What is the YMCA?

The YMCA, or Young Men's Christian Association, is a non-profit organization with a broad mission of strengthening community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Commonly referred to as "The Y", there are about 2,700 local Y organizations with a presence in more than 10,000 neighborhoods throughout the country. Each local Y is an independent organization with its own board of directors and staff. The specific programming offered varies at local Y organizations, based on individual community needs.

The YMCA's Youth Development programming includes offerings for a wide age range, beginning with childcare for infants and preschoolers. After-school programming provides supervised activities for youth in kindergarten through middle school. The Y offers more than 300 overnight camps and over 1,800 day-camps in addition to numerous specialty camps. The Y's camp programs are designed to challenge campers, help them develop self-reliance, and build character through a wide array of recreational activities. Numerous youth sports-related activities are available all year round.

The YMCA's Healthy Living programs promote wellness and the prevention of disease. Livestrong supports cancer patients and survivors with conditioning and training sessions as well as fitness evaluation. Enhance Fitness offers group exercise to older individuals, helping them to maintain flexibility and mobility and increasing their sense of independence. Family and group programs include fitness activities and a variety of lifelong learning opportunities. An annual Healthy Kids Day is a free event for the public designed to encourage active youth and counter the effects of idleness, such as weight gain and falling behind academically.

Education and job-training programs provide adult literacy courses, opportunities to complete GEDs, and skills development for employment. The Y also promotes volunteerism through its Social Responsibility programming, as well as organizing grassroots efforts advocating for child welfare, education, and public health. The Y's World Service and Global Education programs raise awareness and financial support for addressing challenging social and economic conditions in other parts of the world.