our story

The Ann Arbor YMCA is a charitable association of men, women and children joined by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of children and teens, promoting healthy living, and supporting our neighbors. Each day, we work to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the chance to learn, grow and thrive.

Through the generous contributions of our donors, the YMCA is able to provide financial scholarships that enable all members of the community to enjoy YMCA programs. Please let us know if we may serve you or your family in this way. Stop by the membership desk, call 734-996-9622, or download the Open Arms financial assistance application on this site.

Youth Development at the  ANN ARBOR YMCA
Here at the Ann Arbor Y it is our goal to go about the work of Youth Development intentionally and in every aspect of our organization.  It is the job of every staff member and volunteer to help young people grow.  In order to do that, we have adopted the 40 developmental assets as our frame work.  The Developmental Assets, developed by the Search Institute, are 40 common sense, positive experiences and qualities that help influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible, successful adults.  Please click on the highlighted link to learn how the assets are used to help our staff and programs make the biggest possible impact on the youth we serve. 
Click here to view our online Developmental Asset training for staff

Did You Know That...

  • Starting in 2009, the YMCA expanded our reach into our neighboring community of Ypsilanti, where we help kids get active, build teamwork skills and instill self-confidence through our after school sports programs.  Through the YMCA's summer day camps at Recreation and Prospect Parks, children make new friends and learn the Y core values of honesty, caring, respect and responsibility. 
  • Through our Youth Volunteer Corps, which started in 1994, hundreds of teens collaborate with Washtenaw County agencies to serve people all over our community.
  • Through a unique collaboration with Food Gatherers, over twenty Ann Arbor teens in our Chain of Plenty program gain valuable life and job skills while preparing over 15,000 meals each year for homeless patrons of the Delonis Center.
  • Each summer hundreds of elementary school children participate in SPLASH, our free learn-to-swim program made possible through a grant from the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor.
  • Each year over 100 volunteers raise funds through our Strong Kids Campaign. Strong Kids donations provide scholarships and funding that make it possible for children and teens to take part in life-enriching programs that their families could not otherwise afford.

A Brief History of the Ann Arbor YMCA

  • The first Ann Arbor YMCA was established in 1858 by students at the University of Michigan. It was the second YMCA in the state of Michigan, after the Detroit YMCA.
  • The new Ann Arbor YMCA building at 110 North Fourth Avenue was completed in 1904.
  • Thomas Birkett’s property on Silver Lake in Dexter was initially deeded to the YMCA in 1914 as an all boys’ residence camp.  Today it is the site of Camp Birkett, our summer day camp for girls and boys.
  • In 1956, the YMCA and YWCA merged to become what is now known as the Ann Arbor YMCA.  The men and women of the Ann Arbor YMCA raised funds to build a new facility at 350 South Fifth Avenue.
  • In 1968 Camp Al-Gon-Quian, on the shores of Burt Lake, was purchased from Herbert Twining. This camp provides life-changing experiences for over 1,000 boys and girls each summer.
  • The YMCA's full-day childcare program for 2 ½ year olds to kindergartners was opened in early 1987.
  • In 1991, the City of Ann Arbor-YMCA residence facility was expanded to provide occupancy from 37 to 100 single rooms for men and women.
  • In 1997, the Board of Directors recognized the need for the Ann Arbor YMCA to expand and better meet the needs of people in our community. In 2000, the YMCA began the process of acquiring a site upon which to build a new facility, and in 2002, the YMCA purchased our new building site at 400 West Washington in downtown Ann Arbor.
  • On April 1, 2005, the new Ann Arbor YMCA facility at 400 West Washington Street officially opened.
  • As of 2011: each year the Ann Arbor YMCA serves 25,000 people, half of whom are under age 18.