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The Bible and Pop Culture

How has the YMCA influenced sports culture?

Originally a London institution formed by George Williams, the first YMCA in the United States was formed in Boston in 1851 by Thomas Valentine Sullivan. The purpose of the organization was to meet a social need, that of providing a safe place for young men who might otherwise succumb to dangerous and unhealthy pastimes on the city streets to pray and participate in Bible study. By the 1860s, YMCAs were being built that included affordable housing for single men. In 1869, the first YMCA with a gymnasium was built.

Over the ensuing years, the YMCA continued to grow by providing men with opportunities for self-improvement through higher education classes and sports. Eventually, the YMCA’s ministry embraced women, too. Today, the YMCA continues to use Christian ideals to help families from all walks of life build healthier lives.


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