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Friday, 14 June 2019
The Y turns 175! - Message from Michele

Message from Michele

Could you imagine being 175 years old? What an amazing feat for the YMCA to achieve and imagine the impact the Y has had across the globe supporting their communities over those 175 years. I joined the Y for the work that we do and personally being held accountable for making a ’profit for purpose’ which makes me jump out of bed every day.


“The YMCA was founded by George Williams and some friends. George Williams was a London draper, who was typical of the young men drawn to the cities by the Industrial Revolution. The men were concerned about the lack of healthy activities for young men in major cities; the options available were usually taverns and brothels. Williams's idea grew out of meetings he held for prayer and Bible-reading among his fellow-workers in a business in the city of London, and on 6 June 1844, he founded the first YMCA in London with the purpose of the improving of the spiritual condition of young men engaged in the drapery, embroidery, and other trades.By 1851, there were YMCAs in the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States.”


Some things have changed since 175 years ago, but I am of the firm belief that George would have started the Y even if he was born now. The Y is needed now more than ever, we need to continue our work with supporting young people to become the best they can be and we can do this by running our commercial enterprises in such a way that the profits can be used to support the incredible programmes we run for young people. The Y has moved away from being gender basedin Australia and is now inclusive and diverse in all of its forms. I am incredibly proud to be part of this great movement.

In August, we are so blessed to be able to send five young inspired staff to the 175 Celebration in London and I was lucky enough to pop in to their first kick off planning meeting last week to hear how they are going to take us all on the journey with them. Watch this space, but I know Steph, Andrew, John, Jono and Phoebe are going to make us all proud representing YMCA Whittlesea in London.

Happy Birthday Y!


Michele Rowse
Chief Experience Officer