Our History

We’re Celebrating 50 years in the Hanover Community!

Ever wonder who, where or why the Hanover Area YMCA was created? We uncovered some amazing exclusive footage of co-founders Mr. Spears and Mr. Leister. Check out our YouTube channel HERE to see all 3 parts of history as they made it!

Volunteer founded and volunteer led, the YMCA was established in London, England, in 1844 by George Williams, a draper’s shop assistant, to give young men an alternative to life on the streets.

In 1851, Thomas Sullivan, a retired sea captain and lay missionary, started the first U.S. YMCA in Boston. From there, YMCAs spread rapidly across America. Some were started to serve specific groups such as railroad and factory workers, African Americans, Native American and recent immigrants. After World War II, women and girls were admitted to full membership and participation.

YMCAs are collectively the largest not-for-profit community service organization in the U.S. YMCAs are for people of all faiths, races, ages, abilities and income — everyone is welcome. YMCAs are at the heart of community life in America: 42 million families and 72 million households are located within three miles of a YMCA.


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The HANOVER AREA YMCA is an affiliated association of the YMCA of the USA. The original founders organized a citizens’ committee who then recruited 1,200 members by the first meeting of the Association on October 1, 1968 also known as the Charter Night. The facility was originally located in a four story building on Carlisle St.


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In 1971, the YMCA acquired the property located on George and Washington Streets in the northern section of the borough. It is upon this recreational site that the current facility operates.


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Over the years, the HANOVER AREA YMCA Association grew steadily in both memberships and programs. The budget has also grown from $30,000 in 1972 to over $5.5 million in 2006. Currently, the Hanover AreaYMCA Association is serving over 14,500 members and over 68,000 program participants at three locations: the Hanover Area YMCA, Littlestown YMCA and the South Hanover YMCA near the center of Hanover.

In 1989, the Littlestown Branch of the HANOVER  AREA YMCA opened as a storefront with an operating budget of $75,000. Today, the Littlestown YMCA has its own facility with a budget of over $700,000 serving over 2,000 members and 10,000 participants.

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On July 1, the HANOVER AREA YMCA opened the SOUTH HANOVER  branch at 1013 Baltimore Street. Today, the SOUTH HANOVER YMCA has over 500 memberships and over 1100 members. The SOUTH HANOVER YMCA is also a key component in many community collaborations.

As a result of the steadfast commitment of our staff and volunteers to our vision, we are able to unite with local communities to build character in youth and teens, support and strengthen families and individuals of all ages, promote a healthy lifestyle, and encourage tolerance and respect for diversity.

Below are some newspaper articles highlighting the growth of our YMCA. These files are in PDF format. Once the file is opened you can change the zoom to 100% for easier reading.

2-26-1969 First Location
1-24-1972 Board OKs Recreation Area
10-1972 Site Preperation
6-21-1978 Expansion
6-15-1983 New Gymnastics Expansion
7-11-1989 Littlestown Branch Opens
12-28-92 Bids For New Littlestown Building
1993 New Littlestown Building Opens