Remember When …

The exterior of the YMCA in its early years. Photo provided

The exterior of the YMCA in its early years. Photo provided

What is your favorite memory as a kid with your friends outside in the neighborhood playing a ball game or maybe hide or go seek? Mine was cooking with my parent or grandparents. Nowadays, it seems like kids feel like they don’t belong anywhere, so they feel left out. Let’s show them we care! With both parents working, it’s great to help guide our youth.

The past few years gun violence in youth has been getting worse, I think it is a cry for help, don’t you? Drive by shootings happen too often. As a mom of five and grandmother of nine (even a past youth pastor), I have seen children seek attention in all matters good or bad.

All everyone needs is to be loved, so let’s all love one another. I thought it would be a great idea to share all the resources we have right here in Genesee County. There are 27 youth opportunities to help teach leadership and fun for kids in Flint. Boy and Girl Scouts have a mentor, YouthQuest, or even be a Big Brothers/Big Sisters.



There are youth summer camps all over America from S.T.E.M., cooking, and music camps for kids. Did you ever go to summer camp? I did with my Girl Scout troops. YMCA Camp Copneconic is in Fenton has all types of programs.

The YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) opened its door in June 6, 1844 in London because of the beginning of Industrial Revolution. Sir Williams’s mission was to make sure the boys were well-rounded in life with prayer, leadership and especially physical education. The first Y opened in the U.S. 1851 in Boston; it was a “home away from hom.” The Y eventually went to more than 120 countries with 2,500 in the U.S. and they even invented basketball in 1891, volleyball in 1895 and the first Father’s Day celebration in 1910 all by employees.

Secretary of the YMCA was Henry Dunant, founded the International Community of the Red Cross and received a Noble Peace prize for it in 1878. In 1855 the YWCA (for women) started in America and by 1898 they went worldwide with a meeting in London based on faith and service.

Empowering women, civil rights, violence prevention and classes to teach leadership, job skills and for women get equal pay. We have always been fortunate to have the Y in Genesee County downtown Flint and there is a Y on Pierson Road too. I loved to go swimming at the downtown location. As a child I was learned to swim and many things at the Y, first aide, leadership and babysitting classes. The Y’s was a safe place for many to live short term during their life.

The first Boys Club in 1860 was in Hartford, Connecticut by Elizabeth Hamersley and two sisters Alice and Mary Goodwin, founded to help kids, with after school programs in the inner city for a positive place to go and teach leadership skills. In the 1990s Flint opened a Boys and Girls Club of American they closed and relocated to 3701 N. Averill Ave. in 2004, with a second location since 2019. Visit them online at Can you image that by 2010 The B.G.C.A. have served over 4 million kids and in all 50 states. Show our youth we care plant a seed of hope!

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email History.