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History

C.E. Buchner had a dream.

He envisioned a healthy refuge for oilfield workers, railroaders, and young truants from the mud roads of "Tulsey-Town." It was 1909 and the rich oil fields of Glen Pool and Red Fork lured hundreds of men to the area. Buchner, then secretary of the YMCA, organized outdoor youth programs that would become a model for YMCAs worldwide, but he longed for a permanent facility to house and feed migrant workers living in oilfield “tent cities.” Buchner turned to leaders within the petroleum industry, who responded with astounding results: Within 10 days they had reached a goal of $100,000. The first building was constructed at Fourth and Cincinnati, complete with cafeteria, meeting rooms, health facility and dormitory.

Buildings are important but people are our purpose, and the ideals of healthy spirit, mind and body that formed the YMCA are as true today as they were then. Although the “Y” began as a young men’s organization, it has grown to serve families, women and children, seniors, and people of every race, religious affiliation and economic background.

After more than 100 years of service, the YMCA of Greater Tulsa has expanded to include eight branches and public school sites. These sites provide health and physical education programs, child care, swimming, swim lessons, youth and adult sports, summer and holiday camps, active older adult programs, teen leadership, and a summer resident camp with year-round conference center. Hundreds of families rely on the YMCA to provide quality childcare, and thousands of families make the Y their place to come together for fun, health and fellowship.

We are thankful to generous donors and the Tulsa Area United Way, whose support helps ensure our continued growth in quality and outreach to underserved areas. We are grateful to our many program volunteers, board members and staff for their hard work and dedication to building strong kids, strong families and strong communities through the YMCA.