History & Mission

Our Mission

To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

Service to the First Coast

In 2018, we’re excited to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. Records show the charter for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast was approved on February 20, 1908.

Notable moments in our history:


Records show the first YMCA in Jacksonville originated in 1870 with J.M. Baker as president. The history of that organization was lost after 1876 and by 1900, there was no longer a Y in Jacksonville.


On February 20, 1908, YUSA approves charter for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. A seven-story YMCA opens at the corner of Laura and Duval Streets with a membership of 12 men. Designed by famed architect Henry John Klutho, the Y was framed entirely of reinforced concrete and eventually featured an indoor running track suspended over the gymnasium by cantilevered concrete beams.



  • Jacksonville YMCA reopens after its suspension during the Great Depression



  • Opening of YMCA in Riverside (later to be renamed the Claude J. Yates Family YMCA)
  • Construction begins on swimming pool at YMCA in Riverside


  • Membership Drive exceeds goal with 1,358 members
  • Dedication of Camp Immokalee Dining Hall, a gift from the Meninak Club of Jacksonville
  • YMCA Day Camp Opens


  • YMCA launches youth aquatics program
  • YMCA expands and provides new facilities in Arlington and St. Johns County


  • Jacksonville Mayor Haydon Burns received an honorary membership to the YMCA
  • YMCA Camp receives $10,000 from Jacksonville Rotary Club to build Camp Immokalee Infirmary
  • YMCA, with the Red Cross, begin teaching lifesaving classes


  • YMCA is 100 years old in America


  • Delta Hi-Y Founds Library as a service project


  • Drown-proofing program begins at the YMCA
  • YMCA begins new membership campaign that strengthens physical, moral and spiritual values


  • YMCA offers first physical fitness tests to assess members exercise needs


  • YMCA desegregates facilities (Franklin D. Wilson initiated the movement)


  • Opening of new “Executive Health Club” with sauna and steam room at YMCA Riverside YMCA


  • YMCA permits women to join as members (Mrs. Sutton, secretary to the President, was the first female member)


  • YMCA in Riverside opens a new running track


  • First presence in Nassau County with after-school, day camp and youth soccer; operations were run out of City Recreation Department building


  • The Clay County YMCA (Dye Clay Family YMCA)opens on Moody Road in Orange Park; later renamed with YMCA President Bob Dye retired after 26 years of service to our association
  • YMCA of Florida’s First Coast merged with the existing St. Augustine YMCA making it a part of the Association.



  • Broke ground on the Dye Clay Family YMCA Daystar building



  • Brooks Family YMCA opens after 60,000 square foot building donated by Brooks Rehabilitation




Though we’ve grown and evolved, one thing has remained constant: our mission. It is our reason for being and a driving force behind our cause to strengthen community.

Read more about Our Impact in Northeast Florida.

Mission Statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.