YMCA of Central Florida Timeline
Throughout our history, a variety of opportunities and challenges alike have arisen and led to our organization’s constant evolution. Over the years, our association has changed dramatically to meet community needs like combatting the lifestyle health and obesity crisis, the constant depletion of family time, and more. While future challenges will change, our unwavering willingness to support our communities will always be at the core of the Y.
For a more in-depth look at the history of the YMCA of Central Florida starting in the 1800s through the early 2000s, read The Courage of a Community on our website now!
Wayne Densch YMCA debuts its newly renovated Family Center in Pine Hills. The renovation was made possible by Wayne M. Densch Charities, who donated over $500,000.
The YMCA of Central Florida showcased its $1M renovation of the J. Douglas Williams YMCA Family Center. The donation allowed the family center to make significant improvements to the facility, parking lot, front entrance, pool areas, group exercise room, and gymnasium.
The YMCA of Central Florida was selected to host the UANA Pan American Masters Championship at the YMCA Aquatic Center on International Drive. The event will attract approximately 2,500 athletes from 43 Swimming Federations in North, South and Central America, and the Caribbean. The event is anticipated to be the largest Masters event, aside from the World Championship, ever held in North America.
Dr. Phillips Charities gifts $8.9M to build a new YMCA in the Packing District.
YMCA Aquatic Center renamed Rosen Aquatic Center.
YMCA Teen Achievers program receives a $75K grant through Orlando Magic Youth Fund. This gift supports college and career readiness among at-risk teens.
The YMCA of Central Florida continuous its mission to improve the lives of all in Central Florida by launching HealthierLifeRX to combat chronic disease.
The YMCA of Central Florida launches a three-year pilot program to combat preventable chronic illnesses in lower-income workers with evidence-based programs and services through a $700K grant from Kresge Foundation.
Dr. P. Phillips Y will open as the model Y of the future with wellness and healthy living support for every resident of every age and ability. Diabetes prevention programs, diet, and nutrition education, cancer survivor programs, and prescriptive rehabilitation programming at our Ys will lead our communities in prevention support.
The Marion County Y is renamed the Frank DeLuca Y and breaks ground on a $5.5 million expansion and renovation made possible by community-wide contributions. The Dr. Phillips Y breaks ground on a $9 million expansion made possible by the gracious support of the Dr. Phillips Charities, Both expansions include comprehensive wellness centers and medically-based support in partnership with Munroe Regional Medical Center and Orlando Health.
Winter Park Y adds a easy access, family-fun pool for more aquatics for all ages and abilities. With a $500,000 gift from the Warden Family, the South Orlando Y added a new Links2Learning Golf Center. Two Y pilot summer camp programs, funded by JP Morgan Chase and BELL/YUSA, deliver unprecedented reading and math gains for elementary and middle school kids.
Osceola County YMCA’s $2,000,000 renovation is completed. Marion County YMCA kicks off a $4,000,000 Capital Campaign led by Bill Browder, Steve Wingo, and Frank DeLuca. New Camp Fire Circle at Lake Wewa. New Tower on Downtown Orlando. YMCA Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Meet at renovated Aquatic Center Links 2 Learning Golf Center at Tangelo Park. First Lady Michelle Obama visits kids at the Blanchard Park YMCA. Additional Links 2 Learning Golf Centers in planning for Wayne Densch and South Orlando YMCAs. Operation Christmas Child box collection held with a goal of 40,000 boxes to be sent to children in third world countries.
Winter Park YMCA completes construction of men’s and women’s locker rooms, gathering areas, cardio cycling room and parking. YMCA Aquatic Center completes major renovation to create a new look for the 30-year-old center. Links 2 Learning Golf Center opens at Tangelo Park YMCA to teach kids values, reading, and homework.
Camp Wewa – New Pavilion and Camp Fire Circle completed. Scholarship campaign tops $2,000,000 for the first time.
