The YMCA originated in 1844 in London, England. The YMCA was charted in Port Arthur in 1902, providing programs in locations throughout the area. Today there are over 2,500 YMCAs in the United States and YMCAs are located in more than 130 countries.
The YMCA of Port Arthur was chartered in 1902. The first YMCA building was constructed on Lakeshore Drive in 1937. The facility was destroyed by fire in 1959. The YMCA carried on programs in rented space.
The YMCA dedicated the 7th Street location in 1956 at a cost of $35,000. A deed for land was acquired for the Ninth Avenue branch in 1961.
A capital campaign in 1963 raised nearly $421,000 for the new branch at 1308 Ninth Avenue. The facility was dedicated in 1966.
In 1983 a Capital Campaign was initiated for a new YMCA on 6760 Ninth Avenue. The campaign raised $1.2 million. The $3.4 million facility was dedicated in 1986. A special arrangement in 1987 between the city and local lenders allowed the YMCA to continue to operate.
In 1998, $400,000 was raised for the new 8,000 square foot health and wellness area that included a group fitness studio.
In 2008, a campaign was launched to raise funds for critical renovations to help assure that the YMCA facilities could serve the community for future generations. More than $1.2 million was raised for this campaign.
In 2010, the YMCA of Port Arthur completed a renovation project that included construction of a brand new welcome center, locker rooms for our men, women, boys and girls, new equipment in our fitness rooms and a refurbishing to our basketball gym floor. Our history of service to all who attend our facility and programs in Southeast Texas is a direct attribute to all the support we receive from the communities we serve in.
In 2011, the name of the YMCA of Port Arthur was changed to YMCA of Southeast Texas to better identify the service area that we serve. At that time our service area was expanded to include the area just east of Baytown, to the Louisiana Border and to the north as far as Hardin County.
Currently, the Y provides afterschool care services to Port Arthur, Nederland, Groves, Port Neches, and Little Cypress Elementary Schools. We will start providing After School care in the Beaumont School District in the fall.