The founder of the YMCA was George Williams was born in 1821 on an English farm in Dulverton, Someset.
Baptized into the Church of England, he described himself growing up to be "a careless, thoughtless, godless, swearing young fellow."
As a result, his family sent him away to apprentice at a draper's shop in Bridgwater.
In 1837, Williams converted to Congregationalism and became an active member of the Zion Congregational Church.
He moved to London in 1841, and worked his way up to be a draper shop department manager.
Attending Weigh House Congregational Church, he became active in evangelizing.
Williams was inspired by reading Revival Lectures, published in 1835 by American lawyer-turned preacher Charles Finney.
Finney's Lectures on Revival also inspired William and Catherine Booth who founded an organization in London to fight child sex-trafficking, preaching the saving Gospel among the poor – The Salvation Army.
Williams was appalled at the immoral conditions surrounding young working men, so he gathered his fellow drapers in London and, on June 6, 1844, founded a place where young men could go and not tempted into sin.
The YMCA pioneered integrating prayer and bible study with athletics.
This was the beginning of the 19th century movement known as "Muscular Christianity," which led to the concept of "good sportsmanship."
Williams named this interdenominational Christian organization the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), to be a "refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets."
One George William’s earliest converts and contributors was his employer, George Hitchcock, whose daughter, Helen, Williams married in 1853.
Concerned with keeping young men from temptation, especially sexual sin and immorality, Sir George Williams stated:
"My life-long experience as a business man, and as a Christian worker among young men, has taught me that the only power in this world that can effectually keep one from sin, in all the varied and often attractive forms ... is that which comes from an intimate knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as a present Savior ..."
"And I can also heartily testify that the safe Guide-Book by which one may be led to Christ is the Bible, the Word of God, which is inspired by the Holy Ghost."
YMCA Founder Sir George Williams died November 6, 1905.
He was buried in the historic St. Paul’s Cathedral.
In Montreal, Canada, the YMCA founded Sir George Williams University.
Though later merged into Concordia University, it retained the campus name “Sir George Williams Campus.”
The early 1881 emblem for the YMCA had the names of the five parts of the world: Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and America.
It has grown to be the oldest and largest youth charity in the world, with a membership of millions in 124 countries.
An early emblem of the YMCA had at the center an open Bible displaying John 17:21, referencing the verse:
"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
Underneath the triangle were the letters XP, called the "Chi-Rho," which were the first two Greek letters of the name of Christ -- "Χριστοῦ."
In 1885, the words "Spirit-Mind-Body" in a triangle were added by Dr. Luther Gulick, Jr., director of the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Dr. Gulick stated:
"The triangle stands ... for the symmetrical man, each part developed with reference to the whole, and not merely with reference to itself ...
What authority have we for believing that this triangle idea is correct? It is scriptural ...
Such statements as, “Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all they heart and soul and mind and strength,” indicate ... the scriptural view ... that the service of the Lord includes the whole man.
The words, which in the Hebrew and Greek are translated “strength,” refer in both cases entirely to physical strength."
Dunant wrote (Martin Gumpert, Dunant, The Story of the Red Cross, NY: Oxford University Press, 1938, p. 22)::
"A group of Christian young men has met together in Geneva to do reverence and worship to the Lord Jesus whom they wish to serve ...
They have heard that among you, too, there are brothers in Christ, young like themselves, who love their Redeemer and gather together that under His guidance, and through the reading of the Holy Scriptures, they may instruct themselves further.
Being deeply edified thereby, they wish to unite with you in Christian friendship."
In 1859, Henri Dunant organized care for 23,000 dying and wounded at the Battle of Solferino, Italy.
Henri Dunant then founded of the International Red Cross in 1863, for which he became the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1876, when Turkey was at war with Russia, the Red Cross introduced the name Red Crescent to allow Christian-motivated charity and humanitarian work to be carried on in Islamic countries.
In 1897, Henri Dunant supported Jews in their effort to repopulate their traditional homeland by being one of the few non-Jews to attend the First Zionist Congress in Basel.
