millions of people of all ages learn swimming and water safety skills. Y pools in New York have also produced Olympians, including Lynn Burke, who won two gold medals at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome as a member of the U.S. swim team.
The YMCA operates 30 summer day camps  throughout the five boroughs as well as a sleepaway camp in Huguenot, Orange County, New York. YMCA summer day camps provides supervised activities that teach core values, conflict resolution and leadership skills while the sleepaway camp allows children to experience new adventures, have fun, make friends and develop self-confidence.
The YMCA of Greater New York produces its own signature maple syrup from maple trees located at its sleepaway Camp in Huguenot. Each year, hundreds of campers and their families pull more than 2,000 gallons of maple sap, which is boiled down to make gallons of syrup . In 2009, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit created his own signature recipe with the camp’s maple syrup - YMCA Maple Syrup Glazed Tuna. The recipe is quick, simple and easy for families to cook and enjoy together.
YMCA of Greater New York and the Environment
The YMCA of Greater New York offers an array of general and targeted programs that show members how they can protect and nurture the environment as well as act as agents for change. [Insert language if possible about the association’s commitment to green practices from an operations and management standpoint.] Some examples of the Y’s green policies and programs include:
LEED-targeted Camp Lodge: The YMCA of Greater New York opened a new LEED-targetedcamp lodge on its 1,150-acre (4.65 km2) campus in Huguenot, NY in December 2008. The $2.2 million 5,700-square-foot (530 m2) lodge, which is one of the first green camp lodges nationwide, utilizes sustainable building techniques, such as a green roof, recycled cotton blue jean insulation, passive cooling system, a geothermal loop (placed at the bottom of the lake), and double-flush toilets.
Staten Island Counseling Service
The Staten Island YMCA Counseling Service  offers hope to individuals and families whose lives have been turned upside-down by drug or alcohol abuse. Since 1980, it has provided the Staten Island community with comprehensive prevention and treatment services that promote the development of spirit, mind and body. The Center’s outpatient program includes treatment services for adults and older teens, prevention services for at-risk youth, and counseling services for children who have been affected by a parent’s addiction.
Little Steps program: In 1989, the YMCA pioneered a treatment model utilizing expressive art therapy, role playing, and other therapeutic techniques to address the special needs of children (ages 4–17) whose lives have been affected by a parent’s use of drugs or alcohol. Little Steps offers a structured series of expressive group activities through which children learn to identify and change the patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior they have learned in response to their parents’ chemical dependency.
The International YMCA  is a branch of the YMCA of Greater New York that engages people worldwide through local services and international exchange programs that enhance mutual understanding, foster the exchange of ideas, and bring people together for peace. Today the YMCA offers programs and services to more than 9,000 people annually, including new Americans, refugees, teenagers, international students, and emerging international professionals from more than 84 countries.
The International YMCA offers several programs geared toward building global citizens who are caring, responsible and committed to service, including:
YMCA Global Teens
This program  creates opportunities for teens from around New York to meet teens and adults from other countries as well as participate in short-term immersion experiences, encouraging them to become true global citizens.
YMCA International Camp Counselor Program (ICCP)
ICCP  annually brings thousands of young adults from over 122 nations to serve as staff at day and resident camps throughout the U.S. ICCP provides leadership opportunities for young adults while helping camps internationalize their programs.
International Training and Internship Program
The YMCA International Training and Internship Program  helps qualified youth from around the world come to the U.S. to pursue career development opportunities through the J-1 Training/Intern Exchange Visitor Visa. Students train with host site organizations in diverse fields including: social services, education, business, arts and culture, hospitality, law, the sciences, and communications.
Initiatives for New Americans
The YMCA has a long history of supporting America’s newest residents. In 1910, the YMCA opened a branch on Ellis Island to reach new immigrants and assist them upon their entry to the U.S. Other programs that support New Americans include:
New American Welcome Centers
In response to the needs of New York’s newest immigrants, the YMCA opened New Americans Welcome Centers  throughout the City to help immigrants achieve literacy, cultural competence, and self-sufficiency, while providing them with instructional, vocational, and family support. The YMCA of Greater New York currently has four Centers in New York: Chinatown; Harlem; Park Slope; and North Shore, Staten Island.
ELESAIR (English Language and Employment Services for Adult Immigrants and Refugees)  is an ESL program that provides immigrant adults with little means and limited language skills, instructional, vocational, placement and support. It is one of the City’s largest community-based Adult Literacy programs.
English Immersion Program
EIP (English Immersion Program)  provides 2-4-week residential immersion programs for teachers, young professionals, and international students.
Foreign Language Programs
The FLP  provides 8-week intensive foreign language courses.
Seven YMCAs in New York City – three in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, and two in Queens – offer lodging accommodations in happening New York City neighborhoods. YMCA accommodations typically offer guests central locations, multilingual staff, and access to YMCA recreational facilities, as well as other basic lodging services. The affordable rooms are popular with student travelers from around the world. Notable guests over the years include Malcolm X and Jackie Robinson.
Throughout its history, the YMCA has attracted some of New York’s most notable residents, who have passed through its doors to use its facilities, meet with friends, conduct business, and volunteer in one of its numerous youth programs. In addition, the YMCA has hosted some of the world’s most recognizable figures. Most recently, the YMCA of Greater New York was the site of Michael Phelps’ first return to a swimming pool following his record-setting eight gold medal performance at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Other notable names who have visited a YMCA in New York include:
- PT Barnum
- Henry Ward Beecher
- Marcia Gay Harden
- Harlem Globetrotters
- Yi Jianlian
- Jackie Robinson
- Henry Van Dyke
- Walt Whitman
- Malcolm X
The latest selection of media stories about the YMCA of Greater New York can be found at on the “YMCA in the News”  page of the association’s web site.
- About the YMCA of Greater New York
- YMCA of Greater New York Annual Report
- Biography of Jack Lund
- The YMCA at 150: A History of the YMCA of Greater New York, Pamela Bayless, 2002, p. 202
- The YMCA at 150: A History of the YMCA of Greater New York, Pamela Bayless, 2002, p. 203
- The YMCA at 150: A History of the YMCA of Greater New York, Pamela Bayless, 2002, pp. 2-3
- The YMCA at 150: A History of the YMCA of Greater New York, Pamela Bayless, 2002, pp. 217-223
- 2nd Grade Swim
- New York Times City Room Blog, ‘Fish Gotta Swim’
- Strong Kids Card
- America on the Move Week
- Pioneering Healthier Communities
- Healthy Family Home
- Healthy Kids Day
- Youth Programs
- Y After School Programs
- Y After School Participating Schools
- YMCA Jr. Mets
- Teen Programs
- Teens Take the City
- Youth & Government
- Active Older Adults Programs
- Silver Sneakers
- Y Personal Fitness
- Century of Swimming
- 1960 Olympics Swim Team Roster
- YMCA Day Camp
- Staten Island YMCA Counseling Service
- International YMCA
- Global Teens
- International Camp Counselor Program
- International Training and Internship Program
- New Americans Welcome Centers
- English Immersion Program
- Foreign Language Programs
- YMCA of Greater New York Guest Rooms
- USA Today, Phelps in the Fast Lane
- Official website of the YMCA of Greater New York 
- Official Website of the YMCA of the United States 
- Official Website of the World Alliance of YMCAs (includes a complete listing of all national YMCAs) 
- Official Website of YMCA Latin America and Caribbean 
- Official Website of Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs 
- Official Website of European Alliance of YMCAs 
- Jerusalem International YMCA