About Us


To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.



Our goal is to help children and adults live longer, better and healthier lives by providing programs, services and activities to help combat obesity, inactivity and chronic disease, with a participation reaching 25% of the St. Joseph population.


The St. Joseph Family YMCA has begun its 138th year of service as one of the largest human care organizations in the St. Joseph area. The growth of the area and the YMCA have gone hand in hand.

The St. Joseph Family YMCA was organized and incorporated 1882. The first YMCA building was built in 1887 at 7th and Felix Streets at a cost of $60,000. After 25 years in this location, another YMCA was built for a cost of $200,000 at 10th and Faraon Streets. This "Y" was recognized as one of the finest YMCAs of its time in the West. This YMCA also had its own business school and law school. In 1924, N. S. Hillyard gave 22 acres of land near Garrettsburg, Missouri to the YMCA for a permanent campsite for youth. After two capital campaigns in 1978, the building we are presently in was opened in December. Y's Kids World began at Missouri Western State College (now University) in 1989, with 69 children enrolled for the Fall Semester. Y's Kids World earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children in 2004 - the nation's leading organization of early childhood professionals. The YMCA purchased the Explorers Early Learning Center at 2302 Angelique Street. Both of our centers are now accredited and have received high QRS ratings.

In 2006 the Y began a Revitalization Project Campaign with a goal of $326,000 to improve the health and fitness of all individuals in our community. The new "Lifestyles Wellness Center" opened in October, 2006. This was a result of our Revitalization Project Campaign.

In 2009 the YMCA Board approved the YMCA to begin the capital campaign process. The non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the County, City and the YMCA was approved in September 2010 by the St. Joseph City Council. The lease agreement with the County was signed December 2010 and the "Building Dreams-Growing Lives" Capital Campaign was launched on January 2011.