Y History

SETTING THE PACE SINCE 1944

The Y: A BRIEF HISTORY

A Far-Reaching Global Network

  • The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
  • With a national resource office and more than 2,700 independent Ys in 10,000 communities across the country, the Y engages 9 million youth and 12 million adults in the U.S.
  • Worldwide, the Y serves more than 45 million people in 120 countries. Ys across the U.S. play an integral role in strengthening the leadership and youth programs of the Y around the world.
  • Members, staff and volunteers include men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds.
  • The Y offers programs, services and initiatives focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, according to the unique needs of the communities it engages.
  • The Y is accessible to all. Financial assistance is offered to individuals and families who cannot afford membership. The Y is guided by four core values: caring, honesty, respect, responsibility.

The YMCA of Southern Nevada: Strengthening Communities Through Collaboration

In 1944, the YMCA of Southern Nevada was organized under the principles of the now 168-year-old YMCA movement when concerned citizens came together in an effort to keep youth productively busy. The YMCA of Southern Nevada had a modest start—in a storage room at Society Cleaners on South 11th and Fremont Streets.

As youth and fitness programs flourished, the Y soon outgrew its makeshift headquarters. In 1963, a full Y was erected at 2nd and Bonanza Streets. The facility’s highlight was its indoor pool. At 75 x 35 feet, it was the only one if its kind in Nevada and the first of many achievements for the Y.

The following highlights illustrate the Y’s local growth and its impressive efforts in engaging men, women and children—regardless of age, income or background—to nurture the potential of youth, improve health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Today, nearly 50,000 Southern Nevadans annually are enriched through the Y experience.

1980

  Southern Nevadans celebrated the opening of the 73,000-square-foot Meadows YMCA, 4141 Meadows Lane, later rededicated as the Bill & Lillie Heinrich YMCA. The Heinrich Y has grown, been revitalized and has served as Southern Nevada’s flagship Y since its opening.

2000

  The Y and the City of Las Vegas entered into a private/public partnership, out of which emerged The City of Las Vegas Durango Hills Community Center, Operated by the Y. The 51,000-square-foot facility and its outdoor water park provide a welcoming environment where every member of the family can get active, have fun and learn new skills.

2004

  The Y received a $3.5 million grant from the City of Las Vegas for a new aquatic center. The parking lot of the Bill & Lillie Heinrich YMCA transformed into the ultimate splash zone, complete with a beach play area, wading and lap pools, and three-story slide. Aquatic programming doubled in the suburban-turned-urban Y, which originally opened in 1980.

2006

  An $8.6 million capital campaign, the largest in the YMCA of Southern Nevada’s history, led to the further transformation of the Heinrich YMCA. Throughout 2005 and 2006, the facility got new locker rooms, resurfaced tennis courts, a welcome center, youth center and rock climbing wall.

2007

  Y and City of Las Vegas leaders realized an impressive collaborative model in the Durango Hills Community Center partnership. In 2007, the entities combined efforts again to open The City of Las Vegas Centennial Hills Community Center, Operated by the Y. At nearly 96,000 square feet, the impressive facility is a landmark in the Centennial Hills community.

2009

  As families struggled with the side effects of unemployment—stress, low self-esteem, unhealthy habits—the Y responded with Back on Track. The unprecedented program provided free six-month memberships to unemployed individuals and their families. More than 3,100 community members benefited from the free service valued at more than $335,000.

2011

  After responding to the City of North Las Vegas’ request for proposal to operate the SkyView Multi-Generational Center, the Y was selected by City Council. The 36,000-square-foot SkyView YMCA opened on June 1, 2011.

At the Y, no one is turned away because of an inability to pay. Financial assistance is made available through the Y Annual Campaign and funding and grants from generous donors. Families and individuals can use assistance for membership, summer camp, youth programs, sports leagues, swim lessons and dozens of other activities that help people of every age realize their potential. In 2013, the Y gave 34,000 individuals financial assistance totaling $453,000, an 18% increase over 2012. This allowed them to participate in wellness, sports, aquatics, youth and family programs. To create affordability, the Y subsidized memberships and programs by $1.6M.

Each year, parents, teens, infants, seniors and at-risk youth access hundreds of aquatic, wellness, youth and family and sporting programs led by trained instructors at four Ys. The Y manages four aquatic centers, and operates all programs according to Y-USA’s quality standards that have made the Y the largest and most trusted provider of aquatics services in the nation. Notably, the Y serves approximately 150 children in its state-licensed preschool. Nationally, the Y is the largest provider of childcare.

This strict adherence to mission-driven quality procedures and an infrastructure and management system designed to promote accountability make the Y a well-respected nonprofit. In addition to support from a local volunteer Board of Directors and strong programming, the Y receives comprehensive support from Y-USA, including information, best practices and logistical recommendations for operating centers.

The Y has been in the business of strengthening communities for generations, from the makeshift facility at Society Cleaners to the reinvented Heinrich YMCA of today, and the centers operated through successful private-public partnerships. The Y is here for good.

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