505-662-31001450 Iris St. Los Alamos, NM 87544

About Us

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A Brief History of The Family YMCA:

  • Began as an "Act of Congress," was chartered in 1955, the first "Family" YMCA in the nation; now there are over 480 Family YMCAs in the USA.
  • In 1956, the Y was accepted into the United Way, then known as the "Community Chest."
  • Early Y programs were operated in conjunction with the county recreation program, and were funded until 1962 by county grants.
  • In 1962 the Y became independent from the county and moved to an old Army barracks at our current location, 1450 Iris.
  • In 1968 the Y completed construction of its fitness center facility which included two racquetball courts, two squash courts, a weight room, an aerobics room, a small shower area and a larger shower room with a steam room (that was alternately scheduled for men and women's use), a lobby area and several small administrative offices.
  • The White Rock Branch was opened in 1981 in 5,000 square feet of rented space; it included an aerobics room, 2 weight rooms, a child care room, a small meeting and class room, and a lobby area.
  • 1987-88 saw a major renovation of the "Hill" facility. A capital campaign to build a pool fell far short of goal. Instead, a racquetball court was added, and the Weight room and Aerobics room were enlarged. A proper aerobic floor was installed. Large and modern locker/shower rooms were added, as well as a large spa area with a Jacuzzi and steam room. The new lobby included an area for a pool table and foosball, and the old lobby became a multi-purpose room.
  • In 1990, the White Rock branch was closed due to high costs and low usage.
  • In late 1993, the weight room was completely renovated and all the old equipment was replaced with new Cybex machines. The lobby was sacrificed for a "cardio" room, and a treadmill and several Stairmasters were added, as well as new stationary bikes. This prompted a 65% growth in membership.
  • In late 1994, serving more members and non-members than ever before with classes and programs, a capital campaign, with a goal of $1 million, was launched to raise funds to expand and renovate the existing facility. The pledge period for the campaign was five years. The expansion plan included a climbing wall and a gymnasium.
  • April 1996, The Family YMCA invites the community to the groundbreaking for the renovation and expansion project. A little over $500,000 of the million dollar goal was pledged.
  • May 1996, a 3,000 square-foot "Annex" is added in rented space nearby to serve expanding members and program members.
  • In June 1997, the 900 square-foot, 32-foot high climbing wall is added to the south side of the facility.
  • A 5,700 square-foot gymnasium is added to the North side of the main facility in fall of 2001. The Annex was closed and classes moved to the "main facility."
  • October 2007, the Espaņola YMCA Teen Center opens in Espaņola through an agreement and partnership with the City of Espaņola and several funding agencies.
  • In 2009, phases 1 and 2 of a three part expansion plan is completed by the "bump-out" of the cardio room, conversion of a part of the spa area to office, and the expansion of circuit room. An office is rented off-site for program staff.
  • In January 2011, the Y opened the LA Teen Center, located across from LAHS, ground floor of Trinity on the Hill Church. The Y signed a contract with the County for the administration of the Teen Center and programs serving teens.
  • July 2011, the Y completes phase 2 of facility remodel and update: final expansion of Cardio room, HVAC throughout the facility, offices opened in the converted spa area. The cardo room doubles in size. Phase 3 begins-remodel of locker rooms and lobby.
  • In March of 2013, the Y Express opens across the street at 140 Central Park Square, adding 600 feet of functional training space and 1,361 feet of group exercise space. In May of 2014, the Y opens an exercise studio at 106 A Longview Drive in White Rock. In July of 2014, the county grants the Y an acre of land to host an educational garden near the North Mesa Tennis Courts.
  • In August 2015, Los Alamos County completes a Capital Improvement Project, renovating the Community Building and creating an enlarged space for the LA Teen Center operated by The Family YMCA.

YMCA History:

The parent organization of The Family YMCA is more than 160 years old.

  • The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded in 1844 by George Williams of England who sought to offer Christian social and fitness alternatives to the vices he perceived during the Industrial Revolution.
  • Thomas Sullivan, a sea captain, brought the movement to the United States in 1851.
  • The YMCA has played a significant role in history: basketball, volleyball, racquetball, group camping and group swimming were invented by YMCA directors.
  • YMCAs helped found the USO, Boy Scouts of America and Camp Fire girls.
  • Today, the YMCA is inclusive of all individuals regardless of gender and religious beliefs.
  • In the U.S., the Y is comprised of YMCA of the USA, a national resource office, and more than 2,600 YMCAs with approximately 20,000 fulltime staff and 600,000 volunteers in 10,000 communities across the U.S.
  • Worldwide, the Y serves more than 45 million people in 119 countries. Ys acrss the U.S. play an integral role in strengthening the leadership and youth programs of the Y around the world.

Our Purpose and Mission:

The Family YMCA is a charitable, community-serving organization that promotes values, leadership development, service-learning, community interaction, healthy life choices and active lifestyles.

  • Due to the relative isolation of the community, people felt there was a need for a place where families could do things together. Subsequently, through an Act of Congress, the Los Alamos chapter became the first "Family" YMCA.
  • We are led by a volunteer board of directors and an executive director.
  • The mission of our organization is to strengthen the foundations of community by engaging in partnerships for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
  • Our driving vision is to provide the best facilities and programs that will support total community wellness.
  • Our purpose is to engage partners in our communities to promote healthy life choices and to support community well-being beyond our facilieies.
  • Our goals are to provide quality programs and ciritical services that meet the needs of the communities we serve.
  • Our core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility are stressed in all programming and interactions.
  • Our main facility is housed in an 18,000 square foot building.
  • Our primary services include youth, family and community programming; after school and summer camp programs, a wellness facility in Los Alamos; and teen recreational and academic programming in Espaņola and Los Alamos.
  • We serve approximately 8,000 community members annually in memberships and through health-related programs.
  • Our annual budget is $2.6 million dollars.