Roper YMCA expansion and renovation included an expanded wellness floor, new aerobics area, new child development complex, and expanded parking. Dr. P. Phillips YMCA new wellness center, spin room, expanded child development area, expanded women’s and men’s locker rooms, expanded parking, concession stand, and additional restrooms for the soccer and Little League fields. Downtown Orlando YMCA completes construction on new Fitness Tower with wellness and group exercise President George W. Bush visits the Lake Nona YMCA studio and more parking. YMCA Aquatic Center – Renovation of warm water Teaching Pool. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visits Lake Nona YMCA on his “Listen and Learn Tour.”
Center for Health and Wellness YMCA Family Center (Oviedo YMCA) completed a $1.1 million expansion that included an exercise studio, a new community, and a teen center, a youth room with mini-basketball court, enlarged cardio and wellness center, and a new lobby and gathering space for members. Dr. P. Phillips YMCA begins a $2 million renovation gathering area, new aerobics rooms, and a new youth locker room. Wayne Densch YMCA completes a $2.7 million expansion to include a renovated gymnasium, an expanded wellness area, new locker rooms, increased parking, and a new zero-entry swimming pool. A brand-new Avalon Park YMCA Family Center, the first “Y-Express,” opens at Avalon Park’s Town Center in East Orlando with state-of-the-art cardio & strength training equipment, child development center, group exercise classes and men’s and women’s locker rooms. Golden Triangle YMCA completes $1.4 million construction project to retrofit space previously occupied by Florida Hospital rehabilitation center with more wellness space and locker rooms. The Central Florida YMCA rolled out the New Frontier $100 Million Capital Campaign – $50 million for existing YMCA Family Centers and $50 Million for the YMCA/School Initiative.
Central Florida YMCA is one of the fastest-growing YMCAs in North America, growing to the 9th largest association by increasing revenue and membership through innovative programs and services. South Orlando YMCA undergoes a $5 million renovation that included a wellness area, Teen Center, locker rooms, child development center, and pocket park, with a Capital Campaign led by Clarence Otis and Chas Bailes. Through a partnership with Orange County, the Tangelo Park YMCA Pocket Park opened with a playground, outdoor basketball courts, picnic pavilions, and tee-golf/green space.
President George W. Bush chose to visit the Lake Nona YMCA to discuss strengthening Social Security with the community. He praised the YMCA and the North Lake Park School for its wisdom and foresight to create an education center – a proven success that has parents, teachers, kids, and an entire community sharing resources and working together toward building strong spirits, minds, and bodies. Seminole YMCA is renamed the J. Douglas Williams YMCA, in memory of the son of Leonard and Marjorie Williams of Wayne Densch Charities. Second Central Florida YMCA Family Center at the Walt Disney World Resort child care center opened. Renovation begins on Wayne Densch YMCA for new zero-entry Teaching Pool, the only one in this community. The Central Florida YMCA now impacts over 200,000 people annually.
Cocoa YMCA Family Center at Brevard Community College opens after $1 million planned expansion and renovation to include a swimming pool, wellness center, and gymnasium, locker rooms, aerobic exercise room, and multi-purpose room. Rockledge YMCA closes and is incorporated into Cocoa Y. Central Florida YMCA invested $20 million in capital projects to include Camp Wewa, $600,000 renovations; Roper YMCA, $4.5 million; Cocoa YMCA, $1 million construction project; Downtown Orlando YMCA, $600,000 locker room renovation; Suntree YMCA, $300,000 renovation; Seminole YMCA, $2.1 million expansion and renovation; Crosby YMCA Family Center completes renovation to include new cardio and exercise equipment, wellness center expansion, new family locker rooms, lobby area, and personal training space. Central Florida YMCA and the Walt Disney World Resort opened the first of two innovative child care centers for its cast members on Disney property.
Osceola County YMCA Family Center opened its newly renovated wellness center, child development center, and gymnasium with $12.9 million raised in a Capital Campaign led by Mary Jane Arrington and Ken Shipley. Seminole YMCA Family Center’s groundbreaking on January 30. $2 million in renovations and expansions planned to include expanded wellness area, free weights and studio cycling areas, new child development center, teen center, and group exercise/multipurpose room. Roper YMCA opens with renovation and expansion. Camp Wewa undergoes a million dollar renovation to include air-conditioned cabins and bathhouse renovation. YMCA of Central Florida is named the primary beneficiary of Dr. Phillips Charities, which has resulted in over $30 million of capital impact for the YMCA in 10 years. Elementary Afterschool program starts which impacts over 5,500 kids daily.
