In 1891, Dr. James Naismith was in search of a physical indoor game that could be played by athletes during the cold winter months in Springfield, Mo. At the YMCA’s Springfield College, Naismith hung two peach baskets on either side of a room and the game of basketball was invented. This may be a fact that a lot of basketball fans already know, but do they also know that the sports of volleyball and racquetball were also invented at the YMCA?
Sports have been an integral part of the Y experience since its inception and the Y has long been a leader and innovator in sports programming for young people. From the original modest site at the corner of Congress and Court, the YMCA of Southern Arizona began developing healthful programs for local young men. The Y’s programming was so popular that a YMCA extension program was created the following year on the University of Arizona campus. In Southern Arizona, the Y offers dozens of youth sports programs including activities like soccer, baseball, and basketball, along with, dodgeball, skateboarding, and gymnastics. The excellent Y staff and coaches offer classes and programs for all age and skill levels. YMCAs are the nation’s largest provider of youth sports programming and boast an excellent record of inspiring, coaching, and educating young athletes.
In the long history of the YMCA there has been one activity that the Y has used to make a tremendous impact on our country and city. Swimming. The Brooklyn YMCA had the first indoor swimming pool and the first group swimming lessons were held at a Y. Swim lessons and aquatics training at the Y have produced many of the greatest competitive swimmers in world. The Y swim training process was used for over 50 years in the US military. And with five aquatics locations in the Tucson area people have access to the Y very close to their home.
Currently, the Y is offering swim lessons to children at four of their locations through the reduced rate All Kids Swim program. Drowning is the #1 cause of injury related death for children under age five. In response, the Y is offering All Kids Swim, a drowning prevention program. Last year, more than 4,300 children learned valuable water safety and swim skills at the Y. The Y has been teaching children to swim for over 100 years.
The YMCA has continued to grow with Tucson. Today the Y provides programs throughout the community for boys, girls, men and women of all ages and abilities. One of Tucson’s premiere family service organizations, the Y is open to all.