On Wednesday, Oct. 18, the YMCA of the Iowa Mississippi Valley will celebrate 165 years of service to the community. To celebrate and to increase personal connections, the YMCA will waive the joining fee for new members, a news release says.

The new North Scott Community YMCA in Eldridge

“A lot has changed since 1858,” said Y-IMV President and CEO Brad Martell, “but the mission and goal of our Y is just about exactly the same.”

The Y continues to be a volunteer-led nonprofit charity designed to strengthen the foundations of community, a news release says Although the past 50 years have seen the Y become well-known and highly-inclusive fitness facilities, the nonprofit mission continues a multi-faceted approach to community service.

The current momentum of the YMCA locally – the Bittner YMCA (Dec. 2020), the North Scott Community YMCA (Dec. 2021), and The Landing Waterpark in Bettendorf (opening in 2024) continues to build upon the legacy of increasing healthy engagement for all people. (The Rock Island YMCA – a branch of the Two Rivers YMCA in Moline – opened in February of 2023.)

“The YMCA is such an important part of life for so many kids and families in this community,” said previous YMCA Volunteer and Annual Campaign Chair David Cribbs, who lead efforts to raise $960,000 in 2023. “It’s incredible to see how many people are connected at the Y.”

The Y-IMV, which will provide over $1.8-million in direct assistance to area kids and families this year, accomplishes its mission through three Focus Areas: Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility. From Youth Sports, and Swim Lessons, Summer Camp, Gymnastics and Preschool; to Group Exercise on land and water, cancer support, personal training, adult sports; to volunteering, donor engagement, and mentoring, our local Y is in a strong position to support everyone.

The Y-IMV has even received Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star award every year since 2007, which places it in the top 2% of charities independently rated annually.

YMCA History Timeline

·         1844 – YMCA Begins In London

·         1851 – YMCA Chartered in Boston (First in US)

·         1856 – First Railroad Bridge Across Mississippi (at site of current Bittner YMCA)

·         October, 18 1858 – YMCA Chartered in Downtown Davenport

·         1861 – Abraham Lincoln calls for volunteers; local Y suspends ops for only time in history

·         1870 – YMCAs coin the term “Body Building”

·         1885 – First Summer Camp in US at Orange Lake, NY (Camp Abe Lincoln 1924)

·         1885 – Two Rivers YMCA founded in Moline, Illinois

·         1891 – Invention Of Basketball

·         1895 – Invention of Volleyball

·         1893 – Higher Ed/Vocational Classes begin in Davenport:

o   English as Second Language

o   Drafting/Engineering

o   Radios and Electronics

o   Davenport YMCA Auto School

o   Retail Employee Training

·         1909 – Group Swimming Lessons Begin at the YMCA

·         Response to Global Events

o   WWI – YMCA Developed Child Care due to mothers working in manufacturing

o   WWII – YMCA assists in creation of USO

o   COVID – Essential Worker Child Care; Outreach To Disconnected People/Families

Current YMCA of the Iowa Mississippi Valley Snapshot:

o   7 Branch Facilities

§  Bettendorf YMCA, R. Richard Bittner YMCA, Maquoketa Area YMCA, North YMCA, North Scott YMCA, Utica Ridge YMCA, West YMCA

o   YMCA Program Facilities

§  YMCA Camp Abe Lincoln, YMCA Early Learning Centers, YMCA Sports Center

o   The YMCA of the IMV had over 62,000 members in 2022

o   Over 72,000 people were served in 2022 in membership and programs

o   Y-IMV provided $1.62-million in Direct Financial Assistance To Local People

o   Over 23% of families receive assistance for their Y memberships

o   YMCA Outreach Programs have served over 10,000 at-risk students

§  Two full-time Directors currently mentor 200 students a year

o   YMCA Child Care & Family Services is one of the largest providers in QCs and half of families receive assistance to attend

o   The Y also provides over $400,000 annually in assistance through SilverSneakers and other older adult programs.

o   The YMCA’s collaboration with the City of Bettendorf at “The Landing” will open in 2024