Before the invention of the light bulb or telephone, before there was radio or automobiles, and even before Confederation - there was the YMCA. The first YMCA in North America got its start in Montreal, Quebec in 1851.
This was the industrial era - a time when major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, production and transportation were taking place. This brought more regimented routines with fixed work shifts along with a clear divide between the hours spent working and those spent at leisure. The YMCA supported people during their leisure time by focusing on their personal growth in spirit, mind and body. The YMCA was interested in putting Christian principles into action, giving people the opportunity to learn, improve themselves, choose a healthy lifestyle and support others.
Today, the YMCA's mission still reflects those early day ideals. The YMCA grew up with Canada, changing and introducing programs needed by the communities it served; a practice that continues today.
1912 – National Council of YMCAs was formed
Divided into 3 Regional Development Centres (RDC’s) for regional representation – Canada West, Ontario & Canada East. The RDCs focus on staff training/development, staff benefits, crisis situation intervention.
Objective of YMCA Canada is to serve as an instrument for YMCA’s and YMCA/YWCA’s to achieve their purpose and goals through collective action in representing associations, position in the public eye, setting national standards and programs, and organizing national events.
Four associations in Alberta – Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Calgary and Northern Alberta