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The meaning of «ymca»

YMCA, sometimes regionally called the Y, is a worldwide youth organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, with more than 64 million beneficiaries in 120 countries.[1] It was founded on 6 June 1844 by Sir George Williams in London, originally as the Young Men's Christian Association, and aims to put Christian principles into practice by developing a healthy "body, mind, and spirit".

From its inception, it grew rapidly and ultimately became a worldwide movement founded on the principles of muscular Christianity. Local YMCAs deliver projects and services focused on youth development through a wide variety of youth activities, including providing athletic facilities, holding classes for a wide variety of skills, promoting Christianity, and humanitarian work.

YMCA is a non-governmental federation, with each independent local YMCA affiliated with its national organization. The national organizations, in turn, are part of both an Area Alliance (Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada) and the World Alliance of YMCAs (World YMCA). Consequently, all YMCAs are unique, while following certain shared aims, such as the Paris Basis.

Imitator organizations include the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), the Young Men's Hebrew Association (YMHA), and the Young Men's Buddhist Association (YMBA). YMCA is also the subject of Village People's 1978 song "Y.M.C.A.".

The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) was founded by George Williams and 11 friends.[2] Williams was a London draper who was typical of the young men drawn to the cities by the Industrial Revolution. They were concerned about the lack of healthy activities for young men in major cities; the options available were usually taverns and brothels. Williams' idea grew out of meetings he held for prayer and Bible-reading among his fellow workers in a business in the city of London,[3] and on 6 June 1844, he held the first meeting that led to the founding of YMCA with the purpose of "the improving of the spiritual condition of young men engaged in the drapery, embroidery, and other trades."[4] Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury served as YMCA's first president from 1851 until his death in 1885.[5]

By 1845, YMCA started a popular series of lectures held that went on to be held at Exeter Hall, London, from 1848, and the lectures started being published the following year, the series running until 1865.[6]

YMCA was associated with Industrialisation and the movement of young people to cities to work. YMCA "combined preaching in the streets and the distribution of religious tracts with a social ministry. Philanthropists saw them as places for wholesome recreation that would preserve youth from the temptations of alcohol, gambling, and prostitution and that would promote good citizenship."[7]

The YMCA spread outside the United Kingdom in part thanks to the Great Exhibition of 1851, the first in a series of World's Fairs which was held in Hyde Park, London.[5] Later that year there were YMCAs in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and the United States.

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