The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Mattoon goes back much farther than most people realize. While the YMCA as an organization was founded in 1844 in London, England and the YMCA in the U.S. was founded in Boston Massachusetts in 1851, Mattoon, Illinois opened its first YMCA in 1879. In 1892 the YMCA in Mattoon became a branch of the YMCA of the U.S.A. Railroad YMCA. In 1913 the YMCA purchased property at 217 N. 16th Street and remodeled the property to include bedrooms, meeting rooms, lounge and outdoor tennis court. The YMCA operated at the location until 1932 at which time it closed.
In 1982 the YMCA returned to Mattoon, opening a store-front facility, gaining its National Charter from the YMCA of the USA and began running programs and courses in area gyms and churches. In 1984 the Mattoon YMCA became a United Way Agency.
Operating as a store-front facility in the early to mid 80’s the YMCA began a feasibility study to see if Mattoon could support a full facility YMCA. In 1988 the Mattoon Area Family YMCA opened its doors at 221 N. 16th Street in a renovated building featuring a new six lane, 25 yard pool, gymnasium with two basketball courts and walking track, a fitness center and aerobic room.
Programs now included: youth sports, swim lessons, a competitive youth swim team, water exercise, fitness, day camp and adult sports. In its first year of operation the YMCA attracted 55,000 visitors. In the 90’s the YMCA continued to expand youth programming by adding Pee Wee Basketball and School Age Child Care. Facility improvements within the walls of the YMCA was a focus in the new millennium beginning with a renovation of the YMCA Fitness Center in 2000, renovation of the YMCA multi-purpose room, and finally a pool renovation project in 2003.
In December 2010 we held a groundbreaking for the construction of the YMCA as it is today.
In December 2011 we celebrated with a finished 63,000 square foot facility which included a renovation and a 35,000 square foot addition. Currently we have a 2 gyms for sports and open play, 3 fitness studios including one for cycling classes. A wellness center 4.5 times larger than previous. Over 60 pieces of cardio equipment and 30 + strength machines. New fitness classes are continuously added to meet the members’ desire to achieve health and our Youth programs to continue to grow including the collaboration with Girls on the Run and the addition of STRIDE.
As we begin 2015 we have recently enlarged our stretching area in the Wellness Center and are excited for the addition of two rooms on the west side of our facility. This addition will be complete Spring 2015 and will include a new fitness studio and a second room housing a small selection of cardio and strength equipment. This space will offer our Y personal trainers additional space for training as well as other uses. This addition will also allow our current Fitness Studio 2 to be remodeled into a Youth Development Room.
Through the years the Mattoon Area Family YMCA has continued to meet the needs of the community through facility improvement, continued training of staff and programs relevant to the community. We are here to serve our community in the areas of Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.