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Shasta YMCA Activities
For Youth Development.  For Healthy Living.  For Social Responsibility.

THE SHASTA FAMILY YMCA: chartered in 1946.
#HereForGood.

A group of dedicated community members who believed in the importance of offering opportunities for youth and families in our community brought the spirit and philosophy of the YMCA to Shasta County more than 80 years ago. Starting in 1930, the Mountain District YMCA, based out of Sacramento, organized high school boys and girls into club groups with the help of a traveling secretary. In 1945, the year Shasta Dam was completed; W.D. Simmons led a Redding YMCA Committee working to bring the YMCA permanently to the area. Thanks to the committee’s work, the Shasta District YMCA was chartered July 17, 1946.

Since that time, the Y has been a product of its community – supported and led by locals who believed in its mission and values, hanging on through good times and hard, and ultimately growing strong and vibrant as the north state itself developed and Redding grew into a city of nearly 100,00 people.

By utilizing schools, churches and homes, programs and membership grew. With an active board that met at the Redding Hotel under the direction of Dr. Melvin L. Gumm, the YMCA was re-chartered as the Shasta County YMCA on March 8, 1952. Willard Eaton was selected as the YMCA’s first Executive Director, serving until 1958, when Dorothy Eaton stepped in as Executive Director for one year. Dorothy had founded Camp McCumber, a week-long residence camp for youth, in 1953. It is still one of the Y’s more popular programs, and serves as a lasting reminder of her many contributions to the organization.

From 1973 to 1998, the YMCA began to widen its program outreach into areas outside Redding, trying to meet the needs of a growing metropolitan area. Having had several small offices at various locations over the years, it was now apparent that the YMCA could be more effective in a permanent location. With this in mind, the board organized the first phase of a capital development program with a goal of raising $900,000. Between 1979 and 1980, the board raised $925,000 and started to look at a location to serve as the Y’s home. In 1984, the Y purchased the Diamond International building and property for $502,000. This included four acres of land plus 19,000 square feet of building. In December 1984, the YMCA moved into the heart of Redding at this new home, located at 1155 N. Court St. Led by Dr. Gilbert Collyer, Shasta College president, a group of 25 men, who called themselves "The Y’s Men", raised the necessary money and spent countless hours swinging hammers to transform the lumberyard.

The Y continued to expand and serve more people, and the need for more space was evident. In 1986, a capital campaign was organized to complete a double gymnasium, health fitness complex, and staff offices. In the late 1980s, the Y started running after-school programming, and eventually moved those programs out of the Y facility and into the schools. At one point, the Y operated 11 sites, including a preschool, at five different school districts, serving approximately 700 children per week. Today, the Y serves more than 400 children at five different sites within four school districts and provides day camps during all school breaks.

In June 1996, community donations paid for an outdoor heated pool, and in 1997 a pool locker and shower facility was completed. On Feb. 17, 1998, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the expansion of the west side of the facility. This added approximately 2,500 square feet, including a new wood aerobics floor, a mezzanine for more cardiovascular equipment, and additional Cybex equipment. A soccer field, playground and running course were completed in spring of 1999.

In 2002, the Y received a $1 million grant from the California Department of Juvenile Justice to add a Youth Conference center, recreation gym and stage. During construction, a new lobby, Childwatch room, front desk area, bathrooms and weight area were also built. In December 2004, the members were able to enjoy the new additions to the Court Street facility.

In 2005, the Shasta Family YMCA made a commitment to Y-USA’s national Activate America Movement, extending its charitable heritage by directly engaging children and adults from all segments of the local communities in achieving health of spirit, mind and body by 2012. In an effort to address the national obesity crisis at a local level, the Y committed to serving as a founding partner of Healthy Shasta, a local community partnership working to make the healthy choice the easy choice for all.

The membership of the Shasta Family YMCA has grown from 800 when it opened its doors at the 1155 N. Court St. location in December 1984, to more than 8,000 today. It has touched thousands of lives through its team sports, swimming instruction, fitness programs, after-school programs and camps. It has supported a variety of local organizations, opening its doors to their program participants and clients, including the Special Olympics, One Safe Place and the Good News Rescue Mission, as well as elementary schools, junior highs and high schools.

Many men and women of great foresight, imagination and dedication have led the Shasta Family YMCA. Today, the Y's membership is on an upward trend over last year, daily usage by members is strong, and thanks to the community’s generosity, the Y is meeting the rising requests for financial assistance in child care, membership, programs and camp. Guided by a new Strategic Plan developed by the Board of Directors and staff, the Y is committed to an aggressive pathway to growth and improved quality. Because of the people who have built and supported the Y for nearly 65 years it is able, more vigorously than ever, to focus on developing the potential of kids, improving individual health and well-being, and giving back and supporting our neighbors.

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