During the Civil War, D.L. Moody ministered to soldiers on the battle-lines with the YMCA's United States Christian Commission. He went on to become an internationally renown evangelist.
Chicago White Stocking baseball star Billy Sunday began attending YMCA meetings in 1886 before beginning his career as a revival preacher.
Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute began a Bible Training school in 1893 to prepare students for Christian ministry.
Students helped out at community churches on Sundays; staffed a Humane Society; cared for area sick and needy; and ran a YMCA.
Booker T. Washington spoke at Memorial Hall in Columbus, Ohio, May 24, 1900 (The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 5: 1899-1900, Univ. of Illinois Press, 1976, p. 543-544):
"Dr. Washington began his address after a quartet sang.
He spoke of the 91 YMCA Organizations for colored youths; of the 5,000 colored men studying the Bible, and of the 640 Bible students at Tuskegee."
The game was invented by James Naismith, who was born in 1861 in Ontario, Canada.
Both of his parents died of typhoid fever in 1870, when he was just nine years old.
He was taken in by his grandmother who died in 1872, leaving him with his Uncle Peter, who stressed self-reliance and reliability.
James worked farm chores, chopped trees, sawed logs, and drove horses. He walked five miles to and from a small school. Though he struggled academically, he learned honesty, initiative, independence, and ruggedness.
A poor student, he left school at age 15 and worked as a lumberjack. It was then that he had a life-changing encounter with Jesus.
Edwin Brit Wyckoff recorded in the book, The Man who Invented Basketball: James Naismith and His Amazing Game (Enslow Publishers, Inc, Berkeley Heights, NJ, 2008), that Naismith said:
"It was with a firm determination and a great sense of confidence that I was to enter the study for the ministry ..."
“For several years I had been wondering what I wanted to accomplish. Finally I decided that the only real satisfaction that I would ever derive from life was to help my fellow beings."
"I was lying on the bed on Sunday and thought, 'What is this all about? What is life about? What are you going to do? What are you going to be?
What motto will you hold up before you?' I put up on the wall, not in writing, but in my mind this thought: 'I want to leave the world a little bit better than I found it.' This is the motto I had then and it is the motto I have today."
With the goal of becoming a minister, he entered McGill University in 1883, located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
There he studied Philosophy and Hebrew.
McGill included athletics as part of the college life.
It was at McGill that students organized the very first hockey club in 1877, and wrote the first hockey rule book.
Naismith graduated in 1887, and enrolled to study theology at a McGill-affiliated school, Presbyterian College.
To pay his tuition, he worked at McGill as an instructor in physical education.
At Presbyterian College, he was involved in religious activities, the Missionary Society, the Literary and Philosophical Society, and was a staff member of the Presbyterian College Journal.
He was an avid athlete.
In addition to gymnastics, he played baseball, field hockey, football, rugby and lacrosse – sometimes referred to as “legalized murder.”
Dr. Ed and Janice Hird wrote in "Dr. James Naismith: An Examination of the Global Impact of the Basketball Founder" (Engage Magazine, 7/2121, engage.lightmagazine.ca) how contact sports resulted in injuries, with Naismith getting a kick to the face, a concussion, temporary memory loss, and permanently swollen cauliflower ears.
As a result, he and his future wife, Maude Shermann, designed one of football's earliest helmets.
He was counseled by some to leave the evils of the athletic life and only devote himself to studying and Christian duties.
A simple incident, though, gave James direction.
During a rugby game in his senior year in seminary, a teammate uttered profanity.
When he looked up and saw James, he embarrassingly apologize and said “I forgot you were there.”
James began to realize that by combining both athletics and religious ministry, he could use sports to help men build godly Christian character.
At the age of 29, he went came to the United States to work as the physical education teacher at the Young Men's Christian Association department of the School for Christian Workers in Springfield, Massachusetts, renamed the YMCA International Training School.
During the harsh New England winter of 1891, the class of young men were bored with calisthenics, sit-ups and marching, so Naismith was asked by Dr. Luther Gulick, Jr., to devise a game which could be played indoors.
