Our roots can be traced back to 1874 when a modest, single facility was opened in Red Bank to serve young men. After 150 years, we are still a cause driven organization, committed to strengthening our local communities in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y provides a diverse range of programs and services to children, families and adults in Monmouth county, and parts of Middlesex and Ocean Counties.

Here’s a glance at our rich history, and a snapshot of our many successes over the last 150 years on behalf of the individuals and communities we are privileged to serve.

Our YMCA Timeline


  • George Williams starts YMCA in London, England.


  • Thomas V. Sullivan starts first YMCA in the U.S. in Boston, MA.


  • On March 16, the Red Bank YMCA is founded by area pastors and businessmen.


  • The Freehold Area YMCA is organized in Freehold on May 18, 1894.
  • Dr. Hepburn assisted in developing the Y.


  • The State Association certifies the Freehold YMCA.


  • Building on Monmouth Street in Red Bank is dedicated.


  • Red Bank YMCA begins first playground project on Mechanic Street.


  • Freehold Area Y office is located over the Post Office.


  • Freehold Area Y purchased 12 Throckmorton Street.


  • Gym was added to Freehold Area Y facility.


  • Red Bank Y building on Monmouth Street is ravaged by fire.


  • Building on Riverside Avenue in Red Bank is dedicated.


  • Westside Branch of The Community YMCA is founded.


  • Volunteers operated the Freehold Area Y.


  • Indian Guides Program is started in Red Bank.


  • Camp Arrowhead is founded in Marlboro.


  • Land was purchased in Freehold Township for Day Camp and named for Dr. Hepburn.


  • An outdoor pool and lodge (Dittmar Lodge) were built at Camp Hepburn.


  • Riverside Avenue building in Red Bank is demolished.


  • John (Toni) Borton is appointed YMCA Executive Director.


  • New Red Bank YMCA Branch facility on Maple Avenue is opened.
  • Freehold Y purchased Woodhaven Swim Club.
  • The Throckmorton Street facility was sold in 1968.


  • Two tennis courts added to Freehold Y.


  • Family Services Branch is started in Matawan.
  • Indoor pool, named the Dittmar Pool, and Fitness Center added to Freehold Y.


  • Racquetball facility added to Freehold Y.


  • After School Care Program began in Freehold Y.


  • A Nautilus Exercise Center is added to Freehold Y.


  • Freehold Y Cobb Pool is built and named for Leigh Cobb.
  • Camp Hepburn is sold. Summer camp starts at the East Freehold Y facility.


  • Freehold Y Gymnasium built and named for Joseph W. Taylor.
  • Women’s Fitness Center and free weight room added to Freehold Y.


  • Freehold Y instituted the Endowment Fund Program.


  • Monmouth Inc. (a cooperative effort between Freehold YMCA, Community YMCA, and Shore YMCA) was formed to help the struggling Shore YMCA.


  • Freehold YMCA is renamed YMCA of Western Monmouth County.


  • Children’s Learning Center of Matawan opens.


  • Y of Western Monmouth purchased Happy Time Day Camp. Added Bodymasters equipment to free weight room.


  • Shore Area YMCA closed its doors and through subsequent partnership, The Community YMCA and YMCA of Western Monmouth County acquires joint ownership of Camp Zehnder, a 100-acre camp in Wall Township.


  • The Community YMCA embarks on $2.8 million capital campaign.


  • Governor Whitman dedicates the Camp Arrowhead Skirkanich Aquatic Complex.


  • A renovated Red Bank YMCA Branch is rededicated.
  • YMCA of Western Monmouth acquires Hightstown-East Windsor YMCA.


  • The Community YMCA celebrates 125th Anniversary.
  • The Fahey Outdoor Sports Complex at Red Bank Branch is dedicated and includes The Red Bank Rotary Roller Hockey Rink and Millennium Basketball Courts.


  • YMCA Camp Zehnder opens its doors for Summer Camp under the management of the YMCA of Western Monmouth County for two years alternating with Community YMCA.
  • The Family Services Branch of The Community YMCA establishes an additional outreach office in Neptune City.


  • Camp Topanemus moves its operations out to camp full-time.
  • Property adjacent to the Freehold YMCA known as the “Bukowy Property” is purchased.
  • New structures at the Arrowhead Branch are completed—the Carr Pavilion, Eisenberg Pavilion, and Elsas Lodge.
  • Committees were formed and staff secured for the new Coastal Monmouth and Northern Monmouth Branches of The Community YMCA.


