History of Great Miami Valley YMCA

The Great Miami Valley YMCA Association includes 6 branches, 1 camp, 4 full time childrens centers, and numerous before and after school childcare centers - and still growing!

Here is a a little about our GMV YMCA Association:

The first YMCA in Hamilton was located on the corner of Third & Dayton Streets in a shared facility, and opened its doors in 1889. In 1913, the same year as the great flood, the foundation was dug for the Hamilton Central YMCA on North Second Street. 100 men raised a then unprecedented, $100,000 to construct the Hamilton Central YMCA.

YMCA Camp Campbell Gard was established in 1926. Located just north of Hamilton along the Great Miami River on land donated to the YMCA by the Gard Family, Campbell Gard YMCA Outdoor Center has developed over the years from a boys’ camp with construction of summer cabins to a year-round facility that serves more than 30,000 youth and families each year. The Camp’s 600 acres offers campers and others, everything from a swimming pool to miles of trails, from horseback riding to teen leadership and adventure programs. The Camp is also open to the external corporate community for team building and leadership building activities on the challenge course and group dynamics programming at the Hughes Center. In 1968, two family branches were established, one on the west side of Hamilton and one in Fairfield.

In 1997, the Hamilton –Fairfield YMCA, reflecting its broader community mandate, officially changed its name to the Great Miami Valley YMCA. In 1999, more than one hundred donors collectively contributed nearly $8 million dollars to build the East Butler County YMCA in Fairfield Township, as well as renovating and expanding the Fitton Family Branch, the Fairfield Family Branch, and the Hamilton Central Branch, enhancing childcare offerings, creating new state of the art fitness centers, warm water therapy pools, and the establishment of Teen Centers, a safe recreational place designed specifically for youth and teens with educational and social programming.

In 2003, the Hamilton West YMCA, officially changed its name to the Don W. & Nannie V. Fitton YMCA, in recognition of a major gift by the Fitton Family and in of appreciation of five generations of Fitton Family involvement and dedicated leadership to the cause of the YMCA. In June of 2004, the Great Miami Valley once again made news with the announcement of a merger with the Middletown Area YMCA. In August of 2008, the GMV YMCA dedicated it’s seventh branch, the Atrium Family YMCA, as the direct result of a collaboration with the Atrium Medical Center, located on the medical center campus.

The Great Miami Valley YMCA Association currently more than 33,000 people, an increase of 173% in the past ten years alone. Currently the GMV YMCA provides services to Butler County, as well as parts of Preble and Warren counties through seven branches including one Camp, four full day child care centers, and before and after school programming to 23 different schools in five different school districts, and multiple dynamic community collaborations, offering programs that promote a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all and build a sense of community.

Although the YMCA has undergone an amazing metamorphosis, what has remained an enduring and integral piece of every YMCA program, is the emphasis on building and enhancing in youth the Character Development Values of Faith, Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility. It has always been the policy of the YMCA not to deny services because of an inability to pay.

Throughout this amazing metamorphosis, what has endured is an integral piece of every YMCA program: our commitment to building strong kids, strong families, and a strong community. The YMCA has been a viable, growing, mission-focused, non-profit organization for 150 years. In a world where so much comes and goes so quickly, the YMCA has lasted. It is community–based, professionally managed, volunteer-driven, and able to meet the changing conditions of the future.