Our History

group-book-sitting-adultsThe YMCA of Columbia was one of the first fifty Ys in the United States. Since our beginning in 1854, the emphasis has been on creating a community where individuals can come together in a spirit of common fellowship.

In the mid-to-late 1800s, the Columbia YMCA was the support system for thousands of Columbia residents, providing affordable housing, Bible studies, a strong Christian mission, and recreational activities.

Throughout the 1900s, the Y continued to adapt through both peacetime and wartime to provide emotional support, a sense of community, and health and well-being for all. From serving Columbia residents during the great depression, to encouraging healthy lifestyles during the latter half of the century, the Columbia Y’s impact continued unabated, despite a rapidly-changing social environment.

Into the 21st century, the YMCA of Columbia continues to adapt to make a major impact on the many social challenges facing our community, our state and the nation. From the tens of thousands of children who have been impacted by quality childcare, camps and afterschool programs, to the countless adults whose lives have been strengthened through healthier lifestyles, the Y’s contribution to the community continues.

Throughout our nearly 170 years of existence, we have stayed true to our mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Our five core values: Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, and Faith continue to thrive in our programs today.