The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) is the constant in a military family’s life: on the home front and during deployment, when transitioning between bases, and in times of conflict and peace.
The ASYMCA is an association of the YMCA, specifically dedicated to serving junior-enlisted military service members and their families of all five armed services: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
The oldest military support organization in the U.S., the ASYMCA has been “Strengthening Our Military Family®” since 1861 through its 12 branches and more than 200 program centers, serving 93 military installations nationwide. Our national and locally tailored programs and services for our nation’s troops and their families are offered at no or low cost and require no dues or membership fees.
The Armed Services YMCA enhances the lives of military members and their families in spirit, mind and body through programs relevant to the unique challenges of military life.
• Be guided by Christian principles with a holistic approach to develop and promote healthy spirit, mind and body;
• Be inclusive and treat everyone with compassion and respect;
• Collaborate with military commands and community organizations;
• Honor the service members’ and their families’ commitment to defend our Nation; and
• Strive for excellence in all we do.
Priority shall be given to providing needed programs and services for junior enlisted personnel, both single and married, and their family members. The focus of work shall be in three areas - youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Services may be provided to military personnel other than junior enlisted where resources are available. Programs and services shall be designed to complement and supplement those provided by the Armed Forces, either on or off military installations as appropriate.
What started as a call to comfort the wounded during the Civil War has grown to “Strengthening Our Military Families®” every single day.
The proud heritage of the Armed Services YMCA begins in 1861 during the Civil War when dedicated YMCA volunteers provided relief and comfort to sick and wounded soldiers. Initially the volunteers provided aide at military encampments located near the front lines, but shortly after, they braved the danger accompanying the solders on the battlefields.
News of these selfless and courageous actions spread quickly and the number of volunteers increased dramatically. Within months, the movement turned into the first large-scale civilian volunteer service corps and formed as the United States Christian Commission, whose purpose was to provide spiritual and physical comfort to soldiers.