Local Focus, National and Global Reach
The YMCA was established over 160 years ago as a charity dedicated to the health of both individuals and communities. Our focus on inclusiveness and accessibility means we serve people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through all stages of life. Through YMCA financial assistance programs, the YMCA is accessible to all.
Today, there are 44 YMCAs and 8 YMCA-YWCAs in Canada that offer programs and services tailored to each community’s needs. Together, they serve 2 million people in more than 1000 communities across Canada – and they keep growing. All Associations are members of YMCA Canada, which works to strengthen associations and advocates on their behalf, regionally, nationally and internationally.
YMCAs are a centre of community where friendships are formed and family ties are strengthened. Available programs include:
CHILDREN AND YOUTH
HEALTH, FITNESS AND RECREATION
DAY AND RESIDENT CAMP
COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND NEWCOMER SERVICES
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND RECOGNITION
Each YMCA offers other local programs based on the needs of its community.
A Key Priority: Children and Youth
The YMCA has always focused on the healthy development of children and youth. Today, YMCAs reach more than half a million (813,000) children and youth by laying the foundation for their future habits and emotional well-being.
YMCA programs build assets or critical factors children need to become healthy, caring and responsible. Based on research by the Search Institute, these factors include support, empowerment, positive identity and values, a commitment to learning, boundaries and many others. Programs also instill values of caring, respect, honesty, inclusiveness and responsibility.
YMCA Raising Healthy Kids – To help families do simple things that will improve the health of each family member, YMCA Canada together with the Search Institute, created a variety of healthy living resources. Following a series of pilot tests with Canadian families, YMCA Raising Healthy Kids materials, created with funding from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, are available at a YMCA near you.
YMCA Healthy Kids Day – Each year, YMCAs together with community partners and organizations, host YMCA Healthy Kids Day at the end of May or early June. This free community event is designed to help kids and families learn about simple healthy habits that can become a lifelong practice. The Day offers interactive activities and practical information about easy ways for you and your family to be healthier in spirit mind and body. To find out more details, contact a YMCA near you.
The national YMCA network enables us to effectively respond to the social needs of Canadians. Through YMCA Canada’s national delivery of service system, YMCAs identify emerging issues, find novel solutions and share resources and training. This system is supported by four regional Management Resource Centres (MRCs) located in:
- The YMCA of Greater Vancouver
- The YMCA of Edmonton
- The YMCA of Greater Toronto
- The YMCA of Greater Montreal
The YMCA reaches right around the world. As the world’s leading network of local, community-based associations, YMCAs serve more than 45 million members and rely on more than a million and half volunteers in more than 120 countries.
Many Canadian YMCAs have partnerships with overseas YMCAs to strengthen their capacity to deliver long term programs that address the most critical community needs. In Canada, YMCA global education activities for the public promote awareness and involvement in international matters.