GREATER WICHITA YMCA 

Network Outage

In an effort to better serve you, upgrades to our website and systems will take place on Sept. 30 starting at 1 pm until the end of the day. Processes such as purchasing memberships, digital check-in, signing up for sports or checking schedules may not be available. We apologize for any inconvenience.

NOTICE - FACE MASKS REQUIRED INSIDE OUR Ys

Face masks (covering nose and mouth) are required while inside our 10 branches and 3 YMCA Farha Sport Centers with few exceptions. Read our full policy for details. Thank you for your cooperation. 

OUR MISSION AND IMPACT

IMPROVE YOURSELF AND OUR COMMUNITY AT THE Y

The Greater Wichita YMCA and our ten branches and dozens of community and partner program sites are places where the community comes together to connect, play, and discover new things. We offer comprehensive healthy living and learning experiences for adults and kids, from fitness equipment and team sports and low-cost and/or FREE after school programs for area youth. Your Y membership means so much more than just belonging to a "gym" - we’re not a club, we’re a community and a community dedicated to empowering our larger community. 

When you, by joining, become part of that community commitment - you strengthen more than just your body, you find and create balance. You establish and build relationships with family, friends, and neighbors and with perspectives like and unlike your own. You relieve stress and find ways to manage the woes and concerns of the day and provide support for others working to do the same. Your spirit, and the spirits of those around you, soar with collaboration, sport, movement, and learning. The time and energy you spend at the Y creates bonds with wellness, neighbors, and beyond. You create energy that can change the course of your life and for our community. You create change.

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GREATER WICHITA YMCA FAST FACTS

We've come a long way since our inception but we honor our past including:

  • CHARTERED January 10, 1885
  • INITIAL MEMBERSHIP 37
  • INITIAL MEMBER FEES $2 per year
  • INITIAL ANNUAL BUDGET $1,725
  • FIRST-EVER PRESIDENT J.C. Rutan
  • FIRST-EVER VICE PRESIDENT A.A. Hyde
  • FIRST EMPLOYEE (Hired 01/25/1886) H.A. Slaughter

WICHITA "FIRSTS" PROVIDED AT THE Y

The Greater Wichita YMCA is still providing and partnering to offer unique and first-of-their-kind programs and activities but we have several "firsts" in our history including:

SPORT AND RECREATIONAL PROGRAMS

  • Basketball Team
  • Gymnasium
  • Handball Courts and Match
  • Physical Fitness Assessments
  • Recreational Athletic League
  • Swim Lessons
  • Swimming Pool
  • Volleyball Team
  • Youth Baseball Program

SOCIAL AND VOCATIONAL PROGRAMS

  • Boy Scout Troop
  • Camping Program
  • Church-based Recreational Programs
  • Employment Placement Program
  • Industrial-based (Work) Recreational Programs
  • Night School for Adults
  • Rescue Squad for Swim Accidents (Lifeguards)
  • Residence for Young Men
  • Vocational Counseling Program

A BRIEF TIMELINE OF THE YMCA - GLOBALLY AND LOCALLY

  • George Williams recognized that many young men had left family farms to find work in the booming London factory economy of the early-1800s
  • Unfortunately, the primary activities for those young men, after the workday, were taverns and brothels - where Williams' saw no positive impact
  • He sought a solution to meet needs of wholesome, positive recreation and activities with peers for this new, displaced community of young men 
  • This mission of service and opportunity became an organization - and the first Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) - in London in 1844
  • Williams' YMCA offered "a work of sacrifice and service - a work for young men by young men, improving their environment, giving them victory"
  • Not long after its inception, the YMCA addressed learning needs with religious and Bible studies, lectures and classes, and vocational training
  • In 1851, sea captain and missionary Thomas V. Sullivan brought the YMCA to America - specifically Boston, Mass - to address the same needs
  • 25 years later, cattle drives and railroad shipping were producing a new settlement on the Kansas high plains - the Wichita community was born
  • Wichita business/community leaders - like Williams and Sullivan before them - knew wholesome recreation and vocational training was needed
  • A group sought to bring the YMCA to Wichita in 1876, but fail due to limited support, poor organization, and a lack of funding and resources
  • A few years later A.A. Hyde and C.L. Davidson each gave $500 and organized 35 leaders willing to share acumen - and launched our YMCA
  • Their efforts, from a small rented office and reading room on Main Street, lead to a formal charter of the Wichita YMCA on January 10, 1885
  • Two years later - in 1887 - that the group opened its first YMCA building (currently the Scottish Rite Center) at First and Topeka in Wichita
  • The first-class building served the community with vocational programs, dormitories and, in 1892, a then little-known game called basketball
  • The organization boomed with support and a growing reputation for strong, value-based  programs and resources for workers and families
  • The Wichita YMCA started its "North Branch" in a private home and to introduce another emerging sport, volleyball, to participants in 1895
  • Despite expanding services and impact, a local and regional recession hit funding sources and forced the sale of our original building in 1897
  • Undeterred, the YMCA continued offering programs and services in private homes around the city for the next decade - building momentum
  • Just a decade later, in 1907, the Wichita YMCA opened its second dedicated facility to extend its mission of building a service-based community
  • In the spirit of George Williams, the Wichita YMCA continued to seek out and meet community needs throughout the 20th century in many ways

GREATER WICHITA YMCA Events

No available events.