  • In partnership with Freehold Borough, YMCA of Western Monmouth County opens Freehold Borough YMCA Community Center consisting of a 6,000 square foot space previously known as the “Rug Mill” to support teens and seniors.
  • Approved $300,000 renovation to Camp Topanemus consisting of a Splash Park and pool upgrades.
  • The Count Basie Learning Center of Red Bank becomes a branch of The Community YMCA, later renamed The Count Basie Achievement Branch.
  • The Children’s Cultural Center at Red Bank becomse a branch of The Community YMCA.


  • The Community YMCA begins $1.5 million capital campaign for the Children’s Cultural Center to complete renovation of landmark building on Monmouth Street.
  • Coastal Monmouth Branch of The Community YMCA opens offices in Long Branch Board of Education building in Long Branch.


  • YMCA of Western Monmouth County celebrates 100 years of service to the community with the YMCA of USA’s National Executive Director.
  • YMCA of Western Monmouth County Board approves a $5.6 million dollar four-phase capital improvement project borrowing $5.2 million from Wachovia Bank.
  • Dedication of the Ernest W. Lass Aquatic Center and celebration of the expansion of  YMCA Camp Zehnder are recognized at a Community YMCA event.


  • YMCA of Western Monmouth County moves Administration Offices to the house located at 464 East Freehold, the “Bukowy Property”, in preparation of the upcoming construction.
  • $830,000 is fundraised towards the Freehold Facility Project. An additional $500,000 is given to the Y from the Estate of Martin Clarke.
  • The Children’s Cultural Center opens, the Count Basie Achievement Branch offers summer programs, Northern Monmouth Branch extends service into the Holmdel School District and the Long Branch School Board renews contract with the Coastal Monmouth Branch.


  • The Community YMCA’s Board of Directors adopts a new 5-year strategic plan positioning The Community YMCA for future growth, and reorganizing the individual branch operations into service lines:  Arts & Culture, Child Achievement, Counseling & Social Services, Family Health & Fitness and Outdoor Recreation.
  • YMCA of Western Monmouth County opens 6,000 square foot Child Care Enrichment Center at the Freehold YMCA providing services for infants though school age children.
  • Camp Topanemus parking lot is completed, gifted from the Preston Family.
  • Freehold YMCA opens 6,000 square foot Wellness Center/2nd Floor Aerobic Studio, Spinning Studio, Offices, Personal Training Room and second therapy pool.


  • YMCA of Western Monmouth County breaks ground at Mannino Park where a 31,000 square foot Old Bridge YMCA will be constructed on a 12-acre parcel of land.
  • The Hazlet Children’s Achievement Center opens, expanding The Community YMCA’s preschool, kindergarten and academic programs in the Northern Monmouth area. The Activate America Kids Club is launched in Red Bank.


  • The Community YMCA begins an $8 million capital campaign to raise funds to renovate the 38-yr. old Maple Avenue facility.  X-er Game Fitness Technology (combining video games and exercise) is introduced in Red Bank to increase fitness programming for youth members.
  • A new nutritional and physical education program, “Healthy U”, is incorporated in all afterschool programs through a partnership and funding with The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.
  • Camp Arrowhead celebrates 50 years of service to the community.


  • Grand Opening of Old Bridge Y, a $6.2 million construction project, with help from a $3 million dollar gift through the Middlesex Open Space Program and $1 million dollar donation from Sayreville-Old Bridge Rotary Club.
  • The Community YMCA expands their outreach into the Middletown community through Y-Kids afterschool clubs, teen leadership programs and before and afterschool care for the 2009-2010 school year.


  • Old Bridge Y and Freehold Y Swim Teams merge into the “FOBY” Swim Team.
  • YMCA Camp Zehnder YMCA joint management agreement between YMCA of Western Monmouth County and The Community YMCA is sold to The Community YMCA.
  • YMCA of the USA launches new Y brand and messaging for all YMCA Associations.
  • The Community YMCA expands arts and educational programs to additional school districts, including Monmouth Beach, Little Silver, Shrewsbury, Keansburg, and Tinton Falls


  • New Jersey Natural Gas/Resources donated two days of volunteers to YMCA of Western Monmouth County for completion of needed projects totaling $100,000 and over 1,600 hours of volunteer hours for New Jersey Natural Gas employees.
  • The Community YMCA completes a significant renovation of their flagship facility in Red Bank, and expands programming in Middletown and Southern Monmouth County.
  • Old Bridge Y begins to offer a summer day camp.