Dr. Gulick, who designed the YMCA's triangle logo—Spirit, Mind, & Body, also founded, with his wife, Charlotte "Lottie" Emily Vetter, the Camp Fire Girls.
Alluding to Book of Ecclesiastes, Dr. Gulick told Naismith: “There is nothing new under the sun. All so-called new things are simply re-combinations of the factors of things that are now in existence.”
James took the initiative, saying: “All that we have to do is to take the factors of our known games and then recombine them, and we will have the new game we are looking for.”
He also wanted a game that would result in fewer concussions and more sportsmanship.
On December 21, 1891, drawing upon a game he played as a boy called "Duck on a Rock," he created a new game with the goal of lopping a soccer ball into peach basket.
Naismith described in a New York radio interview:
“Something had to be done. One day I had an idea. I called the boys to the gym and divided them into two teams of nine and gave them an old soccer ball.
I showed them two peach baskets I had nailed at each end of the gym, and I told them the idea was to throw the ball into the other team’s peach basket.”
Without rules, brawls would break out on the floor, so Naismith wrote the original 13 rules of basket ball, which incorporated aspects of soccer, football and hockey.
With the players not running with the ball, there would be no injuring from tackling as in rugby or football. With the basket up high, there would be less harm near the goal as in hockey.
Michael Zogry, associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, stated:
"Naismith believed an umpire was essential in basketball ... He said an umpire could to enforce the rules and remind players how to behave ... Naismith’s hand-written original 13 rules of basketball sold for $4.3 million in 2010. A KU alumnus, David Booth and his wife, Suzanne, purchased the rules as a gift to KU."
Yale divinity student Amos Alonzo Stagg further developed basketball with five players.
He worked alongside James Naismith at the YMCA's training center in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Stagg later pioneered coaching and innovations for the game of football.
Naismith’s director, Dr. Gulick, explained his strict standards for players' behavior in an 1897 article:
“The game must be kept clean. It is a perfect outrage for an institution that stands for Christian work in the community to tolerate not merely ungentlemanly treatment of guests, but slugging and that which violates the elementary principles of morals ...
Excuse for the rest of the year any player who is not clean in his play.”
Naismith was an advocate of racial equality, opposing segregation in all its forms.
He believed that good coaching would produce: “initiative, agility, accuracy, alertness, co-operation, skill, reflex judgement, speed, self-confidence, self-sacrifice, self-control, and sportsmanship.”
U of K Professor Michael Zogry, further explained Naismith’s approach to sports and faith:
“His approach was to put Christianity out there in front of people and try to influence them through positive character development, but he reserved his formal preaching for when he was a guest minister at area churches.”
Basketball became so popular, that two years later, in 1893, the YMCA began promoting it internationally.
"YMCAs began to integrate the game into their mission trips and it is recorded that many young people were brought to Christ through these missionaries and the game of basketball."
YMCA missionaries first took the game to Canada, then overseas to Japan, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and around the globe.
Christian missionaries brought basketball to China through the YMCA, it has become one of the nation's most popular sports.
YMCA missionary T.D. Patton took basketball to India.
In 1894, Naismith married Maude, and together they had five children.
The next year they moved to Colorado, where James took the position as Physical Education director at the Denver YMCA.
When his brother, Robbie, died suddenly from an infection, James decided to become a doctor.
In 1898, Naismith obtained a medical degree from Gross Medical College, which was merged in 1912 with the University of Colorado Medical School.
He earned four doctorate degrees before the age of 35.
As a minister, coach and medical doctor, was a holistic missionary caring for the whole person--spirit, mind, and body.
Moving to Lawrence, Kansas, he was the assistant gymnasium director, campus chaplain, and basketball coach of the Jayhawks at the University of Kansas.
Professor Michael Zogry stated:
"Naismith arrived at KU in 1898 after he had earned a medical degree while employed by the Denver YMCA.
