In 1844, George Williams, along with about a dozen of his friends, founded the first Young Men’s Christian Association in London, England. They saw a need for young men to find God.  The Y was and has always been non-sectarian: it accepts people of all faiths.

The first YMCA in the US started in 1851 in Boston, Massachusetts. Today, we are the largest not-for-profit community service organization in America. Each Y is a charitable not-for-profit, qualifying under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Tax Code. Although each Y is recognized as a Member Association of the Young Men’s Christian Association of the United States, each is independent.

In August of 1965, a group of students from Coffee High School expressed their desire for a YMCA in Florence. Their desire resulted in the first home of the Shoals YMCA on Tuscaloosa Street. The YMCA of the Shoals was recognized as a Member Association of the YMCA of the USA in October 1966. In April of 1979, the E. Stanley Robbins Branch of the YMCA located on Helton Drive in Florence, opened.

The Y aims to build strong kids through developing character, inspiring hope and building self-esteem. The Y provides positive adult role models and peer relationships in order to help young people make life decisions. The Y helps to build strong families by providing programs and experiences that nurture the bonds of love and trust. Strong Communities are built through the Y’s effort to strengthen and support schools by bringing all people together.