Father's Day and YMCA History

June 13, 2019

Your experience with the Y is based on what you and your family enjoy today. But you might be surprised at the long history and the important role the Y as played in program innovation. In 1891 a young YMCA physical director, James Naismith, introduced to a class of students at Springfield College a new game they could play indoors with a round leather ball and two peach baskets that we now recognize as basketball. Four years later a similar story was told in a YMCA gym in Holyoke, Massachusetts when a YMCA director named William Morgan first shared his new game with Y members and he named it volleyball.

Another example of the YMCA is at the forefront of families in America is celebrated in June every year and has been since 1910. In 1909 a sixteen-year-old girl named Sonora Smart Dodd was sitting in church listening to a sermon about Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, her mom had died giving birth to the youngest of her five brothers and she realized how much she missed her mom but how fortunate the entire family was for the love and dedication of their father, who was a Civil War veteran.

This love and respect for her dad motivated her to work closely with the Spokane YMCA and the local ministerial alliance to celebrate all dads in the community. For the first time in June of 1910, the first Father’s Day celebration was held. Finally, in 1972 President Nixon recognized Father’s Day as an official holiday. And it all started at the Y…