Short and Sweet:

Tips for living the abundant life


What in the World is the YMChristianA??

Once a year, Easter is pulled out of the closet with all its bunnies, chocolates, flowers, and crosses. Because Easter has never been as commercialized as Christmas, more of its true meaning has the potential to break through. As Canadians, however, we seem to suffer from nation-wide amnesia regarding much of our heritage and roots. For example, I have spoken to a number of Deep Cove teens who have never once heard that Easter is in any way connected to the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Recently I have noticed that many teens today have no idea what the "C" in YMCA refers to. Powerful movements, especially those touching young people, can usually be traced to one visionary individual who sets the "genetic code" of the future movement. Lord Baden-Powell did that for Scouting. Sir George Williams did that as founder of the Young Men’s Christian Association.

For many Canadians, the name "Sir George Williams" stirs a memory of the former name of Concordia University in Montreal. The very first YMCA in North America was started in Montreal on November 25th, 1851 (two weeks before the American YMCA began in Boston). The YMCA & YWCA in Vancouver have always been part of my family’s heritage. My mother worked as a secretary for the Downtown YWCA in the late 1940’s. I attended the Alma, Cambie, & Downtown YMCA’s, as an active member of the Stamp Club, the Coin Club, the Chess Club, and the Flying Shark junior life-saving team. In the summer, I went as a YMCA camper to Camp Howdy on the Indian Arm, and Camp Elphinstone on the Sunshine Coast, where I ended up working as a handyman and camp counsellor. I even gained first-hand YWCA experience, by doing a Social Work field placement at the inner-city Pender YWCA.

Why in the world did George Williams start the YMCA anyways, and why isn't it just the YMA? Click to find out more...


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North Vancouver, B.C.