KU hired him to be the chapel director (daily prayer services were compulsory for students then), campus physician, physical education program director and, yes, the basketball coach ...
In addition to basketball and physical fitness, Naismith nurtured the study of religion at KU. In 1921, he was among those founding the Kansas School of Religion just a few steps off the university campus.
The Kansas School of Religion was a forerunner of KU’s Department of Religious Studies."
Professor Zogry wrote a another famous KU coach:
"Forrest Clare (Phog) Allen was not only known as the father of basketball coaching but is thought to have been Naismith’s student at KU."
Basketball continued to grow in popularity, being demonstrated at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri.
During the early 1900s, some viewed sports a distraction of the devil.
Dr. Ed and Janice Hird wrote in "Dr. James Naismith: An Examination of the Global Impact of the Basketball Founder" that his sister, Annie, was disappointed James chose sports ministry instead of being the pastor of a congregation.
“A few years ago, on a visit to my only sister I asked her if she had ever forgiven me for leaving the ministry. She looked seriously at me, shook here head, and said, ‘No Jim, you put your hand to the plow and then turned back.' As long as she lived, she never witnessed a basketball game, and I believe that she was a little ashamed to think that I had been the originator of the game.”
Naismith saw sports a platform to build Christian character, instill good sportsmanship, to love your neighbor, to play by the Golden Rule.
He said he "could best serve God by influencing young men’s characters, being convinced that, “he could better exemplify the Christian life through sports than in the pulpit.”
“Self-control, the subordination of one’s feelings for a purpose. The player who permits his feelings to interfere with his reflexes is not only a hindrance to his team, but he is also occupying a place that might better be filled by another.”
He believed sports provided an opportunity to develop strength to stand in faith to fight life’s battles, strength to live a fulfilled live in accordance with the Bible, and strength to serve others, developing:
“... a willingness to place the good of the team above one’s personal ambitions ... playing the game vigorously, observing the rules definitely, accepting defeat gracefully, and winning courteously."
“I may say in conclusion: Let us all be able to lose gracefully and to win courteously; to accept criticism as well as praise; and last of all, to appreciate the attitude of the other fellow at all times.”
Naismith explained: "There is no place in basketball for the egotist."
In 1911, Naismith published the book, A Modern College.
When World War I started in 1914, he volunteered at the age of 54.
Being a Canadian, he was able to get official ordination credentials from the Presbyterian Church and be appointed by the governor as an honorary captain and the chaplain of the nascent First Kansas Infantry.
In 1916, he was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, where two years later the Spanish Flu appeared of debated origins.
His unit was transferred to Eagle Pass, Texas, where soldiers served as guards during the Mexican Border War with Pancho Villa.
James Patton wrote in "Remembering a Veteran: Dr. James Naismith, YMCA" (Roads to the Great War, April 2, 2018):
"Naismith took his calling as the chaplain very seriously, approaching the task just like coaching a team of his young players, encouraging them to realize their potential.
He conducted church services, counseled soldiers, and advised his CO as to the spiritual needs of the unit. He was particularly concerned with efforts to keep the troops away from prostitutes, gambling, alcohol, and brawls with the locals.
To this end, and to keep them busy and physically fit, he organized basketball games, baseball games, and boxing matches involving the entire garrison at Eagle Pass."
Patton explained Naismith emphasis on Biblical morality:
"In June 1917 Naismith was accepted as a lecturer on 'moral conditions and sex education.' His job was training counselors, inspiring troops and developing programs to improve morale and morality. His experience in this work formed a large part of the material for his book, Essence of a Healthy Life, 1918.
In the fall of 1918, he was sent to France as a YMCA Overseas Secretary, where his work continued as before but now in the shadow of the front. He wrote of this time, 'I feel that I’m fitted for this work.' With his breadth of experience, probably no one was a better choice."
James Patton recorded a statement Naismith wrote in France:
"It is a pretty big job ... go over and make the camps clean places for the boys to fight. And also get the right spirit into the men.