Titusville YMCA Family Center completed $2.9 million expansion and renovation with a new zero-entry pool. Suntree and Rockledge YMCAs open in partnership with Wuesthoff Hospital. West Orange YMCA Family Center is renamed the Roper YMCA Family Center in honor of Bert and Barbara Roper, longtime supporters of the YMCA.
Dr. P. Phillips Charities, Central Florida YMCA, and Infant Swimming Resource partnered to author the Safe Start program – an infant water safety and swim survival program.
Blanchard Park YMCA opens. Dr. P. Phillips YMCA built the R.A. “Bob” Simon Teen Center designed by a group of teen members to provide them with a safe place to go after school, and grow underneath the YMCA character values – Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, and Faith. Renovations were made to the Seminole YMCA Family Center including Spinning classes, a resurfaced gym, saunas in the locker rooms, a playground, and a Smoothie King. Central Florida YMCA and the Titusville YMCA (formerly the Brevard County YMCA) merged.
The Association introduced a new YMCA Achievers Program, called Developing Hispanic Leaders (DHL), a youth mentoring and enrichment program. In the program, adults coach teens to be successful in life, work, college, and careers. The program’s aim was to reduce the high drop-out rate among Latino male students.
Scholarship Campaign tops $1,000,000 for the first time. Completion of expansions and renovations completed at Tangelo Park, Winter Park, Wayne Densch, and Aquatic Center. New Lake Nona YMCA opens in partnership with Tavistock Development, Orange County Public Schools, City of Orlando, Orlando Regional Hospital Systems, and the YMCA as the first YMCA and an Elementary School in the same 130,000 sq. ft. building. AfterSchool Zone started with Orange County Government, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, and the YMCA, impacting over 3,500 students daily, improving grades, school attendance, and reducing Juvenile Justice issues. YMCA partners with the City of Orlando and the Southwest Jaycees to host and sponsor the annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Breakfast in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. The event brings together over 1,000 community leaders. In a unique partnership with the Winter Park Health Foundation, the YMCA began operations of both the Peggy & Philip Crosby Wellness Center and the Center for Health & wellness in Oviedo.
Developing Hispanic Achievers started with the help of Orange County, Heart of Florida United Way, and PepsiCo.
Renaissance Capital Campaign kicks off with a goal of $3,400,000, led by Dan Mahurin and Chas Bailes. When finished in 2000 the total raised was $10,200,000, which impacted the existing Family Centers of Tangelo Park, Wayne Densch, Dr. Phillips, Winter Park, Camp Wewa, and Aquatic Center, as well as two new Family Centers, Blanchard Park and Lake Nona.
Marion County opens a new 38,000 sq. ft. Family Center, due to a Capital Campaign led by Randy Briggs and former Lieutenant Governor Jim Williams, by investing $4,190,000 in Ocala. Barbara Roper. first female Chair of the YMCA of the USA Harris Rosen at Aquatic Center in 1992 Jim Ferber becomes President and CEO in 1993 YMCA Achievers College Tour. Downtown underwent a complete facility transformation, creating a new membership excitement in Orlando. Florida Hospital partnered with the Aquatic Center to add a Wellness Center of $600,000 to augment the pools.
Long Range Plan calls for the Affirmation of the Christian Values in the YMCA; Commitment to Outreach and Mission; Shifts the focus from programs to memberships for Families; Creates the Home Mission Fund; Changes the names of the centers from branches to Family Centers.
Jim Ferber becomes the new President and CEO for the Association.
Pine Hills YMCA purchased the Robinswood Civic Center for $306,000. YMCA takes over the Justus Aquatic Center, an Olympic completion swim and diving venue, led by Harris Rosen and Lucky Meisenheimer.
Black Achievers started, working with African American teens. Barbara Roper serves as the first female Chairman of the YMCA USA Board.
Golden Triangle YMCA raised $1.2M, led by John Jackson, Derryl Benton, Bob Hester and C.V. Griffin, then built a full facility with a pool, gymnasium, multipurpose rooms, and wellness areas.
