Episode 6 - The Greater Naples YMCA


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What's Up Naples

Society & Culture

The Y movement was started over 160 years ago. There is a Y whose original charter was signed by Abraham Lincoln, and in 1914, Woodrow Wilson said: “You can test a modern community by its interest in the YMCA.”In addition to being the oldest and largest social institution in the United States, the Y is also the largest membership organization and the largest provider of child care, youth sports, aquatics programs, camping, health and fitness, day camp and parent-child programs.The YMCA is community-based. This is why no Y is quite the same. As the saying goes, “Once you’ve seen one Y…you’ve seen one Y…” This flexibility means our mission is broad enough to allow us to do whatever needs to be done.The YMCA has always been practical. Our founder, George Williams, said, “If a young man says he has lost God, first buy him dinner.” He dreamed of a world where Christian teachings were not just preached, they were practiced.YMCAs have interpreted the Christian mission in a practical way, often including many groups excluded by others. For example, long before the phrase “cultural diversity” was used, YMCAs were at work in the Great Plains with both the U.S. Cavalry and the Sioux Indians. The Y worked with prisoners on both sides in both World Wars. In Jerusalem, the only place where Arabs, Jews, and Christians can meet is the YMCA. And right here in our own backyard, members mix with a true cross-section of the community every day. The YMCA has always been about development. Our symbol, the triangle, represents the development of spirit, mind and body. At the YMCA, people of every age, race, religion and circumstance are welcome. Our doors will continue to be truly open to all…today, tomorrow and for the next 100 year