YMCA of Greater San Antonio



History of the YMCA of Greater San Antonio

Our Mission

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

Strengthening community is our cause!

For 142 years, we have been listening and responding to our community’s most critical social needs, ensuring that everyone has the chance to learn, grow and thrive, regardless of age, income, ability, ethnicity or faith. We focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, and incorporate core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, and faith into all we do.

Why the Y? 

At the YMCA we are more than a gym, we are a community with something for everyone in your family. 

We offer:

Hear what others are saying about the Y in their 
Mission Moments

Vision 2020

Vision 2020 is a strategic plan with a focus on:

Vision 2020


•1844 George Williams founded first YMCA in London, England with purpose to create a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets.
•1876 YMCA of Greater San Antonio founded by volunteers serving cowboys, railroad employees, young men and boys who'd moved from the suburbs into the city to find employment.Without owning our own building, volunteers began providing food, lodging, reading rooms and activities in borrowed facilities around town.
 •1907  Volunteers raised money to build the first facility on North Alamo and Third Street as an outlet for young men to participate in Bible studies, physical activity and educational classes.
 •1918  In World War I, the YMCA brought field services, food, first aid supplies and blankets to soldiers and their families throughout South Texas. By 1918, the YMCA was offering San Antonio’s first swim lessons, organized High School Clubs (Hi-Y), and reached out to African American and Mexican American youth in the community.
 •1927  Camp Flaming Arrow in the Hill Country was purchased, again with funds raised by volunteers. This camp boys “healthful recreation without temptation, the gratification of the natural desire for a free and easy life outdoors, together with the cultivation of a manly Christian character” (Sumner Dudley, 1885).
 •1944  Building of the full facility Davis-Scott Family YMCA.
 •1949  Building of the full facility Westside Family YMCA.
 •1960s The Northwest and Northeast branches were built to offer expanded programs in swimming, team sports, day camps, drug abuse prevention and teen leadership.
 •1971 The Downtown YMCA opened its first location at 903 N. St. Mary’s. Through the 1970s and 80s, YMCA programs were developed to help at-risk youth stay out of trouble and learn new skills.
 •1980s Women could now participate in health and wellness programs at the Downtown branch. The Southwestern Bell branch was opened where early child development, after-school child care and bilingual pre-kindergarten were introduced, leading to the development of campus-based student enrichment programs and youth sports. Texas’ first teen parent child care was developed at the YMCA. 
•2003 During this year, the Vision 2010 plan was set in motion. This plan, developed by the Association Board, task forces, local board members and staff, was designed to focus on Membership Development, Program Enhancement, Financial Development, Image Development and Capital Development.
 •2006 The Boerne Family YMCA was the first facility to be built in San Antonio in over 30 years. The doors opened in January 2006. Later that year, the New Braunfels Family YMCA was opened, by remodeling the McKenna Health Club. Also, the roads, pool, cabins, showers and the camp directors' house were renovated at Camp Flaming Arrow.
•2007 The Mays Family YMCA, originally a sports location, opened its new Wellness Center, in January of 2007.
•2008 The new Braundera Family YMCA was opened in O.P. Schnabel Park.  Seven months later, the family outdoor aquatics park, spray park and pool were opened there as well. The Davis-Scott Family YMCA underwent a full renovation and reopened in June 2008.
•2009 The D.R. Semmes Family YMCA was relocated to its new facility, in a first-ever partnership with Trinity Baptist Church in June 2009.   In August, the Westside Family YMCA completed its renovation of the Childwatch, Kidz Club, Wellness Center, multi-purpose room, locker rooms and restrooms.
•2010 The YMCA assumed responsibility of two full-day Preschools (Labor Street and Stablewood) from Positive Beginnings, Inc. The new Schertz Family YMCA opened in March, in a facility built and supported by the city of Schertz. In June, construction began on the Walzem Family YMCA. In July, we provided full-day child care and afterschool programs at Haven for Hope - a private non-profit aimed at transforming the lives of homeless men, women and children in the San Antonio/Bexar County area.
•2011 What an exciting year 2011 was for our Y! We accomplished activities in line with our Vision 2015 strategic plan. Highlights include:
  • The opening and success of our Walzem Family YMCA
  • Transforming our Southcross location into a Y Living Center, to address the biggest threats to our health: obesity, diabetes and cancer, through medically based wellness programs
  • On-boarding our tenth full facility in Thousand Oaks, just in time for the new year
  • Camp Flaming Arrow enjoyed its best summer to date, with enrollment over 1000
•2012 In January, we unveiled a new brand to increase understanding of our impact in the communities we serve. The new brand strategy and framework helps us better communicate our mission, our cause and the positive impact of the Y in our communities. We also adopted a new logo that better reflects the vibrancy of the Y and the diversity of the communities it serves. The brand is much more than just a logo change. We want to be known as a powerful association of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to strengthening the foundations of our communities.
 •2013 The Y’s partnership with City of San Antonio has continued this year on several important programs:
  •  Síclovía occurs twice a year and is a free outdoor event which encourages healthy living and physical activity in our community. This event regularly attracts over 65,000 attendees who ran, walked, biked and played on several miles of car-free streets.
  •  The Y provides health and wellness services to twelve City Senior Centers in our area.
  •  The Y and the City of San Antonio partner to provide afterschool programs and summer day camps to school-aged children in five San Antonio Independent School District schools and at Haven for Hope.
  •  The Y and the City of San Antonio partner to provide early education to children at two of the Y’s Early Learning Centers.
  •  A partnership with the City of San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health District was established to create the free YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program to help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

