The YMCA, or the Young Men's Christian Association was founded in 1844 by George Williams declared that people like him needed a place to meet to discuss fellowship and growth.
The Watertown Family YMCA is the 33rd founded Y in the nation, out of total of 2,700!
The first startings of the Watertown Family YMCA began with a group of men meeting on the evening of December 16, 1869. The need for Watertown's own YMCA was seen by Captain Wilkinson, who was stationed at Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor. His influence upon the rights families opened the door for a room in Washington Hall to be donated by owner John Sherman.
John Sherman left the entirety of Washington Hall to the YMCA at the time of his death.
Washington Hall would eventually be torn down to make space for a new, 6-story YMCA , complete with a lap swimming pool and large gymnasium. This was the start of the Downtown Branch of the Watertown Family YMCA.
Since then, we have added multiple other branches in order to serve and make our amenities increasingly accessible to our communities. In 2004, the Carthage YMCA was opened. 2 years later, the Fairgrounds YMCA opened, and most recently in 2017 the Sackets Harbor YMCA opened.
However, that growth has not stopped. New and exciting additions are underway!