That involves two things. Educate the men and eliminate the evils from the camps and vicinity. Pershing is very anxious to have this done.
I go without instructions to find out the best thing to do and then get the machinery working. It is no child's play, especially when it is among the old-fashioned type of soldier and in France where ideals are so different.
The responsibility is great but I am going into it determined. I do wish that you and the family would pray for me, for I have never felt so much in need of help as I do at this present minute."
Of his 19 months with the YMCA in France, Naismith said he was thankful for "the knowledge that I have tried to help the people of the world to make it a little better, and that I have tried to love my neighbor as myself."
Returning stateside as a 57-year-old war veteran, he resumed his position as director of physical education at the University of Kansas.
In 1925, he officially became an American citizen.
In 1936, three years before his death, he saw basketball recognized as an official event at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin.
Though he shunned publicity, he accepted the invitation to throw the first jump ball at the opening ceremony.
Afterwards, he was chosen to hand out the medals: U.S won gold; Canada won silver; and Mexico won bronze.
In 1937, he helped form the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball, renamed National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
In 1939, just eight months after the birth of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Basketball Championship, Dr. James Naismith died at the age of 78.
He had challenged the NCAA to “use every means to put basketball (as) a factor in the molding of character.”
One of his players remembered: "With him, questions of physical development inevitably led to questions of moral development, and vice versa."
The Journal of Health and Physical Education praised Naismith as "a physician who encouraged healthful living through participation through vigorous activities" building "character in the hearts of young men."
Basketball grew to be one of the biggest sports in North America, with 24 million participating in 2009 according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and played by over 450 million worldwide. Only soccer is more popular.
In 2015 “March Madness” attracted 80.7 million people worldwide who watched the tournament online.
Unlike athletes today, Naismith did not profit from inventing basketball. He even lost two houses to foreclosure.
Jayson Jenks wrote in “The Rules of the Game: Bill Self, Kansas, and basketball history” (March 22, 2012):
“Naismith never cashed in on his creation. He had offers to do commercials and advertisement campaigns, but except for lending his name as endorsement for a Rawlings basketball, he declined.”
Naismith stayed committed to his mission, which was "to win men for the Master (Jesus) through the gym.”
Tuskegee professor George W. Carver wrote to YMCA official Jack Boyd in Denver, March 1, 1927:
"Keep your hand in that of the Master, walk daily by His side, so that you may lead others into the realms of true happiness, where a religion of hate, (which poisons both body and soul) will be unknown, having in its place the 'Golden Rule' way, which is the 'Jesus Way' of life, will reign supreme."
"I am sure that no man can derive more satisfaction from money or power than I do from seeing a pair of basketball goals in some out of the way place. Deep in the Wisconsin woods ... High in the Colorado mountains ... halfway across the desert ... all are constant reminders that I have at least partially accomplished the objective that I set up."
Basketball nets adorn garages, walls, barns, schools and YMCAs in communities across the globe. It was the first game to requiring gymnasium's to have high ceilings.
“Whenever I witness games in a church league, I feel that my vision, almost half a century ago, of the time when the Christian people would recognize the true value of athletics, has become a reality.”
Two years after his death, Naismith's book, Basketball—its Origins and Development, was published in 1941.
Jon Ackerman wrote in the article "Upward Sports is carrying out the vision of the late Dr. James Naismith" (Sports Spectrum Magazine, Winter 2017):
"Dr. James Naismith invented basketball as a way to reach young people for Jesus. That same vision is fueling Upward Sports, the world’s largest Christian youth sports organization ...
James Pomeroy Naismith, now 81, is the last living grandson of Dr. Naismith. He was 3 when his famous grandfather passed away ...
Speaking of his grandfather, 'He could see a potential for an outreach, a Christian outreach to young people using competitive sports, and it is perfectly clear that he himself loved competitive sports ... If you can take something you love and apply it not only to your life, but through outreach to give others a better life, now that’s a really good vision.”
Naismith is honored in eight Canadian and American Halls of Fame. He is featured on postage stamps in both Canada and the United States.
