Becoming a Cause Driven Leader
The goal of the University YMCA is to assist MU students study and work toward enriched human living and a free and just society. This is accomplished through a variety of community service programs centered on the needs of youth.
We are a non-facility YMCA where we promote life-long service and civic engagement projects with our MU student volunteers. We do not have any swim or fitness facilities.
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Brief History of the University YMCA
The University YMCA was founded in 1890 and is the oldest recognized student organization at the University of Missouri. Since its inception, the University Y has enjoyed a long history of community involvement. Begun primarily as a religious organization, part of the YMCA’s original stated purpose was: “to promote spiritual life at the University, to guard students against the temptations of college life, to cheer and comfort young men and make them better.”
After WWII there were only two returning members. Through an extensive recruitment effort, membership increased to ninety. In 1947 the YMCA had renewed its commitment to a social gospel and brought the first black speaker onto the University of Missouri campus.
In the 1950’s and 60’s social action was the major concern of students involved in the University YMCA. Programs ranging from visitation to the State Mental Hospital, Model United Nations, Faculty Fireside Chats, Tutoring, and New Student Orientations were some of the varied offerings. The “Y” also moved into the area of international programming. Due to the lack of a Community YMCA, the University YMCA followed the national movement and established ten boys clubs in the local public schools. GRA Y’s in grade schools, JR Y’s in junior highs, and HI Y’s in high schools.
The 1970’s saw the formation of programs such as “Sisters” (the precursor to Big Sisters), Boone County Tenants, Rehabilitation Unlimited, and a minority scholarship fund sponsored jointly by the YMCA, YWCA and the Legion of Black Collegians. The 1980’s saw the development of many of the programs that still run today: Kid Contact, Camp Mudd, and Youth in Government. In the 90’s the Y founded the Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity and began Alternative Spring Break. We also began the Annual Volunteer Fair in collaboration with the Voluntary Action Center.
Currently the YMCA continues to collaborate with other agencies to provide needed programs and services to the Columbia Community. Some examples of that are Camp Mudd, a summer day camp, (with Friends of Takamina); Y’s Tutors, an after-school homework help program for children in Kindergarten through 8 th grade (with The Moving Ahead Program of the Columbia Housing Authority) and Kid Contact, which provides academic support for children at the Nora Stewart Early Learning Center.
As our agency developed and changed, our mission statement changed as well. Currently that mission is: The University Y seeks to attract and unite in active service, individuals of all faiths and backgrounds to form a community of young people committed to the development of strong kids, strong families, and strong communities.
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