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The Everett YMCA had humble beginnings in 1899, becoming officially chartered in 1901. Today, we service nearly 100,000 people in Snohomish County, strengthening our community through six family branches, an affiliate Big Brothers Big Sisters branch, dozens of child care and Early Childhood Learning sites, and numerous collaboratives with other community organizations and policymakers.

Our history is rich, and our story compelling. Click the links below to review highlights from that period of the YMCA of Snohomish County’s history.

Everett was less than ten years old in 1899, a gritty town known as the “City of Smokestacks” because of its fledgling milling industry. In December of that year, 87 men met at the First Baptist Church and formalized a petition for a YMCA; by May 1, 1901, there were 300 people assembled for the formal opening of the Y in its newly constructed building on the corner of Rockefeller Avenue and California Street.

Immediately, the Y had physical activity classes scheduled six days a week, including one ladies’ class on Tuesday mornings. Educational classes were added the first year, including typing, bookkeeping, shorthand, mechanical drawing, some arts courses, and a Glee Club.

The Y also housed the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams of the newly-opened Everett High School, with the teams apparently representing both the school and the YMCA. In 1903, the boys’ team was the Western Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association champion, and then won the state high school title.

Programs and membership expanded until, by 1918, the Y was holding swimming lessons in Port Gardner Bay, a community Halloween party, hikes and summer camp on Whidbey Island, a gymnastics exhibition with the Everett Theater, and several large Bible classes conducted by local pastors.

When World War I ended in late 1918, the association began to focus its attention on expansion.

Fire destroyed the Everett YMCA on March 30, 1920. While the building was still burning, a movement was initiated among those watching the fire to raise funds for a new building. An “all or nothing” $152,000 campaign was launched, and in four weeks, $183,013 had been committed to build a new YMCA, which resulted in our “20s Building” at the Everett Y.

In 1922, the Y established a boys’ camp at Lake Roesiger and the next year at Lake Goodwin. In 1924 the camp moved to Lake Chaplain and was one of the finest camps in this area. Unfortunately, in 1930 the City of Everett took over the lake for a settling basin and water storage reservoir.

In 1931, the Y officially took over community programs for women and girls when the depression forced the YWCA to discontinue its work here.

The 1940s ushered in an entirely new era for the Everett YMCA. Where the 1930s has been dominated by the Great Depression, the first half of the next decade was the period of wartime America.

At the Everett Y, the commitment to the military services took priority. The auditorium was converted to a dormitory and club rooms became sleeping quarters. Active Navy Mothers and War Mothers groups served Sunday morning breakfasts to members of the military.

This was an especially poignant time for the Hi-Y club. Many members from previous years were in the thick of military battles and some never returned. By the war’s end, 14 Hi-Y alumni had given their lives for their country.

By 1949, the number of youth served by the Y had grown markedly and new programs were developed to support youth. Program expansion during this time also included additional activities for girls and women.

Branch programs were estabished at Baker Heights in Everett and with the Mukilteo School District, initially at the Rosehill building.

The 1950s marked a time the Everett Y finally got on its feet financially.

YMCA programs grew through the years. In 1960, a second gym, second swimming pool (with special effects for teaching disabled individuals), and two additional locker rooms were added at the Everett YMCA.

The Women’s Auxillary experienced a rebirth, Lenten Lunches (which became the Prayer Breakfast) became a well-established community tradition durign the 1960s, and out-of-facility programming such as Day Camp, Resident Camp, and Ski School were established.

Another addition took place in 1980, which added a third gym, a new pool, sports courts, membership service and courtesy counter areas.

In 1988, the Everett YMCA changed its name to the YMCA of Snohomish County. In 1993, the YMCA launched “Partnership ‘93”, the largest capital campaign in the history of Snohomish County, which raised more than $7 million in pledges. The campaign helped fund the construction of the Marysville/North County YMCA; renovation of the Everett YMCA Child Care Center and Adventure Zone; construction of the gym and Child Care Center at the Southeast YMCA; and purchase the land for the Mukilteo YMCA.

The “Expansion ‘98” capital campaign raised more than $3 million to fund the construction of an addition to the Marysville YMCA and the construction of the Mukilteo Family Branch.

In 1999, the Monroe YMCA became an operating branch of the YMCA of Snohomish County, together with the Everett, Marysville/North County, Mukilteo, and Southeast Family Branches.

In 2000, the Teen Services Branch was decentralized and the branches assumed program operations as a result of the successful growth in teen programs. 2001 saw Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County become a branch of our YMCA Association.

In 2010, the Southeast Family Branch was greatly expanded and renamed the Mill Creek Family Branch.

In 2016, the Stanwood-Camano branch opened to serve the communities in northern Snohomish County and Camano Island.

More than 600 people are employed at your Y, doing the same thing we’ve been doing since we opened our doors in 1901: nurturing life lessons in kids, fostering health and well-being among people of any age, bringing people together to pursue passions old and new, and providing mutual support for everyone in our neighborhoods.