The U.S. Census Bureau statistics (2009) report that over 24 million Americans play BASKETBALL.
KU Professor Michael Zogry stated:
"Naismith's goals in life, as he stated on his application to the International YMCA Training School, were to try to help 'win men for the Master,' to build character and to be an example for the men."
“The story of Naismith’s creation of the game is widely known ... Less well-known is that his game also was meant to help build Christian character and to inculcate certain values of the muscular Christian movement.”
Edwin Brit Wyckoff described how Naismith, along with Theodore Roosevelt, was an admirer of British author Thomas Hughes' popular book, Tom Brown’s Schooldays, 1857:
“Muscular Christianity is Christianity applied to the treatment and use of our bodies. It is an enforcement of the laws of health by the solemn sanctions of the New Testament.”
This self-reliant, muscular sentiment was echoed by Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, wrote an introduction to a 1917 pamphlet on Scouting & Christianity:
"Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity."
Theodore Roosevelt also championed muscular Christianity, addressing the Holy Name Society, August 16, 1903:
"I am not addressing weaklings, or I should not take the trouble to come here. I am addressing strong, vigorous men, who are engaged in the active hard work of life ... men who will count for good or for evil ... who have strength to set a right example to others ...
You cannot retain your self-respect if you are loose and foul of tongue, that a man who is to lead a clean and honorable life must inevitably suffer if his speech likewise is not clean and honorable ..."
"... A man must be clean of mouth as well as clean of life — must show by his words as well as by his actions his fealty to the Almighty ...
We have good Scriptural authority for the statement that it is not what comes into a man’s mouth but what goes out of it that counts ..."
"Every man here knows the temptations that beset all of us in this world. At times any man will slip. I do not expect perfection, but I do expect genuine and sincere effort toward being decent and cleanly in thought, in word, and in deed ...
I expect you to be strong. I would not respect you if you were not.
I do not want to see Christianity professed only by weaklings; I want to see it a moving spirit among men of strength ..."
"I should hope to see each man ... become all the fitter to do the rough work of the world ... and if, which may Heaven forfend, war should come, all the fitter to fight ... I desire to see in this country the decent men strong and the strong men decent ...
There is always a tendency among very young men ... to think that to be wicked is rather smart; to think it shows that they are men ... Oh, how often you see some young fellow who boasts that he is going to 'see life,' meaning by that that he is going to see that part of life which it is a thousandfold better should remain unseen!
I ask that every man here constitute himself his brother’s keeper by setting an example to that younger brother which will prevent him from getting such a false estimate of life. Example is the most potent of all things.
If any one of you in the presence of younger boys, and ... misbehave yourself, if you use coarse and blasphemous language before them, you can be sure that these younger people will follow your example and not your precept.
It is no use to preach to them if you do not act decently yourself ... The most effective way in which you can preach is by your practice ...
The father, the elder brothers, the friends, can do much toward seeing that the boys as they become men become clean and honorable men ..."
"I have told you that I wanted you not only to be decent, but to be strong. These boys will not admire virtue of a merely anemic type. They believe in courage, in manliness.
They admire those who have the quality of being brave, the quality of facing life as life should be faced, the quality that must stand at the root of good citizenship in peace or in war.
If you are to be effective as good Christians you must possess strength and courage, or your example will count for little with the young ...
I want to see every man able to hold his own with the strong, and also ashamed to oppress the weak.
... I want to see him too strong of spirit to submit to wrong ...
I want to see each man able to hold his own in the rough work of actual life outside, and also, when he is at home, a good man, unselfish in dealing with wife, or mother, or children.
Remember that the preaching does not count if it is not backed up by practice. There is no good in your preaching to your boys to be brave, if you run away."
In 1892, William Morgan came to study at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School -- Springfield College.
There he met Naismith.
Morgan wrote the original rules for volleyball and had them printed in the first edition of the Official Handbook of the Athletic League of the Young Men’s Christian Associations of North America (1897).
He needed a ball that was lighter than a basketball, so he asked A.G. Spalding & Bros. of Chicopee, Massachusetts to design one.
