THE SHASTA FAMILY YMCA
In 1930, a group of dedicated community members, who believed in the importance of offering opportunities for youth and families, brought the spirit and philosophy of the YMCA to Shasta County. The Mountain District YMCA, based out of Sacramento, organized club groups for high school boys and girls with the help of a traveling secretary.
In 1945, W.D. Simmons led a Redding area committee with a goal of bringing a YMCA permanently to the area. Thanks to the committee’s work, the Shasta District YMCA was chartered on July 17, 1946.
Under the direction of Dr. Melvin L. Gumm, the Mountain District YMCA's Board, which met at the Redding Hotel, continued to grow programs and membership, by utilizing schools, churches and homes. The Mountain District YMCA was re-chartered as the Shasta County YMCA on March 8, 1952. Willard Eaton was selected as the Shasta County YMCA’s first Executive Director, serving until 1958, when his wife Dorothy Eaton stepped in as Executive Director for one year. In 1953, Dorothy founded Camp McCumber, a week-long residence camp for youth. Camp McCumber is still one of the Shasta Family YMCA's more popular programs, and serves as a lasting reminder of Dorothy's many contributions to the organization.
From 1973 to 1998, the Shasta County YMCA, dba Shasta Family YMCA, began to widen its program outreach into areas outside of central Redding, trying to meet the needs of the growing metropolitan area. Having operated from several small offices at various locations, it was now apparent that the Y could be more effective with a central, permanent location. With this end in mind, the Board organized the first phase of a capital development campaign, with a goal of raising $900,000. Between 1979 and 1980, the Board raised $925,000 and started to look for a location to serve as the Shasta Family YMCA'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 Y moved into its new (and current) home in the heart of Redding at the corner of Eureka Way and Court Street. Led by Dr. Gilbert Collyer, the Shasta College president, a group of 25 men, who called themselves "The Y’s Men", raised the necessary money, and spent countless hours, to transform the lumberyard.
In the late 1980s, the Y started afterschool 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 continues to serve more than 400 children between afterschool care, day camps, youth programs and child watch.
As the Shasta Family YMCA continued to expand and serve more people, 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.
Community donations provided further facility additions. An outdoor heated pool was completed in June of 1996, and an outdoor pool locker and shower facility was completed in 1997. In 1998, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the expansion of the west side of the facility. This expansion added approximately 2,500 square feet to the facility, housing a new wood studio floor, a cardio equipment mezzanine, 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, child watch room, member services area, bathrooms, and weight area were built as well. By the end of 2004, Y members were able to enjoy these new additions.
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 healthy spirit, mind and body by 2012. In an effort to address the national obesity crisis at a local level, the Shasta Family YMCA 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.
Many individuals of great foresight, imagination and dedication have led the Shasta Family YMCA, and continue to do so. The membership of the Shasta Family YMCA has grown from 800 members in December 1984, when it first opened its doors at the Court Street location, to more than 7,000 today. It has touched thousands of lives through its team sports, swimming instruction, fitness programs, afterschool programs, and camps. In addition, the Y has always supported a variety of local organizations by opening its facility to their program participants and clients, such as the the Special Olympics, One Safe Place, the Good News Rescue Mission, and local schools.
Today, the Y's membership is on an upward trend, 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 Strategic Plan, developed by the Board of Directors and Y staff, the Y is committed to an aggressive pathway to growth and improved quality. Because of the people who have built and supported the Shasta Family YMCA for over 75 years, the Y is able, more vigorously than ever, to focus on developing the potential of youth, improving individual health and well-being, and giving back and supporting our neighbors.
Working together for a better us.