Los Alamos Detailed Timeline:


First organizing committee met and a temporary board of directors was named.


An organizing board was established.

The YMCA accreditation application was sent.
AEC provided use of T-18 building to the YMCA at the price of $1.00 per year (with utilities included) as long as the YMCA would maintain and repair the building as needed.
Created by an “Act of Congress” the Los Alamos YMCA became the first YMCA in the nation to be chartered as a “Family” YMCA
10/1/55 was Ray Catan’s first day on the job as YMCA Executive Director.
10/30/55 was the first official YMCA board meeting in which Jesse Rose was elected as YMCA Board President.


The YMCA was moved from T-18 to the Gamma Building at 15th Street and Central Avenue.


The YMCA was moved to a dorm building at 15th Street and Iris Street under an AEC lease.


Planning for the first capital campaign was begun. By the beginning of the campaign the YMCA had three phases of development in mind:

Phase I: $180,000- For a Youth & Community Site
Phase II: $ 300,000- For an Adult Health Club
Phase III: $450,000- For a Swimming Pool Facility


Phase I was scaled down and produced approximately $88,000.

The concept of the Swimming Pool was passed to Los Alamos County in hopes that the construction occur on YMCA property.


The YMCA offices were moved again to the Miles Building, rent free, for the duration of the construction of the new facility.

Four acres of land were purchased at 15th and Iris streets from AEC for $5600.


The new all-purpose YMCA facility was dedicated and opened. The total cost of the project was $51,358.


6/11/68 was opening day for the new health club facility.

New handball and squash courts were opened along with the new lobby area.


The YMCA officially went from being 10% self staining in 1961, to 100% self sustaining.


Swimming classes were held at Bob Waterman’s Condominiums pool across the street from the YMCA at 15th St. and Iris St.

The YMCA became a United Way organization as recipients.
A temporary building was placed on YMCA property to house the Los Alamos Family Council.


The YMCA declined offers to lease or buy the playing field at the east end of the post office.


The YMCA began keeping $650,000, 10 7/8% from a 30 year loan, to build a swimming pool.


The YMCA continued to try and finance $1,015,000 for a new building and a swimming pool.


The main YMCA opened a satellite branch in White Rock.


The swimming pool project was dropped and remodeling projects began to be discussed.


The YMCA was completely renovated and expanded. New locker rooms, a whirlpool, a new racquetball court, and an aerobics room were all added to the facility.


The first YMCA membership cards issued. They were laminated and include the members name and a bar code.

The YMCA replaced the “old” vans with new ones.


April: At the request of LAPS, a trade agreement was made between them and the YMCA to provide aerobics classes for school employees in exchange for usage of space for Before/After School programming.

October: A request by the schools was made to extend usage of the YMCA to the entire facility, not just for aerobics classes.


The First Annual YMCA Family Fun Run was held during Red Ribbon Week.

The First Annual YMCA Bench Press Contest was held.


The first shipment of “bench steps” was received for the first and ever popular Step Aerobics class.

A new trade agreement was made with LAPS that granted them access to the entire facility.
The YMCA before/after school programs became recognized licensed care providers by the State of New Mexico.


The Family YMCA's story was featured in the national magazine, Discovery YMCA.


Plans began being proposed for a new YMCA facility or to update with renovations on the existing facility. One of the proposed ideas was that of a “climbing wall.”


The first photo I.D.’s were issued to members.

The finalization processes of the “climbing wall” plans were being made.
The YMCA launches a capital campaign with an aggressive goal of $500,000 to build a gymnasium addition on site.


In May, a 3,000 sq. ft. annex was rented from the Netuschil’s in Central Park Square to expand programming and free up space. The move provided an expanded cardio and weight room at the main facility.


The Climbing Wall has a grand opening in August.


A special use permit is turned down for the Y gymnasium construction to be east of the building. The gym is moved north of the main facility causing cost to increase.


The first Red and Black Ball was held to help raise funds for the gymnasium.


The YMCA stops leasing the Annex space in May, in preparation for a move to the new gym in October.


A 28-passenger activity bus is purchased for expanded programming with the help of annual campaign funds and a generous gift from the Washington Group.


The Family YMCA operates a summer camp at James Rodriguez elementary school in Espaņola.

The Y enters a partnership with the City of Espaņola to operate a Teen Technology and Recreation Center that opened on October 15, 2007.


Awarded a grant from New Mexico's Youth Conservation Corps to employ 18 youth from Espaņola and Los Alamos to improve fireline trails, address wildfire erosion problems, create new trails and build friendships among these neighboring youth.

Strong Kids Golf Classic held in June 2009.


Los Alamos County awards the Y a contract to operate a Teen Center.

2013 The Y Express opens at 140 Central Park Square to provide more functional training and group exercise space.
2014 The Y opens a studio in White Rock for small group exercise classes at 106 A Longview Drive.
2015 The Y begins operating the Teen Center in the County's newly ronovated Community Building in August.