It approaches the heart of many communities all over the world ("About the YMCA", 2006). The local YMCAs in the different countries identify with each other in terms of a common direction and an overall strategy for the organization. However, the different YMCAs vary in terms of the programs and services implemented. The programs have to depend on the needs of the local communities that an organization caters to (Zald and Denton).
One remarkable aspect in YMCA is that it encourages membership. Even if YMCA stands for Young Men's Christian Association, it does not mean that the doors are closed to those who are not young, Christian men ("About the YMCA", 2006). Most local YMCAs would accept non-Christian members and give them opportunities to participate and lead (Alexander). This was policy from the time when the organization started 150 years ago. It was even regarded as unconventional because back then, the demarcation among different classes and churches is very strong, particularly in England. This unusual trait made YMCA focus on the strength of openness they know that the effort to gather different people together is very important for the society. YMCA also provided assistance for those who cannot afford to pay through their financial policies. 'Y' then became something that stands for everybody, with no regard on the race, age, faith or income of the people who come to the organization ("About the YMCA", 2006).
YMCA associations are operated by the volunteers and through them the various services are implemented. In North America, most people think of YMCA as a sports facility for the community because of its resources. However, the range of services YMCA provides is very broad. It includes child care, physical fitness, camping and overnights, conference halls and activity centers, employment preparation programs and educational activities. These are all utilized to instill and encourage positive values. ("YMCA", 2006).
2004 U.S. Statistics
Under age 18 members
Over age 18 members
Volunteers are also crucial in fulfilling the mission of YMCA. Through the volunteers, every YMCA is able to meet the needs of the community it serves.
History of YMCA
The history of YMCA can be traced in England. It started from an organization founded by a certain Sir George Williams in 1844 in London. He was 23 years old then, an aristocrat who is known for dedicating his efforts in promoting the health and welfare of boys. He was also helped by his friends who are mostly businessmen. Their endeavor was to give an active response to the impending dangers brought about by the social conditions and realities faced in big cities in Great Britain at the time. This period was the end of the Industrial Revolution. YMCA aimed to put an end to the lazy and mischievous behavior of the young men. They were encouraged to again take Bible studies and enroll in different classes. YMCA was able to recruit more or less 2,700 members in their twenty-four associations. Great Britain witnessed this just within seven years (Vodrey, n.d.).
The success of the group in Great Britain led them to spread the effort into other