History of YMCA of Greensboro

The history and mission of the YMCA in Greensboro is dynamic and growth oriented, one rich in development, service and innovation, determined to meet the needs of our community. We stand to build strong kids, strong families, and strong communities.

In 1859, a young attorney named Julius Gorrell in Greensboro, N.C. implemented the first Y programs in the city that focused on enriching the human spirit and mind at Greensboro College. Though this early Y organization disbanded with the onset of the Civil War, it made a strong comeback in 1889. Charles Ireland, E.P. Warton, and photographer Sidney Love Alderman were just a few of its founding fathers in the city.

After meeting for years in the old First National Bank Building in downtown Greensboro, the group spearheaded the organization’s first capital campaign in 1909. They raised a total of $65,000 and the new Y facility located in Greensboro opened its doors on Christmas Day 1911.

In the 1920’s, Cone Mills operated a number of YMCAs for its employees in each of its company towns on the outskirts of Greensboro. The Cone family was also responsible for building the first YMCA for Greensboro’s black citizens. Caesar Cone II donated $50,000 to facilitate the building of a new facility in 1939, and named the building in honor of his butler, Andrew Taylor, and cook, Sallie Hayes. Today, the Hayes-Taylor YMCA is still a cornerstone of our organization’s programming and success.

In 1966, the Greensboro Central YMCA opened on West Market Street; the Bryan Family YMCA eventually replaced the Central Y facility in 2003.

As the Greensboro community expanded in the 1970’s, so did the YMCA. In order to meet the desires of those residents who wanted a place to horseback ride, camp and canoe, the YMCA opened a family retreat center, originally called Camp Tap-A-Wingo. This facility is now known as YMCA Camp Weaver.

In 1980, the YMCA strengthened its partnership with Guilford College, and opened the Guilford College Community YMCA. In 2002, the Spears Family Y opened on Horse Pen Creek road, replacing the facility at Guilford College.

In 1990, the Reidsville Family YMCA joined the YMCA of Greensboro to become the association’s fourth. In 2004, the Stoney Creek Express Y opened, and in 2004, the final association Y, the Ragsdale Family Y, opened in Jamestown.

Through the years, our organization has been established and re-established, while still maintaining its mission of strong Judeo-Christian service to the Greensboro community. Our vision is to offer a warm and friendly environment radiating a feeling of belonging and caring where people of all ages, races, faiths, beliefs, and physical and financial abilities participate in worthwhile programs and meaningful experiences that make a positive difference in their lives.

Our mission is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.