You have probably heard about YMCA before. It is a popular term often used in movies, music videos and literature. But do you know what exactly it means and what is it all about?
Beginnings of YMCA
YMCA is an abbreviation of Young Men`s Christian Association. This organization was founded by Sir George Williams in London, England, on 6th of June 1844. It is one of the oldest organizations in the world that is widely popular even today.
The first meeting of the organization included total of 12 men and it was held in Sir George Williams’ drapery shop, which was located in St. Paul`s Churchyard. When Williams formed this organization, his main objective was to create an organization that will encourage improvement of the overall condition of young men that are engaged in different businesses. The improvement should have come through Bible classes, social meetings, family meetings, spiritual gatherings and mutual improvement societies.
Sir George Williams quickly organized different branches of YMCA throughout entire United Kingdom, in England, Ireland and Scotland. Within the first decade of forming, YMCA movements started appearing in many other countries in Europe, Australia, North America, India and New Zealand.
Development of YMCA
Henry Dunant, who was a secretary of YMCA Geneva branch, first had the idea for YMCA to have an international headquarters and to become a global movement of young men joining together. Dunant was also the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross and was the winner of the first Nobel Peace Prize, so he was a true visionary and pioneer of his time. He managed to convince YMCA Paris to organize first big World Conference of YMCA. This Conference was held in the month of August 1855 and brought together nearly hundred people from nine countries.
At the first Conference in Paris, YMCA adopted its main purpose and mission, and also created the so-called Central International Committee that had its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The Central International Committee later transformed into World YMCA, under which name it is known until today.
As we can conclude, Sir George Williams had a noble cause when he formed Young Men`s Christian Association. He believed that young men can improve as individuals and help others through increasing their knowledge and strengthening their faith. YMCA continues to attract many people all across the world and is one of the most recognized organizations on the planet.