George Williams, who founded the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), was born on October 11th, 1821.

While we usually associate the YMCA with recreation centers and summer camps, the original “Y” was a spiritual refuge for the working class in industrialized London.Founded in 1844, the first YMCA held bible classes, prayer meetings, and Christian fellowship programs for young men and their families.

In just seven years, the organization grew from 11 members to 27,000. The YMCA’s history includes fitness feats like the birth of basketball and the first “bodybuilding” classes.

In honor of George William’s big day (he’s turning 190!), take advantage of local places where you can build community relationships while improving your own fitness, health, and happiness!