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The Y story is the story of US. Write yourself into our story today!

The YMCA in America has been building, sharing and fostering excellence in meeting the needs of communities across the states since 1851. For over 150 years, the YMCA has been a pioneering force in the building of the United States. 


The original Young Men’s Christian Association started in London in 1844 , as a small group of men concerned with serving fellow young men displaced by the industrial revolution. Twenty-Two year old George Williams and 11 friends were compelled to help young men find the Grace of God and apply the Christian concepts to lives lived with ethics, morality and accountability to God and others. The first members were Protestants who prayed and studied the Bible together. 


“The Hot Springs Family YMCA had its beginnings in 1945, when young men of the city, realizing the need for the service that such an organization could be to our men and boys, as well as to returning war veterans, decided to set about with its organization” 


After several months of laying groundwork, with support from Sam J Schreiner of the Southwest Area YMCA Council, it was determined that the local conditions were favorable to a successful establishment of a local YMCA. In March 1945 the men of the churches decided to sponsor the organization of a YMCA in Hot Springs. At that meeting, conducted by their president (the churches) J. Kenneth Chambers, the first YMCA Board of Directors was elected. 


The FIRST Hot Springs Family YMCA Board of Directors: (1945)


President: Prince Cook

Vice President: Howard Gentry

Secretary: Kenneth Chambers


A financing campaign was immediately undertaken, starting in August 1945 to raise $7500. These monies were to cover all expenses for the first year of operations, to include, but not be limited to, Paying an executive Secretary, office rent, and supplies. Under the leadership of Cy M. King, the campaign goal was met and exceeded. The first temporary offices of the first YMCA were located at 707 ½ Central Avenue. 


(History of Hot Springs Family YMCA: Jim Hale)


…. And thus began the ongoing legacy work of impacting our community by providing relevant programming working towards healthy spirit, mind and body for all. 


The Y

Today, the Y engages more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the U.S. As the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to helping people and communities to learn, grow and thrive. Our contributions are both far-reaching and intimate. We have a strong history, and have played a significant role in the development of our country.

  • The Y invented basketball, volleyball and racquetball, along with pioneering camping, physical fitness and swim lessons.

  • The Y helped found the USO, Boy Scouts of America and Camp Fire Girls.

  • Y volunteers have provided support and service to millions of soldiers and continues to do so today.

  • The Y continues to forge ahead! On July 12, 2010, the Y unveiled a new branding initiative. We want to tell our story!


Locally the Y in Hot Springs is writing a story relevant to our community.

In the past year The Hot Springs Family YMCA

  • Served over 1,000 school aged students in sports and academic programming

  • Helped close the achievement gap through partnership with local school districts

  • Advocated for strong public policy in the areas of community health and wellness

  • Offered on and off campus licensed childcare programming

  • Taught over 500 kids to swim


YMCA staff member with child