YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Young Men’s Christian Association — the YMCA — is 174 years old this year.
It started in London, opening on June 6, 1844.
Did you know you can find the ‘Y’ in 120 countries?
You’ll find 2,500 branches in this country alone.
In the beginning, it was meant for spiritual development. Exercise classes didn’t start until the 1890s.
An instructor at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA, James Naismith, invented a new game to keep his students active during the harsh New England winter of 1891. He called it basketball.
At another Massachusett’s YMCA, another instructor, William Morgan, came up with another game, maybe little less demanding. He called it volleyball.
Robert Roberts was teaching strength training at a YMCA and invented the term bodybuilding in 1881.
Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington sat in on a YMCA meeting and came up with the idea of honoring dads. The YMCA said sure and started the first Father’s Day celebration on June 19, 1910.
And yes, the hit song “Y.M.C.A.” came out in 1978. The real YMCA strongly disapproved and sued the disco group, The Village People, for copyright infringement.
The case was eventually dropped.
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