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For over 150 years, the YMCA has been a pioneering force in the United States. In 1851, Boston sea captain and missionary Thomas Valentine Sullivan led the formation of the first US YMCA in Boston. Within a year, more associations began springing up from as far away as Detroit.
The Marietta Family YMCA was started in 1902 by a gift of land from the Cisler family. This donation led to the original location of the YMCA on Second Street just behind the current Washington County courthouse. It was a center for community youth activity from daylight to dark with new indoor pool, gym, recreation room, and residence rooms for overnight care for adults.
Known as the Young Men's Christian Association of Marietta at the time, it was primarily a place for men to gather for business meetings during the day and exercise after work. After school activities and weekend gatherings for youth were also primary activities in the new YMCA. Women were also allowed especially to help with the youth programs, but had to meet at 6:00am Monday through Friday for their exercise and lap swimming in the pool. Quite a contrast to the Marietta Family YMCA of today with more female members than male.
As the community continued to grow through the 40's and 50's, the Marietta Family YMCA soon outgrew its Second Street location and plans began to develop in the late 40's to build a new Marietta Family YMCA at the current location on Seventh Street. As a result of the growth and the generous gift of one of Marietta's long time residents George Light, 1953 brought the construction of our present YMCA.
In the July of 2019 the YMCA sold the building on 7th street and transitioned into a smaller leased faculty. The aged building with significant repairs needed was a major deciding factor in selling our long standing home for many years. How the YMCA looks today is different at the new location at 1303 1/2 Colegate Drive in Marietta, we still offer full service childcare/before and after school programming/ group exercise programs/silver sneakers classes/ some youth specialty programs done off site and community outreach to other sites. Although our four walls have changed, the Marietta Family YMCA continues to grow and partner with other entities in the community to serve our neighbors.
Since our opening in 1902, the Marietta Family YMCA has nurtured the healthy development of children and teens, while strengthening families and this community and this will continue for another 100 years!
One out of every three Americans report being a YMCA member at some point in life, but YMCA has really touched nearly every American's life. The games of basketball and volleyball were both invented at YMCAs. YMCAs have also pioneered camping, public libraries, night schools, and teaching English as a second language.
More than 2,400 neighborhood YMCAs today serve more than 17.5 million members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. YMCA membership has doubled since 1974. Collectively, YMCAs are the largest not-for-profit organizations in the nation and benefit from the leadership of more than 600,000 volunteers.