YMCA El Paso celebrates 135 years of being active in community

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A popular, worldwide organization that has centers here in the Sun City is celebrating a major milestone this year, while still striving to help our youth and seniors.

YMCA El Paso officially turned 135 years old.

“We’re proud of being the seventh oldest organization and the impact that we make each and every day for 135 years,” said Bill Coon, CEO/President of YMCA El Paso.

Coon said the organization started a bible study group with a mission to keep men out of trouble and putting Christian principles into practice through the programs it offers.

“We have minutes of our first board meeting in a newspaper article about the YMCA starting. It started keeping men off the streets, out of bars and houses of ill repute,” Coon said.

Many activities at the YMCA involve sports, gym and swim for youth, seniors and families. The organization brings many El Pasoans together, including those in successful careers in the Sun City.

“We have a prominent attorney in town that I hired 20 years ago to be a day camp counselor. He has such fond memories of coming back to college, working and molding these kids’ lives,” Coon shared.

Justin B. Underwood, attorney/partner at Wyatt and Underwood, said he gained important experience working at the YMCA.

“I worked for Mr. Coon at the Y as a lifeguard and as a summer camp counselor for youth and kids who were out of school, so it’s just been a big part of our family’s life growing up is to be able to go to the Y and fellowship with the people who were there and just enjoy the facilities that they have,” Underwood said.

He added that the experience he’s had at the YMCA remains with him to this day.

“I’ve had kids that I was their counselor way back when I was in college in the late 90s that have reached out to me as adults and so some of those kids, even when they were children I’ve become friends with now that they’re adults,” Underwood said. “That’s how long-lasting the impact the YMCA can have on people.”

The YMCA El Paso says it plans to prepare summer programs and activities for El Pasoans to enjoy.

For the latest updates with the YMCA El Paso, check out its website or Facebook page.

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