6 Jun: It’s Fun To Found The YMCA

George Williams, 22, created the Young Men’s Christian Association to provide somewhere for London’s young men to escape the vices and stress of rapid urbanization (translation: get yourself clean, hang out with all the boys). The group’s first meeting was above a draper’s shop in St Paul’s on 6th June, 1844.

The mission aligned perfectly with the burgeoning movement for ‘muscular Christianity’, and before long, multiple groups were sprouting all over Europe, and then the United States – where YMCA affiliates invented body-building, volleyball and basketball. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the YMCA then became associated with cruising; reveal how the Village People got together; and consider what George Williams had in common with Milton S. Hershey… 

Further Reading:

• ‘15 Things You Might Not Know About the YMCA’ (Mental Floss, 2018): https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/57095/facts-about-the-ymca

• ‘#DidYaKnow? For 50+ Years the YMCA & Most Schools REQUIRED Males to Swim Naked!?’ (World of Wonder, 2021): https://worldofwonder.net/didyaknow-for-50-years-the-ymca-most-schools-required-males-to-swim-naked/

• ‘Village People – YMCA’ (1978):

#Victorian #London #LGB #Christian

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