  • Board of Directors approves a $650,000 project for new outdoor pools for the Freehold Y and Camp Topanemus; both pools were over fifty (50) years old
  • Superstorm Sandy slams the state and coastline.  The Y welcomes families for a warm place to gather.  Volunteers collect and distribute relief items for storm victims.  The YMCA of Western Monmouth County hosts a community dinner at the Old Bridge Y and The Community YMCA offers cleanup assistance in the community.


  • The outdoor Swim Club at the Freehold Y re-opens.
  • Camp Topanemus pool re-opens for campers.  Also completed new pool slide with decks and fencing.
  • Bayshore Family Success Center of The Community YMCA opens in Union Beach to assist families in aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and for ongoing family support.
  • The Community YMCA’s Extending Our Reach Campaign raises funds to enclose the Lass Family Aquatic Center, aka “The Bubble”, at YMCA Camp Zehnder for year-round aquatics.


  • The Community YMCA celebrates 140th Anniversary at Annual Gala.
  • Bayshore Family Success Center of The Community YMCA relocates to Leonardo section of Middletown.


  • YMCA of Western Monmouth County collaborates with the New Jersey Metro Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to offer MS One Step, a customized wellness program for individuals with multiple sclerosis.
  • Freehold Y wellness center redesigned, equipment upgraded.


  • Hightstown-East Windsor YMCA is sold and closed.


  • Board members of YMCA of Western Monmouth County and The Community YMCA vote unanimously to join as one association in order to strengthen more individuals, families and communities throughout greater Monmouth County.
  • The new YMCA of Greater Monmouth County commences operation on September 1, 2019 with media and ribbon-tying events celebrating new opportunities to expand vital Y services, including mental health, across 3 counties: Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean.


  • The Y’s Togetherhood initiative relaunches at the 31st Annual Dr. King Commemorative Breakfast, as a service program activating volunteers, staff and members to identify community needs and respond with support.
  • On March 16, 2020, the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County closes all locations in response to the covid-19 health crisis and federal emergency shutdown mandate. Crisis communications commence and all board members, staff, members, and participants are alerted to status of our Y.
  • YMCA senior leadership begin to meet daily for ways to support community’s most urgent needs. On March 25, 2020, “drop and go” curbside food drives are hosted at Y locations, collecting non-perishable food, essential baby pantry and household supplies for vulnerable families. Blood drives are hosted to address national shortage.
  • The Y’s Counseling and Social Services shifts to telehealth in order to continue critical support services for individuals, children and families.
  • Emergency Child Care commences to support the children of  first responders and front line workers. Online “virtual” programming launches to keep members connected to their wellness routine. Y Academy launched, welcoming students to the Y for remote learning classes during the school day and supporting working families.


  • The Y redefines services in order to address most urgent needs for the community. Togetherhood grows to welcome over 650 volunteers who plan monthly activities that give back locally. Covid testing and vaccinations are hosted at Y branches. Food drives increase. Mental Health services grown in response to impact of the pandemic on remote-learning children and stressed families.
  • As the covid-19 pandemic begins to ease, Y locations reopen with new safety procedures, programs expand, and members return to continue their routines for good health.


  • Bayshore Family Success Center celebrates 10 years of serving the local community with resources and events aimed at prevention and successful outcomes for area children and families.
  • The federal government officially declares and end to the covid-19 pandemic as a public emergency with all safety protocols lifted.
  • The Y’s JEDI – Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative launch publicly during Welcoming Week in September at Y locations. JEDI provides a promise of equitable access and environment of support for all members of the community.
  • A new vision statement is crafted for the Y: a healthy, unified community where all people reach their fullest potential.


  • The Y welcomes over 420 people to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Breakfast, commemorating Dr. King, honoring current civic leaders, and lifting voices of local youth.
  • On March 16, 2024, the Y celebrates 150 years in service to the community. The Y also celebrates 50 years of the Counseling and Social Services branch.