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Young Mens Christian Association

By: Elizabeth Mattison

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS 9OO0S5w2k

A Brief Summary
Although the modern YMCA seems geared towards kids and athletes, it hasnt always been that way. Here are some of the highlights in YMCA history that just might surprise you
Started as 12 men who came together to meet needs in their community with a Godly focus through prayer groups and bible studies Started the nations first ESL class for German immigrants Distributed food and clothing and taught soldiers to read and write, especially the bible during the Civil War. Coined body building and started fitness classes Invented the sports of basketball, racketball and volleyball Worked with railroad workers, miners, lumber workers , and immigrants in refugee services, welcome centers and adult education Taught swimming lessons to men and boys and eventually expanded to families Taught high school students about the government so they are ready to participate YMCAs didnt become mostly family oriented until the baby boomers families made this a priority in the 1980s and 90s

London 1844
Because of the industrial revolution, many farmers were forced to move into the city to find work. Due to this increase of population in London, the standard of living went way down. Poverty was rampant and the crime rate skyrocketed. The divide between the social classes drastically increased causing the rich to live lavish lives while the poor were forced to live in poor living conditions with low education leaving not much hope of ever living better lives.

George Williams
George was born and raised in 1821 on a farm in Dulverton, Somerset, England. He later was forced to move to London to find work as a draper. He was appalled by the living conditions and decided to do something the community. In 1844, he and 11 friends decided to start a group called the Young Mens Christian Association that would go do outreach and volunteer services and offered a safe place for young men to escape the craziness of London life. In 1851 Thomas Valentine Sullivan started the first YMCA in America in Boston Massachusetts as a safe place for sailors and merchants to have a home away from home.

The Learners
It was originally founded to reach the lower class men of London in order to reach out to them and make their lives easier with a central focus on God by having bible studies, prayer groups, and distributing bibles. The YMCA has met the needs of many different types of adult learners since its foundation including:
English classes geared towards immigrants Reading and writing classes for soldiers Adult learning classes for railroad and lumber workers, miners and immigrants Swimming lessons to adult males that were unable to swim And many many more As you can probably tell, the YMCA seemed to always concentrate its efforts on the under privileged and deprived people who, without their help, wouldnt have near as much hope for the future.

Leaner Needs
Throughout its history, the YMCA has a tradition of meeting people where they are and being willing to help and work with people that society commonly frowns upon. They started out meeting the needs that men had in the 1840s. A need for companionship and to give them a purpose in life and a safe place to grow in knowledge and wisdom in an unpleasant time. They then reached out to people who did not know proper English either because they werent originally from America, or they werent privileged enough to get an education. The learners needed a way out of the life they were currently stuck in and knew that an education in English, or trades, or reading and writing would help them have a much better chance of reaching that goal. The YMCA made getting adult education a possibility for so many men that never thought it was possible. They did so with a focus on God the whole time; completing bible studies and starting prayer groups and teaching men to read the bible, not just random English books.

The YMCA Triangle


The YMCA has made it a point to focus on 3 aspects of humans: body, spirit, mind. They reached this through their series of fitness and aerobic classes, facilitating sporting events, English classes, reading and writing courses, vocational training like during the great depression. All of these programs were done from a Christian view point to reach the spiritual side of everyone they came in contact with.

YMCAs influence on American Society


The YMCA helped even out the playing field in evangelical and economical ways. Through various classes and programs they have educated many people physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Also, through their standards and morals that it stands for and the way it is run, the YMCA brought equality for blacks and whites, men and women, immigrants and born citizens, upper and lower class people. They have provided food and shelter for soldiers, industrial workers and any men and later families who had no where else to turn.

How does this relate to our class?


To me, one of the biggest things my research showed me was how many different kinds of adult education there are. The YMCA also kind of exemplifies the assumptions about andragogy because they met men where they were, illiterate, unable to speak English, eager to learn more about the bible, or unaware of how to do certain physical activities, and facilitated learning programs to give them access to learn what they had the drive and passion to understand. The YMCA is an organization that attempts to fix the problems that the fallen world and twisted society have created and they originally, even more than they do currently focused on helping adults learn more about God, themselves, and the world around them and thats what I have been, and hope to continue getting knowledge about doing in this class.

Bibliography
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS9OO0S5w2 k http://www.ymca.net/history/founding.html http://www.kgstornesch.de/dokumente/upload/London%20Text e%20Un/The%20Industrial%20Revolution12A.pdf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Williams_(Y MCA) http://clevelandymca.org/news/media/ymca_his tory.pdf