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The YMCA "combined preaching in the streets and the distribution of religious tracts with a social ministry.Philanthropists saw them as places for wholesome recreation that would preserve youth from the temptations of alcohol, gambling, and prostitution and that would promote good citizenship." The YMCA was founded by George Williams, a London draper, who was typical of the young men drawn to the cities by the Industrial Revolution.In 1880, the YMCA became the first national organization to adopt a strict policy of equal gender representation in committees and national boards, with Norway being the country that first adopted it. The camp, originally located near Orange Lake in New Jersey, moved to Lake Wawayanda in Sussex County the following year, and then to the shore of Lake Champlain near Westport, New York, in 1891.In 1885, Camp Baldhead (later known as Camp Dudley), the first residential camp in the United States and North America, was established by A. By 1910, the YMCA was an early influence upon scouting, including the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and German Scouting. Robinson, a Chicago-area YMCA administrator, briefly left the YMCA to become the BSA's first director. Paul became the first Indian national general secretary of India. James Yen, of the YMCA of China, devised the "thousand character system," based on pilot projects in education.In 1855, 99 YMCA delegates from Europe and North America met in Paris at the First World Conference of YMCAs, held before the 1855 Paris World Exposition of the same year.
In 1959 the YMCA developed the first nationally organized scuba diving course and certified their first skin and scuba diving instructors.
It include the principles of justice, creativity and honesty.
It stated what had become obvious in most national YMCAs; a global viewpoint was more necessary, and that in doing so, the YMCAs would have to take political stands, especially so in international challenges.
In 1947 the World Alliance of YMCAs gained special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
In 1955 the first black president of the World Alliance of YMCAs, Charles Dunbar Sherman from Liberia, was elected.
In 1865 The Fourth World Conference of YMCAs, held in Germany, affirmed the importance of developing the whole individual in body, mind, and spirit.