Long Branch Area YMCA



A Quick History of the YMCA.

The YMCA was founded in London, England, in 1844 in response to unhealthy social conditions arising in big cities at the end of the Industrial Revolution. Growth of railroads and centralization of industry and commerce brought many rural young men who needed jobs into cities like London. 

George Williams was one of these young men. He was born on a farm and moved to London 20 years later to work at a draper’s shop, a forerunner of today’s department store. He and a group of fellow drapers organized the first YMCA to substitute Bible study and prayer for life on the streets. The Y has always been nonsectarian and accepts all faiths.

The Long Branch YMCA has been an important part of Macon’s History

The Long Branch Area YMCA movement began in 1995 when research discovered an article from the 1930’s on the then new Macon Municipal Swimming Pool which stated that the next step was to develop a community recreational facility. On April 3, 1995, Mayor Dale Whitley and the Macon City Council appointed a Pool Committee to investigate whether or not the Macon Municipal Swimming Pool should be renovated or replaced. From this Pool Committee formed a group interested in acquiring a recreational facility such as a YMCA. This group thereafter named the Macon Area Recreational Center Committee with the goal “to see a recreation center built in the Macon County Area for all age groups to use” and a mission “to investigate recreational facilities and organizations in communities comparable to the Macon area and surrounding communities and consider the feasibility for such a facility in this area.”

The front of Long Branch YMCA showing our sign and entrance.

During 1995 numerous surveys were collected at area schools in Macon County, at the Macon Electric Annual Meeting and in several area businesses which resulted in a very definite interest by the students and community members to acquire a recreation center. On October 18,1995, area organizations, clubs, community leaders, and media sources gathered at a public meeting and determined feasibility and positive interest in a recreation facility. On March 4, 1996, the Macon Area Recreational Center Committee presented a report to the Macon City Council outlining statistics on area recreation facilities visited by the Committee. They recommended that the Council begin to consider possible means to achieve an area-wide community center.

The Macon Area Recreational Committee recommended organizing a YMCA as City/School/YMCA effort. The Council was challenged to say, “I will do my part to see that this community facility is developed.” On March 19, 1996, another public meeting was called by the Macon Area Recreational Center Committee to discuss the requirements to start a YMCA. On June 6 and 7, 1996, YMCA of the USA representatives came to Macon to conduct a formal feasibility study with key community leaders. This resulted in a recommendation from the National YMCA (YMCA of the USA) for the Macon area to move ahead with a Founder’s Campaign to raise $200,000.

On July 24, 1996, the Long Branch Area Young Men’s Christian Association was officially formed and nationally recognized as a provisional YMCA, Charter #3318, developed by-laws and received IRS 501(C)3 status. On October 15, 1996, the first annual meeting of the Long Branch Area YMCA was conducted in order to elect 24 volunteers to serve on the Board of Directors. By January 1998, the Founder’s Campaign goal of $200,000 was exceeded. On February 3, 1998, the second annual meeting of the Long Branch Area YMCA was conducted to vote on eight of the 24 board members. On April 15, 1998 the first Long Branch Area YMCA Executive Director was hired.

Our gymnastics program has been very successful over the years.