The Y


At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. We believe that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together to invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors in 10,000 communities to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. That’s why; we focus our work in three areas:

Youth Development: Nurturing the potential of every child and teen.

Healthy Living: Improving the nation’s health and well-being

Social Responsibility: Giving back and providing support to our neighbors.


The Y is, and always will be, dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families and communities. Every day our impact is felt when and individual makes a healthy choice, when a mentor inspires a child and when a community comes together for the common good.


The primary purpose of the YMCA of Greater Bergen County is to help people of all ages, male and female, develop a Christian way of life by the maintenance of facilities, activities and services that will contribute to their spiritual, mental, social and physical growth.


Since our founding by George Williams in 1844 as a refuge for young men seeking to escape the hazards of life on the streets in industrialized London, the Y has delivered lasting personal and social change by listening and responding to communities.

The Y developed the first known English as a Second Language program in the United States in response to the influx of immigrants in the 1850s. Y's pioneered basketball, volleyball and group swim lessons around the turn of the 20th century, giving a recently industrialized nation new, safe physical activities that could be enjoyed indoors and outside. During World War II the Y partnered with other national organizations to found the United Service Organizations for National Defense, today know as the USO. When the number of working parents exploded in the 1980s, Ys responded by greatly expanding child care programming. More recently, the Y has been a leader in addressing the country’s lifestyle health and chronic disease crisis.

This is the Y’s legacy. Our challenge is to build on this legacy while helping children, families and communities address the complexities of daily life. This work never has been more difficult. Our nation faces unprecedented challenges, and we must respond by maximizing our collective ability to launch innovative, broad-scale solutions, the Ys impact must be greater today than ever before.


Established in 1896, the YMCA did not receive a permanent home until the Anderson family property became the first home around 1915. In 1926 a capital campaign resulted in the building still in use today at 360 Main Street in Hackensack.

Built as the “Y for All,” the facility would be the site for programs for men, women, boys and girls. Over the years, responding to community needs, the Y has been home to a variety of programs and activities including a cafeteria, bowling alley, archery and rifle ranges, a stage with an active theater group, and dinners and dances for young adults.

In 1930, in Harriman State Park, the Y began a summer camping program for boys. There are now camping programs for boys and girls.

At the Main Street building a pool, wellness center, gym and program rooms provide children, adults, families and the community with opportunities for healthy living.

The Preschool Child Care and Youth After School programs have become an important part of the YMCA.

Today, the Y continues to serve a growing and diverse community. The Y is a leader in values education, emphasizing the core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.