Activate America

Activate America is the YMCA’s response to our nation’s growing health crisis. The YMCA is redefining itself and engaging communities across the country to better support Americans of all ages who are struggling to achieve and maintain well-being of spirit, mind and body.

We are shifting how we focus all aspects of our work both inside and outside the YMCA to better engage health seekers. We define “health seekers” as all children, youth, teens, adults and families whose successful pursuit of health and well-being requires continuously supportive relationships and environments.

Inside the YMCA, we are influencing and motivating health seekers to make positive changes in their pursuit of well-being. And, outside the YMCA, we are helping create and sustain healthier communities.

The goal of YMCA Activate America is to improve the health and wellness of all Americans by equipping the nation’s 2,540 YMCAs to become dramatically more effective in:

  • Helping children and youth develop good lifestyle health habits
  • Reaching adults who have been unable to sustain a commitment to healthy living
  • Serving racial, ethnic and social groups at greatest risk

The Gulick Project

To jump start the development of new YMCA lifestyle health operational strategies, in early 2003 YMCA of the USA and a select group of “Pioneer YMCAs” launched the Gulick Project.

Named in honor of the YMCA wellness pioneer Dr. Luther Gulick, the project is using a sophisticated change process, the Breakthrough Series methodology, to re-engineer key aspects of YMCA lifestyle health programs and operations.

The adult/family collaborative will focus on re-engineering the first six months of an adult’s YMCA experience to provide more effective support to individuals who have a history of failed attempts to sustain positive lifestyle health changes.

The youth/family collaborative will focus on developing new strategies to increase YMCAs’ ability to promote the lifestyle health of children and families participating in YMCA after-school and day-camp programs.