Seminole Country YMCA officially became a branch and raised $660,000 to construct its own building. The South Lake County YMCA extension program in Clermont also became an official branch, with Mary Jamison as its executive director.
Winter Park YMCA acquired a six-acre property in town from the Eastbrook Pool Association for $38,000. The property came with a 25-by-25 meter outdoor pool, diving boards, a bathhouse, athletic fields, two tennis courts, and a multipurpose clubhouse of 1,500 square feet.
Dr. P. Phillips YMCA is opened with a pool, fields, locker rooms and multipurpose space after a $570,000 Capital Campaign led by Evans Hubbard, Charlie McLandon and Jim Hinson.
Tangelo Park YMCA operates from a newly built community center. Jerry Haralson is appointed the new CEO.
Golden Triangle YMCA opens, serving the communities of Eustis, Mt. Dora, and Tavares. The operations were out of a converted church.
Bill Phillips is appointed as President and CEO.
Osceola County YMCA opened in Kissimmee with a Capital Campaign of $476,000 after years of using the property of others such as Tupperware.
The Orange County Association becomes the YMCA of Central Florida Association.
Max Cooke becomes CEO of the Orange County YMCA Association.
The Association assumes management of West Volusia YMCA in DeLand.
YMCA integrates youth sports under the leadership of Rufus Brooks, who also became the first African American Board member in 1971.
Downtown YMCA is opened, and the building is named after John Sterchi, who suddenly passed away less than one year after opening.
YMCA breaks ground for the new Central Florida Branch in January.
John Sterchi leads the Capital Campaign for $921,000 to build the Downtown and Winter Park YMCAs with the campaign leadership of Frank Hubbard, Jack Bowen, and Linton Allen. The campaign was actively supported by Tupperware, Martin Company (Lockheed Martin), Orlando Sentinel, Sun Bank (Truist), Florida Gas Transmission Company (Duke Energy), Merrill Lynch, R. Dolph Keene, and 1,000 other donors.
Bev Lewis is hired as the General Secretary by Frank Hubbard, John Sterchi, and Dr. Anderson.
Board President Walter Pharr leads the purchase of the site of the Downtown Orlando YMCA for $225,000. The Capital Campaign was led by Donald Cheney, Dr. Anderson, Oscar Brock, Otis Lundquist, Walter Pharr, and John Sterchi.
After 13 years, Jack Barber moves on and Oscar Brock serves as the General Secretary for 8 years.
Under the board leadership of George Stuart, the YMCA purchased the Lake View hotel on Summerlain Street for $147,000. (This is now the EO Inn by Lake Eola.) Now the YMCA could house 88 men daily.
Camp Wewa, a 60-acre site in Apopka, is purchased from the Boy Scouts for $14,760.
YMCA Hi-Y Club is formed at Jones High School. Gra-Y programs expand to Orlando High School.
YMCA purchases the Osceola Hotel, which could house up to 46 men, and be used for YMCA activities, with $100,000 cash.
YMCA hires their first General Secretary, John C. (Jack) Barber. The Central Florida YMCA established.
YMCA was kept alive during the Great Depression by Judge Donald Cheney, a Juvenile Court Judge, and John Franklin Schumann, editor of the Orlando Evening Star, and is now revitalized.
The economy fails and the YMCA project does not happen. YMCA stays alive due to leadership of Newton Yowell, Judge T.P. Warlow, and Captain Benjamin Robinson.
Community raises $804,700 to build YMCA in Orlando, led by Oliver Swope, C.A. Roberts, H.W. Barr, William Edwards and Harry Dickson. “This was the largest sum Ever Raised in a City of this size in the U.S.” at the time.
YMCA Hi-Y Club is formed at Orlando High School.
YMCA is organized at Rollins College in Winter Park.
YMCA reorganized by Eldon Gore, Harry Lue, and Frank Curtis.
Orlando YMCA formed by Frank Curtis, Ingram Fletcher, William O’Neal, James Giles, and Sidney Ives “to help booster young men to improve or develop into a higher type of citizen.”