Why the Y

Our Story

Who we are

The Ann Arbor YMCA is a charitable association of adults 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. The Ann Arbor YMCA’s mission is to put our core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility into action through facilities and programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

Our Diversity and Inclusion Statement

We are an association made up of people from every walk of life, working side by side to strengthen communities. Together we strive to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, income, faith, sexual orientation or cultural background has the opportunity to live life to its fullest.

Financial Aid

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 fill out the Open Arms financial assistance application.

Ann arbor ymca

throughout our history


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 former 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.


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 2002, the YMCA purchased 400 West Washington in downtown Ann Arbor.


On April 1, 2005, the new Ann Arbor YMCA facility at 400 West Washington Street officially opened.

In November 2005, the City of Ann Arbor-YMCA residence facility was permanently closed.

2017-2021 Construction

Between 2017-2021, major construction projects were completed at YMCA Camp AGQ following the Y’s capital fundraising campaign:

  • The Director’s House, located just outside of YMCA Camp AGQ proper, was purchased by the Ann Arbor Y as the primary summer housing for the Executive Director of YMCA Camp AGQ.
  • The Health Center was designed and constructed on lower camp, replacing the old dilapidated infirmary in 2017.
  • Rowe Hall was rebuilt in 2017. Rowe is often considered the heart of AGQ and is one of the first buildings that families see when they arrive at Camp. Whether it holds drama classes, rainy day activities or the weekly dances and talent shows, Rowe Hall brings people together.
  • Northside cabins and the northside bathhouse were rebuilt in 2019.
  • The Lodge and kitchen/pantry expansion project was completed at AGQ in 2021.


In 2017 the Y completed the construction of a director’s cabin and new waterfront shed at YMCA Camp Birkett located in Pinckney, Michigan.

In 2017 the Y expanded its before and after school programming into Ypsilanti for Ypsilanti Community School students in a partnership with Ypsilanti International Elementary School (YIES).


In 2018, the Y, in collaboration with Eastern Michigan University, opened the Ypsilanti Collaborative Child Development Center at Chappelle school in Ypsilanti.


In 2019 the Y opened Glacier Hills YMCA Child Development Center. The Glacier Hills YMCA CDC is an intergenerational childcare program on Ann Arbor’s Glacier Hills Senior Living Community campus. 

In 2019, the Y expanded its programming across East Washtenaw & Southern Livingston Counties through a supervised, free mobile community physical activity program, Sport Port: Y on the Fly.

  • Since its inception, Y on the Fly has programmed at schools, apartment complexes, churches, community centers and libraries across Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Manchester, Pinckney, Chelsea, and Superior Township.

2020 & Pandemic

In 2020, the Y expanded its day camp offerings to East Ann Arbor, hosting camp programming at Greenhills School for the first time. This is in addition to expanding its existing camp programming offered in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

In 2020, because of the Covid 19 pandemic, the Ann Arbor YMCA temporarily pivoted its services and expanded its offerings to meet the needs of the community. New programming included the creation of the Y’s Learning Labs, virtual group exercise programs, as well as participating in food distribution across Washtenaw County.

  • Emergency Childcare – As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, the Y pivoted operations at the Glacier Hills CDC to be utilized as an Emergency Childcare Center for First Responders and Essential Employees. At this time, many other childcare centers in the area remained closed.  
  • Learning Labs – programming at the Y’s downtown branch and at the Ypsilanti Township Community Center. The program provided a safe location for pupils in kindergarten through third grade to participate in virtual learning, as well as childcare for parents who couldn’t stay home to supervise their school-aged children.
  • Virtual Group Exercise – on-demand and live virtual group exercise programming was made available by the Ann Arbor Y. Virtual programming was far reaching, with free or low-cost programs available for youth, adults and seniors.
  • Food Distribution – In efforts to provide relief for food insecurity in and around Ann Arbor, the YMCA is participated in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program. The Y distributed 25lb boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables. The Y maintained distribution locations at more than 20 sites across Washtenaw County.