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Our History

Metropolitan YMCA's of Mississippi

Changing Lives since 1906

The first Young Men’s Christian Association was founded in London in June of 1844, by George Williams. Williams was concerned about the temptations facing the young men in the heart of the industrial revolution. As an effort to improve the spiritual and mental condition of young men, the YMCA was established offering Bible study and prayer meetings to everyone. The YMCA movement was a tremendous success and quickly spread to America in Boston, 1851.

1860 - YMCA was first organized in Jackson to promote religious principles and the advancement of the cause of Christ among the young men of our city. It was composed of members from the Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist churches but was interrupted by the civil war.

1905- The present YMCA was organized in the First Baptist Church on April 9, 1905 by a group of forty men led by C. N. Bancroft and included H. N. Ellis, S. J Taylor, T. M. Hederman, C. E. Wright.

1906- Received Charter of Incorporation as the Young Men's Christian Association of Jackson, Miss.

1907 - The first YMCA building was erected at Pearl and Southwest streets, the present site of The Clarion Ledger, but quickly outgrew this space and was moved to a site on Northwest Street (now occupied by a State office building).

1947 - The Farish Street (I. S. Sanders YMCA) branch was established to serve the inner-city community. Under the leadership of C. R. Ridgway, III, Earl Jones and Otis Barry, a new building was erected in 1958. The support of the community has enabled the I. S. Sanders YMCA to expand its programs with the acquisition of the annex in 1990, and the Satellite child care center on West Capitol in 1992, the Teen Crisis Center in 1996 and the Library and Resource Center in 1998. Property expansion continues today through the continued support of Jackson leaders.

1951 - On April 2, Ellis Wright, Sr., and W. M. Mounger headed up the building campaign for a new Central YMCA (Downtown) building on the corner of North President and High streets. The planning and construction committee also included C. R. Underwood, W. C. Wells, III, C. R. Ridgway, III, W. A. Yerger, R. C. Stockett, O. M. Barry, Z. T. Hederman, J. K. Foster, W. D. Lowe and E. M. Jones.

1968 - The Northside and Southwest branches began operations with large pools and offices. Gymnasiums were built at both locations in 1974 under the campaign leadership of Chuck Holloway, James B. Campbell, and Donald Lutken.

1969 - The Clinton YMCA was established to provide YMCA youth programs through office space once located in Old Town Clinton. In 1974, the branch was relocated to its present site on Lindale and has expanded its services with a new fitness center added in 1992.

1977 - The Downtown YMCA was moved to new facilities at East River Place through property donated by the McCarty, Holman and Hederman families. Additional expansions were added in 1986 with the strength and conditioning center and in 1987 with the YMCA’s first year-round aquatic center contributed by James W. Hardin.

1978 - The Metro YMCA expanded youth sports and child care programs to Rankin county.

1985 - The Southwest YMCA established a fitness center at Candlestick Shopping Center which was relocated in 1994 to the refurbished home site on Flowers Drive.

1993 - The Jackson Association continued to meet the demands of downtown Jackson by establishing The Capital Towers YMCA Wellness Center on the 20th floor of the Capital Towers building.

1997 - The new Reservoir YMCA was a collaboration with the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District for a comprehensive wellness and child care complex, swimming pool and eight tennis courts.

2001 - The Clinton YMCA opened a new 6,000 square foot aquatic center. The Reservoir YMCA expanded its youth sports program with the opening of Primos Park, a new soccer complex in Flowood, MS. The Southwest YMCA expanded child care services with the opening of a new 9,000 square foot Early Childhood Development Center providing child care 17 ½ hours a day, seven days a week.

2003 - The I55 YMCA opened a new natatorium with party room, wheelchair ramp and aquatic wheelchair, two sun decks, additional men’s/women’s locker rooms, and child watch area .

2004 - The Clinton Family YMCA opens a new 35,000 square foot wellness facility with the current facility being refurbished to house the childcare programs.

2005 – The Clinton Family YMCA opens a new 35,000 square foot wellness facility with the current facility was refurbished to house the childcare programs. The Flowood Family YMCA opens with a 70,000 square foot comprehensive facility with 43 acres of recreational fields.

- The YMCA Northeast Jackson opens in Deville Shopping Center.

- The Ridgeland YMCA opens in the Promenade Shopping Center on County Line Road thanks to the generous donation of the Gary Harkins family.

Today, the Metropolitan YMCA's of Mississippi serves Amite, Bolivar, Claiborne, Copiah, Franklin, Hinds, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Madison, Prentiss, Rankin and Tippah counties.