Sir George Williams ,YMCAs Founding Father, was this young man.
Today on 6 June, we celebrate YMCA Founder’s Day. A day which has turned into years, decades and centuries of significant and priceless youth empowerment investment.
Our Founding Father founded the YMCA in 1844. A man who with a career in drapery, looked for and found work making gentlemen’s clothes in St Paul’s Yard in the City of London.
Sir George was troubled by the activities he viewed as unhealthy for young men to engage in. However, conviction without action is not what a young George would accept. He used the space of the shop where he worked and influenced peers to find solutions in the form of recreational activities to engage and change existing paradigms which were not contributing to the overall wellbeing of young men. Just a year later, the YMCA grew. The movement extended to the USA and Canada in 1851.
The first YMCA World Conference was organised that produced the “Paris Basis” which is an international agreement about the aims of the YMCA. YMCA became global.
On the 50th anniversary of the founding of the YMCA, George became Sir George. Queen Victoria knighted the YMCA Founding Father for his profound investment and impact into the lives of young people and the legacy of a global movement. Substantively entrenched in different countries. Sir George, at the time of his demise in 1905, had achieved a total of 45 YMCAs throughout the world and the astounding membership of more than 700 000 people.
Today, the YMCA is the oldest and largest youth movement in the world.
Currently, the movement operates in 120 countries, reaching more than 58 million people. The YMCA works to develop youth leadership, establish youth inclusion and bring social justice and peace to young people and their communities, regardless of religion, race, gender or culture.
We celebrate this day with deep gratitude as we are reminded of the Christian principles, values and actions which has led to and continues to transform young people’s lives for the better.
Thank you, Sir George Williams, YMCAs Founding Father.