What began in 1960 as a recommendation to the Evanston Y that Kenneth A. Thiel be permitted to extend the work of the YMCA in the Village of Northbrook, grew into a Y that has directly and indirectly touched the lives of countless individuals.
The first office for the Northbrook YMCA was located in the basement of the Thiel's home. With only one desk, chair, and telephone, the work of the Y took root through the mobilization of key individuals and guidance of community groups like the Deerfield-Northbrook Rotary. On January 4, 1962 the first meeting of the Northbrook Y Affiliated Committee was held. Mr. Walter Johnson was elected President. By the year's end, the Y had an income of $3,952.00 and expenditures of $454.86. Total membership at the end of the first year was 171.
The Early Sixties...
In the early 1960's, when the national media was imprinting black and white images of tragedy and uncertainty on our memories, the North Suburban YMCA's scrapbook began to fill its pages with stories and pictures of growth and direction for the future. The Northbrook Y formally approved the proposed donation of land by the Covenant Church of America in April 1963. During that same year, our Y Indian-Guide program was started and the first Y community service project took place when 27 boys and girls from our Y community helped the Northbrook Garden Club clean up our local River Bank. Summer swim programs for Y members were held at Glenbrook North High School. The Northbrook Y officially changed its name to the North Suburban YMCA and moved its office to 1852 Shermer Road, where it had the complete use of basement facilities donated by Drs. Albert Nischke and Henry Diettrich.
The fundraising campaign to build the Y's present facility started in the fall of 1966. Mr. James Otis, Jr. served as the general campaign chairman. Through commitment to the community and the Y mission, the goal became reality when the Y family moved into its new home on March 19, 1969. Later years saw the addition and renovation of facilities to meet our changing needs. This resulted in the current 85,000 square ft. building which our community and members call home.
45 Years of Serving...
The North Suburban YMCA celebrates nearly 45 years of serving the communities in and around Northbrook. With our goal of building spirit, mind, and body, the Y offers more than 500 activities and classes during each of its four sessions. The four character development values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility are integrated into each of these programs. Each year hundreds of children take part in our development and early childhood programs, which includes our Kindergarten Club, winter and spring break day camps, on-site baby-sitting and an array of special classes. Members and non-members alike join our nearly 150 swim lessons and water exercise classes offered each session in our pool. During the summer, hundreds of children take part in various summer camps, making friends and growing strong. The North Suburban YMCA School of Dance serves participants, from toddlers to seniors in a wide variety of classes each week. Sports classes offer children the ability to learn the moves of Michael Jordan or Mia Hamm. Our visual art classes allow adults and children alike the opportunity to becoming a petite Picasso or study the art of Origami. Collaborative efforts with local and community organizations result in such programs as English as a Second Language as well as providing space for the Alternative High School program.
During the year 2007, the North Suburban YMCA provided scholarship support to more than 600 individuals and families with over $175,000. Yet, there is much more work to be done. We look internally and view our room for growth as a great opportunity to assist more individuals and reach more of our service area.
Just as we look back to see where we have come from with pride, we look forward to the future with anticipation. Our dedicated volunteers and staff have given us great opportunities to serve, and continue to provide leadership and guidance into the future. Those who invest time, expertise, and funds in the North Suburban YMCA make a sound contribution to the future of our community. We invite you to be a part of that future.