On October 1, 1913 the Lancaster YWCA was organized and fourteen years later, in 1927, a group founded the Fairfield County YMCA. In 1951, the first joint meeting of the YMCA and YWCA was held with joint trustees building fund being formed in 1953. In 1960, after a successful capital campaign, the YMCA and YWCA opened for business in the same building. In 1976, nearly $800,000 was raised and a new gymnasium, pool observation, childcare, women’s fitness center, judo room and two racquetball courts were added.
On March 1, 1985 the YMCA & YWCA consolidated into the Family Y of Lancaster & Fairfield County. A twenty-four member Board of Directors (twelve men and twelve men) was established as the policy-making body. To fund necessary repairs, childcare & other renovations, as well as a nautilus room, the Family Y borrowed $300,000 in 1986. With the building still in a state of disrepair, the Family Y raised over $840,000 in 1991 to complete major repairs and renovations.
In June of 1998, the Family Y kicked off a $3.5 million campaign to expand the facility located on 6th Avenue. This expansion added a 25-yard, 8-lane competition pool, an expanded Wellness Center, and additional locker rooms and other ancillary spaces to serve the members and community. Dr. Robert K. Fox gave a lead gift of $1.5 million. While the Y successfully raised over $3.5 million, the cost of the expansion exceeded $6 million. The expansion opened in September 2001 and later that fall the Y secured a $1.8 million loan to cover the shortfall. In July 2003, the debt was changed from a conventional loan to bond financing which allowed for a lower interest rate and more money to be applied toward the principle. The loan was completely paid off in 2019. In 2009, the Y purchased the former Fairfield Athletic Club, now known as the YMCA Rec Plex, to provide a space for the growing gymnastics program and has also allowed the Y to offer additional programs and services for the community such as indoor tennis and pickleball for youth and adults, as well as youth cheer, boxing, soccer, softball, baseball, and basketball.
In 2019, the Y and Fairfield Medical Center collaborated to construct and open the River Valley Campus location as part of the hospitals expansion and construction on their new facility along Memorial Drive in Lancaster. This phenomenal asset allows the Y to offer specialized programming for Arthritis and Parkinson’s patients, as well as LiveStrong (cancer survivors) participants. This comprehensive wellness facility has elevated the Y’s ability to deliver the services that the community needs.