YMCA History


The Y is More Than You Know. We're a Cause.

Our History

The YMCA's commitment to improving lives through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility has been a powerful force since the Y was founded in 1844. Throughout the years, the YMCA pioneered, invented, or partnered with other organizations to create the following organizations, practices and sports:

  • Basketball and Volleyball
  • Public Libraries
  • English (ESL) Classes
  • Job Training
  • The USO
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Indian Guides
  • Swim & Lifeguarding Classes
  • Night School
  • Toastmasters
  • Low-Cost Housing
  • Camp Programs
  • Peace Corps
  • Camp Fire Girls
  • Negro Baseball League
  • Father's Day

YMCA Organizes First Library in Colorado Springs

In 1878, the first project of the volunteer organizers of the Colorado Springs YMCA was to create a public library and reading room - nearly three decades before the first city library. The first president of the new YMCA was Mrs. S.G. "Auntie" Cleveland. It was considered noteworthy at the time that women were given the right to vote in YMCA decision making - 42 years before the 19th Amendment. The early YMCA sought "to do good, as we have the opportunity, as far as our influence may extend."

Early 1900s — "The Taxpayer's Best Friend"

At the dedication of the new Colorado Springs YMCA building in 1901, Teddy Roosevelt said the YMCA "promotes industry, temperance, and self-reliance...it is a taxpayer's best friend. It gives better government at less cost, and that is the ultimate of political aspirations."

By the early 1900s, the YMCA was offering night school for "working youth" who would be considered at-risk youth today. Before the days of homeless shelters, the local YMCA offered low-cost residence rooms. Exercise classes were held to the accompaniment of a piano. Teens having trouble at home could find counseling. YMCA clubs provided positive activities ranging from photography to sports.

Growing with the Pikes Peak Region

Since 1878, the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region has grown to include branch locations throughout the region and offsite locations at schools and neighborhood centers to reach over 125,000 people each year. Through partnerships and community involvement, the YMCA is reaching out in new ways to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities.

kids playing ball

Proud Sponsors & Partners

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Accreditation Partners