Bayside Family YMCA

70 West St., Barrington, RI, US, 02806
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Bayside Family YMCA

The YMCA was formed in 1844, in London, England, by a young drapery clerk, George Williams, and 11 other young men who shared his concern with the decadence and immorality of 19th-century London. Their original efforts centered on developing a library, reading room and a locale for lectures and Bible study.

The early emphasis on religious understanding and the relationship with Protestant churches was soon augmented by programs in the arts, education and gymnastics. That set the stage for modern YMCA programming centered on youth, fitness and recreation. Today, the YMCA is a non-denominational organization that is still inspired and guided by moral values.

Over the years, YMCAs have led the way for a host of activities that help define America as we know it. James Naismith, a physical education teacher at the YMCA Training School (Springfield College), invented basketball in 1891 and W. G. Morgan invented volleyball at the Holyoke YMCA in 1895. Lifeguards at every beach and pool in America can trace their roots to the YMCA. The organization has also set standards in community recreation, non-profit capital fundraising and community disaster relief, among many other services.

Today the YMCA is as diverse and strong as it has ever been. With a focus on “Activating America,” addressing issues of childhood obesity and lifestyle-related chronic diseases in adults, the YMCA is prioritizing efforts to support its members as they focus on living healthy lifestyles. The YMCA today may not be able to be all things to all people, but it does have something for everyone.