This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Ventura Family YMCA, which has been serving the city of Ventura since 1887. To commemorate its anniversary, the Y will be throwing a birthday bash at 6 p.m. Sept. 7, and everyone is invited!
The Y got its start on Sept. 26, 1887, in a house on the corner of Santa Clara and Oak Street in downtown Ventura, that was purchased from one its founders, Steven Bowers.
Throughout the years the Y has operated an array of programs serving an array of community needs.
Services and Historic Milestones
» Becoming the 80th entity to incorporate in Ventura in 1887
» Launching the Ladies Auxiliary in 1887
» Organizing the city’s first Cycle Club in 1893
» Creating the city’s first safety and learn to swim program in 1906
» Providing summer camp for boys in 1909
» Leading as an early influence upon Scouting and helping to launch the Boy Scouts of America in 1910
» Creating the Y Indian Guides, father-son programming 1925
» Relocating to a room above Ventura High School in 1930
» Leading three USO units in the 1940s
» Purchasing Pine Valley Camp, where more than 6,000 campers participated in 1946
» Starting the Youth and Government Program in 1949
» Forming the Y’s Men’s Club in 1949
» Launching the Y’s first day camp programming in 1951
» Purchasing the Old Mound School on Telegraph Road to relocate Y programming in 1952
» Launching the Y’s first after-school child-care program in 1979
» Merging the Ventura and Santa Barbara YMCAs in 1980 to create the Channel Islands YMCA Association
» Purchasing the Y’s current building on Telegraph Road in 1981
» Partnering with VUSD and becoming the largest child care provider in Ventura in 1986
» Launching the Y’s Capital Campaign to raise funds to renovate and build the Y’s current aquatics center in 1988
» Starting summer swimming lessons and partnering with Santa Paula High School in 1991
» Providing services to 3,000 facility members in 1991
» Kicking off the annual Healthy Kids Day in 1992
» Teaching physical education programs to eight county schools in 2002
» Launching Operation Splash, a program teaching homeless children how to swim, in 2010
» Teaching 3,500 children, annually, how to swim in 2011
» Extending aquatics programming to Ojai by partnering with Ojai High School in 2011
» Launching an extensive cardio room and strength center remodel in 2012
Today, the Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. By partnering with numerous organizations throughout the county the Y is able to serve more than 20,000 individuals annually through facility memberships, before and after-school child care, day and resident camps, youth sports, swim lessons, teen programs, and many more healthy lifestyle and community enriching programs. Through its Open Doors program, the Y ensures that no one is ever turned away due to their inability to pay by providing scholarships to area residents.
To celebrate the Y’s 125th Birthday Bash we are inviting everyone in the community to join us on Sept. 7. The event is free and includes live music by Sun Strum, as well as a Jolly Jump, games and a movie under the stars.
Click here to RSVP on our Facebook page or stop by. For more information, call 805.642.2131.
— Jamie Fyfe is a marketing coordinator for the Ventura Family YMCA.