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YMCA Program Services and Program Store records

Identifier: Y.USA.45


The Program Services collection contains the records of the National Council of YMCA’s Program Services Committee. Starting in the mid-1970s, the collection includes a mixture of records originating from Program Services and the Program Store which was established at that time. The vast majority of the material was created after 1926. A single file from 1902 contains documents created by Loring Wilbur Messer, General Secretary of the Chicago YMCA, and describes relationships between associations in the city.

The collection contains a wide variety of material, including reports, correspondence, Program Services Committee minutes, meeting notes, financial records, agendas, newspaper articles, newsletters, pamphlets, educational manuals, and directories, as well well as video recordings in numerous formats. The collection also contains folders devoted to the minutes of the Program Services Committee, the minutes of the Youth Council, and the records of the Committee on Program Needs and Resources, the Committee on Youth Programs, the Boys’ Work Committee, the Program and Building Committee, the Public Affairs Committee, and the Swimming and Diving Committee. Scattered records of other committees can be found within folders containing reports, correspondence, and other miscellaneous material.

Areas of special interest within the Program Services collection include records documenting YMCA refugee work during the late 1940s and 1950s. Other areas of interest include material from YMCA programs aimed at alleviating social problems, such as homelessness and unemployment during the Great Depression and teenage drug use later in the 1990s. The collection also contains several folders on Project 50, a study of YMCA work with young adults during the mid 1960s. Another study of interest is the YMCA’s surveys of association work in all fifty states conducted in 1996. Several folders are devoted to the correspondence and memos of Celeste Wroblewski, a YMCA administrator in Program Services during the 1990s. In addition, the collection contains an array of manuals and educational materials used to train YMCA leaders, as well as association members, in various areas of wellness, leadership, and athletics.


  • 1902-2011
  • Majority of material found within ( 1926-1990s)


Language of Materials


Use of Materials:

This collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright, ownership, and to obtain all the necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.


The Program Services Committee was established in 1926 to aid the National Board and the National Council in formulating and implementing movement-wide policies concerning the program and administration of the YMCA. The committee provided recommendations on the YMCA’s fundamental objectives, activities, financing, administration, membership policies, lay leadership, community relations, and extension. The Committee was headed by a chairman and was composed of representatives from other YMCA bodies related to program services, such as representatives from the International Committee and the Student Committee. In addition, the Program Services Committee was directly responsible for several standing committees and select commissions that provided advice on specific areas of YMCA association work. The standing committees were charged with conducting studies and issuing reports to the Program Services Committee, and oversaw a range of YMCA interests, including committees on counseling, public affairs, interracial services, and camping, among many other program areas. These committees were replaced over the years depending on the needs and objectives of the National Council. Additionally, the Program Services Committee focused on strengthening leadership training within the YMCA by developing educational material on physical education, counseling, health, religious education, and personal development.

The Program Store, originally known as "Program Resources," was established in the mid-1970s. Its initial purpose was to act as a distributor and fulfillment house for program materials (including items such as badges, patches, and pins) that had originally been produced by the YMCA's Association Press along with books. With the sale of the Press around that time, the YMCA was left was certain inventory that the buyer had declined. Eventually, working with staff from the various Program Services areas to develop content, the Program Store went on to become a primary supplier of educational material on activities like aquatic sports and camping to YMCAs. Books and videos were produced along with certification manuals on a range of activities. Eventually much of the distribution and fulfillment work was outsourced to a company called Human Kinetics, based in Champaign, Illinois. The YMCA’s Program Store continued to operate into the 2000s under the auspices of the Knowledge Publishing program, but was phased out as of 2014.

Historical information adapted from the collection, an interview with former Director of Program Resources Jerry Glashagel (12 November 2014 at the YMCA Archives), as well as from the Program Store web site (; viewed July 2012).


35.5 Cubic Feet (34 boxes and 4 trays)


Reports, correspondence, audio-visual material, and other records of the National Council of YMCA's Program Services Committee and the YMCA of the USA's Program Store documenting various YMCA programs, including refugee work during the late 1940s and 1950s, and programs aimed at alleviating social problems, such as homelessness and unemployment during the Great Depression and teenage drug use later in the 1990s.

Processing Information:

Processed as part of Fast Processing Project I, 2008. Material has been minimally processed. Folder descriptions may be general and material has been only loosely grouped into series. Additional accessions added in 2014 and 2016. Accession number 20220513-3 added in 2022.

Catalog Record ID number: 9973356279401701

An Inventory of Its Records
Finding aid prepared by Lara Friedman-Shedlov and Cody Haro.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area