The first chapter of the Westfield Area YMCA began in 1868 by a group of Christian laymen, who wanted to promote intellectual, moral and social growth among young men. Twenty years later a local Y for teenage boys was established as a recreation center on Elm Street. It was soon disbanded because the building was not strong enough to support athletic activities and there were insufficient funds to renovate the facility.
The development of the present organization began in the early 1920’s, when a group of civic-minded men united to establish a program to provide Westfield boys with a place for “constructive” activities and discourage them from hanging out on street corners. A Board of Directors was formed in 1923 and in 1924, they authorized the purchase of land on Clark Street, which still houses the Main facility. The official opening and dedication ceremony of the facility took place on February 17, 1929. Consolidation with the YWCA occurred in 1985, making this a facility equally prized by men, women and children.
Today, the Westfield Area YMCA has grown to include: the Clark Street facility–a handicapped-accessible building that houses a gymnasium, two pools, fitness centers for men and women, free weights, racquetball courts, Cardio and Strength Training rooms, steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, a fitness studio and meeting rooms; Administrative Support Offices on Ferris Place opened in 2012, which houses Human Resources, Finance, Conference Rooms; Garwood Family Center YMCA, opened in 2012, which provides full-day child care, preschool, after school and drop-in care; Robert and Virginia Bauer Family Branch on East Broad Street, opened in 2005, which houses our preschool and kindergarten, playground and multi-purpose room for youth, teen, family, senior and community programs; and since 1991, Early Learning Center YMCA on Elm Street with 9 child care classrooms, a playground and multi-purpose gym
The Y also offers services at additional program sites: the Cranford Community Center, First Baptist Church of Westfield, First United Methodist Church of Westfield, Westfield Memorial Pool, Westfield Public Schools, Mountainside Public Schools, Mountainside Recreation Center, Cranford High School and a variety of outdoor parks and fields.
With about 10,000 members, the Westfield Area Y has varied its programs to meet the needs of each new generation while honoring the continued commitment to help develop strong character. Programs today continue to cultivate honesty and respect as they emphasize the importance of responsibility and caring for entire families.