The Santa Monica Family YMCA was first incorporated on April 19, 1901. The Santa Monica Family YMCA had its second start at a meeting held June 13, 1927 in the cafeteria of Santa Monica High School. Under the leadership of Dr. C. H. Lewis, our first president, the Y embarked upon a mission to establish a place where local residents could share “friendship and faith.”
Through the Great Depression and other financially troubled times, the Y offered many youth and adult activities including high school clubs, basketball leagues, and Indian Guide programs. Our first “real” home was at Third and California. In 1946, the Sixth Street property was purchased for our expanding needs. Thanks to a successful capital campaign, the YMCA in partnership with the YWCA opened the doors to its new facility on January 15, 1950.
The Y continued to grow with additional purchases and the development of Camp Big Bear. Other notable events were the founding of the Y”s Men”s Breakfast and Evening Clubs, our separation from the YWCA, and the official incorporation of the word “Family” into our name.
In 1983, the Y opened the Ralph W. Kiewit Fitness Center, the first part of a three-phase plan to enlarge existing facilities. Included in the Kiewit Center were a new fitness area with Nautilus equipment, a multi-purpose room for fitness and aerobic classes, and more space for our growing childcare programs.
1989 saw the grand opening of Phase II, which added the lap and teaching pools, two multi-purpose rooms, fitness center, and outdoor walking track.
In 2002, the Phase III Expansion project was completed to include a new gymnasium, racquetball courts, child watch center, computer lab, Teen and Senior Centers, weight room, and new Child Development Center.