We continued to expand our offerings across the Greater San Antonio area, and this summer we brought summer day camp to several new locations; Outdoor Adventure Day Camp to employees of Port San Antonio, a collaboration with Monarch Academy to offer a new summer day camp for children with special needs, and summer day camp opportunities to the communities of Pearsall and Pleasanton. In addition, below are some of the exciting opportunities coming down the pipeline that will expand the Ys reach:

  •  Boerne Expansion- Working with City to confirm site. Capital campaign planning is under way.
  •  New Braunfels Expansion- Working with City to become the operator of the new City location.
  • Protranco Family YMCA- Close on building in October- This location is part of the Vision 2015 campaign.
  • Pearsall- Program services continue- working with leadership on funding options for a Y facility.
  •  LaVernia/Floresville- Steering committee created to explore partnership and funding opportunities.
  •  Planning process to begin for Vision 2020.
  • The Braundera Family YMCA has changed it's name to the YMCA at O.P. Schnabel Park. O.P. Schnabel Park has been a popular destination for recreation in the Northwest community since the 1980's. Due to the history, having the name match this well-known park, we feel the community will have an easier time locating the Y. We want the community to have knowledge of the resources available to them through their local Y.

  • The Mays Family YMCA located on Blanco Rd has also proudly changed it's name to Mays Family YMCA at Stone Oak. The Mays Family Foundation is a committed supporter of the YMCA of Greater San Antonio and recognizes the importance of family and education. The foundation is supporting the YMCA of Greater San Antonio with an additional gift to construct a new YMCA at Hwy 151 and Potranco Rd. The new name, Mays Family YMCA at Stone Oak, will continue to show or gratitude to the Mays family as well as give reference to the branch's service area.

  • On November 2, we held a wall breaking ceremony with the San Antonio Public Library to begin construction on a new, joint location. We will sharing over 58,000 square feet of space that is expected to be completed in September 2016. Amenities include, 3 group exercise classrooms, a family adventure zone, teaching kitchen, an indoor swimming pool, a gymnasium, cardio area and two outdoor, multi-functional fields.
  • Wrapped up vision 2015 
    Youth & Families
    Strengthen and engage for life

    Health & Well-being
    Balanced Spirit, Mind & Body

    Member Engagement 

    Create a member-centric culture

    Expanding the Y's Reach

    Establish a Y presence in all communities

    Staff Development
    Become the Employer of Choice by 2015

    Enhancing Mission Awareness
    Reinforce the Y as a cause-driven, mission-based organization

 Mays Family YMCA at Potranco opens

We hope you join us as we continue to evolve and grow into 2016. We can accomplish amazing feats only with community support. Thank you!





































YMCA Mission

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

Partner Agency: