Our History

The YMCA in the United States

Today, the Y engages more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the U.S. As the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to helping people and communities to learn, grow and thrive, our contributions are both far-reaching and intimate—from influencing our nation’s culture during times of profound social change to the individual support.

By nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving the nation’s health and well-being, and supporting and serving our neighbors, the Y ensures that everyone has the opportunity to become healthier, more confident, connected and secure.


Our Timeline


1892 to TODAY with 125 years of service in our Community

1892   YMCA Reading Room begins in a donated room in the Union Pacific Wharf. Room was furnished with books, various games and correspondence table. They had as many as 55 visitors per day.Subscriptions were sold to cover the cost. Seattle and Victoria’s YMCAs helped organize, and for over 50 years the Y remained small and all volunteer.

1948   The YMCA of Clallam County files for incorporation and requests a space on the upper floor of the old fire hall on Lincoln Street. Stan Taylor is first Board President.

1949   Leon Myers is first Y director hired. Space on upper floor of the firehall is opened in November of 1949. Teen clubs, hobby classes, softball and basketball teams and summer camping all grow to a total of 1,000 people reported.

1950   Grace Charnell, first secretary, instituted the little theater program for fund raising.

1952   Hospital building at 302 Francis St. is donated to the YMCA by Drs. Kintner, McFadden, Hamilton and Schueler, when the hospital moved to its new location. Grace Charnell organized the YMCA Auxiliary into twelve circles which helped get the group out of debt. The Auxiliary helped with the finishing of the social hall and kitchen.

1953   Building is renovated to accommodate the growth of athletic programs, teen clubs and youth legislature. $25,000 is raised along with hundreds of hours donated by volunteers. Furnishings are donated by Kiwanis, Rotary and Elks Club.

1960   Executive Director Jerry Houston develops strong Hi-Y and Tri-Hi-Y teen clubs. Over 200 teens are involved.

1964   Gymnasium is built in YMCA building and physical fitness expands. Ray Hanson becomes Executive and completes the gym and continues the strong teen programs.

1969   Mark Bowes becomes the Y youth program director. He continues to work through the present, Improving the lives of thousands of young people. In April of 1956 there were 2400 members.

1970   Emphasis changed from young people to exercise and fitness programs. There was an attempt to balance the programs.

1986   Mac Ruddell and Captain Dave Gershowitz, volunteer leaders and Mike Robinson, Y Executive, lead a $1,000,000 capital campaign to build a new Y building at 302 Francis.

1986-87 The YMCA Women’s Auxiliary raises the funds to add a commercial kitchen to the new building.

1988   The present YMCA building is constructed. A fitness center, racketball-handball courts, multipurpose room, new locker rooms, child care area and kitchen are all included. A mortgage of $600,000 is incurred to finish the building. Family programs and memberships expand.

1993   Jim Butler, Edna Peterson and Dennis Yakovich, volunteer leaders and Dave Duro, Y Executive Director lead the campaign to make the Y debt-free. Celebrating success, the $600,000 mortgage on the new building is burned.

1996   Dan Maguire is hired as Y Executive Director. He will retire in 2010. Dan leads growth in Y-Arts programs, a teen center in a house owned by the Y, expanded Health and Fitness and a new Y branch in Jefferson County.

1997   The Fitness Center is expanded. Fitness machines are added. After-school care for kids of parents who work is added at several schools.

1999   An aerobics studio is added to the Y building. Classes explode.

2002   Jefferson County YMCA begins in Port Townsend as a branch of the Clallam County YMCA. Serves as the recreation department for the city. The Dream Park is built with the help of other community service groups.

2005   To accommodate a growing Y membership, the Fitness Center is expanded again in Port Angeles. Y acquires houses adjacent to Y for program use and future expansion.

2006   Y becomes supervisor of North Olympic AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps volunteer/staff serve in schools and communities across the Peninsula.

2009   Jefferson County Branch moves to former Mountain View School in Port Townsend. After-school programs, school based programs and fitness programs expand.

2009   Y Executive Director, Kyle Cronk is hired from Seattle Y.

2011   The name is changed to Olympic Peninsula YMCA to reflect the geographic scope of Y services.

2012   The “Y at the Plaza” Extension in Port Angeles opens to alleviate crowding at the Y, providing Cross Fit classes for adults and kids.

2013   The Y celebrates its 65th Anniversary in Clallam County. The Olympic Peninsula YMCA presently registers 6,400 people yearly in membership and programs. There are eleven full time staff, 345 active volunteers and 400 donors. Major areas of focus: Healthy Living, Youth Development and Social Responsibility.

2015   The Olympic Peninsula YMCA collaborated with the community of Sequim to reopen SARC (Sequim Aquatic Recreaction Center) as the YMCA of Sequim. 

2016   The YMCA of Sequim opened October 30, 2016. This is the third location for the Olympic Penininsula YMCA and the first swimming pool for the association. There are 5,063 members in the Sequim Y after being open a few short months.

2016   Len Borchers became the CEO of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA. Len was the former Finance Director for the Y.

2017   The Olympic Peninsula YMCA brought back their Residential Camp in 2 separate locations.

2017   The Dennis Watson Spirit of TEAM grant has been created in honor of Dennis Watson, former board member. The grant will give up to $3,000 to a program for children in Clallam County.


YMCA of Port Angeles, 1952                 YMCA of Port Angeles, 1999