Mission Statement
The Yakima Family YMCA seeks to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

The Role of the YMCA

The first YMCA was founded in London, in 1844, by eleven friends who saw the need for refuge, Bible study and prayer; for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets.  The YMCA's drive to meet social need in the community was compelling and unique for its time. Over the next twenty years, the YMCA movement continued to grow in cities where safe and affordable lodging was needed for young men who moved from their rural homes.  The facilities included gyms, auditoriums and hotel-like rooms.  It wasn't until 1881 when exercise classes were developed and a YMCA staffer coined the term "body building."   

The foundation of the YMCA continued to evolve by responding to the needs of its communities.  YMCA's were known for swimming, camping, and exercise as well as offering vocational and higher education courses to working-class Americans.  Basketball and volleyball are among the most popular inventions by the YMCA to help promote exercise and recreation.

The YMCA celebrates a rich history in character development.  In 1944, the YMCA defined character as the demonstration of four core values: caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.  YMCA staff and programs model these values with youth and adult members and volunteers.


Yakima YMCA

It was recognized that young men needed a place to spend some time in pleasant and harmless recreation. Following a steadfast commitment by local leaders to raise community support and funding, the Yakima YMCA Association was established in 1906 and was operational in September 1908; located at 810 S. 4th Street.

In 1936, the YMCA offered a boxing program for young boys wanting to learn the basic fundamentals of self-defense.  With instruction from Harvey Hunt, some honed their skills to become a champion, others joined in just to have a good time.  Boxing was only a single element of the YMCA's physical education program which also focused on caring for their mind and spirit; as much as their body.  The aim was to keep amateur boxing in the community on a clean, Christian level for all boys.

In 1958, our current building was constructed.  At the time, the building was comprised of the basement and main floor only.  Floors 2, 3, and 4 were added in 1975 to allow for more activities and space for our growing membership.   Throughout the building, you'll find various locations named in honor of past staff, volunteers, or key supporters of the Y.  Our YMCA has a history of committed and loyal individuals, families and businesses who have aided our efforts to serve the Yakima community.