In 1916, the rules of volleyball at the YMCA were shared with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
In 1922, the first official national tournament in the U.S. was held by the National YMCA Physical Education Committee in New York City.
The President of the student YMCA chapter at Cornell University was John R. Mott.
He went on to served as General Secretary of the International YMCA Committee. For his efforts during World War I, John Mott was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946.
John R. Mott stated:
"I have a hard fight before me in crushing self but it must and will be done. I shall be wholly consecrated and strive to be like Christ."
Dale Carnegie began his biblically-based motivational teaching in 1912 while serving as an instructor at the Y.M.C.A. on 125th Street in New York City.
His best-selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936) has sold over 15 million copies.
On October 24, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson addressed the 70th anniversary of the YMCA:
"Christ came into the world to save others, not to save himself; and no man is a true Christian who does not think constantly of how he can lift his brother."
"I do believe that at 70 the YMCA is just reaching its majority.
A dream greater even than George Williams ever dreamed will be realized in the great accumulating momentum of Christian men throughout the world ...
These 70 years have just been a running start ... now there will be a great rush of Christian principle upon the strongholds of evil and of wrong in the world.
Those strongholds are not as strong as they look ... All you have to do is to fight, not with cannon but with light ...
That, in my judgment, is what the Young Men's Christian Association can do."
During World War II, the YMCA printed and distributed prayer books to U.S. soldiers and sailors:
"The New Testament - An American Translation - Special Edition published for the Army and Navy Department by The National Board of the Young Men's Christian Associations - One of the Agencies of the United States Service Organization - Association Press, 247 Madison Avenue, New York." (June 1942)
Inspired by the YMCA, Mary Jane Kinnaird founded the Young Women's Christian Association in 1855.
Kinnaird had worked with Florence Nightingale to train nurses to during the Crimean War with Russia.
Donald Fraser wrote in Mary Jane Kinnaird (London: Nisbet & Co., 1890)
Mary Jane Kinnaird led a prayer movement for world evangelism, writing in a tract that believers should offer "... united prayer in reference ... to the condition of the Jews, Mohammedans, and the heathen world."
"Prayer ... awakens such strong opposition ... from the world, the flesh, and the devil ...
Hence the power of prayer -- when to one God and Father, through one Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and by one Holy Spirit, the prompter of prayer, the multitude of them that believe appeal for ... strength to fight the good fight of faith."
In recent years, the YMCA, like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other community-based organizations, have been under pressure to distance themselves from their Judeo-Christian founding principles.
A press release from YMCA of the USA stated:
"WASHINGTON, May 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
The Biden Foundation and YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) today announced a joint three-year effort to foster LGBTQ inclusion and equity at YMCA locations nationwide ... a pilot cohort of Ys ... will develop and implement locally focused strategies designed to engage and support LGBTQ individuals ...
... These strategies may include staff training; member outreach and engagement; program innovation for LGBTQ youth, adults, seniors and families; and community collaborations. In following years, the best practices and tools developed by the cohort will be scaled to reach Ys nationwide."
Funding is also provided by the Gill Foundation and the David Bohnett Foundation.
“The Biden Foundation is committed to changing our culture so that everyone, including LGBTQ people, feel supported and affirmed,” said Louisa Terrell, Executive Director of the Biden Foundation. “We could not ask for better partners in this work than YMCA of the USA, with its history, reach, and impact in communities across America.”
The effort to keep organizations true to their godly founding principles was referred to by Woodrow Wilson in his 1914 address to the YMCA:
"Eternal vigilance is the price, not only of liberty, but of a great many other things ...
It is the price of one's own soul ... What shall he give in exchange for his own soul, or any other man's soul? ...
There is a text in Scripture ... It says godliness is profitable in this life as well as in the life that is to come ...
This world is intended as the place in which we shall show that we know how to grow in the stature of manliness and of righteousness.
I have come here to bid Godspeed to the great work of the Young Men's Christian Association.”
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