YMCA celebrates 150 years

YMCA celebrates 150 years

There are 477 comments on the Jacksonsun.com story from Oct 13, 2007, titled YMCA celebrates 150 years. In it, Jacksonsun.com reports that:

Past YMCA president Charlie Barnett recalls when swimming in the nude was acceptable at what was once called the YMCA of Jackson.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Jacksonsun.com.

annette

Hamilton, Canada

#41 Nov 30, 2009
I worked as a food preparer for the YMCA summer camp called Camp wanakita. From 1953 to about 1968, it was an all boys camp. One of the summer activities at this camp was swimming and at times we would watch the boys swim nude in this lake. It was just the thing to do at this camp. Now it is a family-co-ed camp still operating in haliburton northern ontario canada.
gino

Hamilton, Canada

#42 Nov 30, 2009
the dude from Gadsden TN talks about "old men" at the YMCA, well in the 1960's it was rare to see old men swimming at the downtown Hamilton, Ontario YMCA. The age was roughly 9 to 17. It was truly a "Young MEn's " organization and it was extremely popular. The nude swimming was great and the memberships went through the roof.
sam

Hamilton, Canada

#43 Dec 1, 2009
I remember the "youth swims" at the Hamilton , Ontario, Canada YMCA. They were held on Saturdays. Everybody was nude and they all enjoyed it. After all nobody was forced to swim naked at the Y. I remember it was the"natural thing" to do. The YMCA emphasized cleanliness---Showering and nude swimming was top priority> We had more than 60 males attend the youth swims and even the lifeguards were nude during these swims
susan

Hamilton, Canada

#44 Dec 1, 2009
A boyfriend of mine told me that they held nude water polo games at the ymca. Can someone confirm this?
rick

Hamilton, Canada

#45 Dec 2, 2009
I noticed the blogspot about the Hamilton CANADA YMCA. I took swimming lessons there in the 1960's as well and I remember that you had to be nude during the lessons, yet the swim instructors wore bathing suits. I was only 10 at the time, and when I think of this practice that was the norm at the time I believe it was rather bizare.It's almost like the instructors enjoyed the fact that we had to be nude and they didn't. I'm even sure that some of the staff enjoyed watching nude boys swim at that pool.
Ken

Hamilton, Canada

#46 Dec 7, 2009
I don't know what the big deal was or is about nude swimming at the YMCA in the 1960's and 1970's. No male was ever forced to swim in th nude at the Y pool and I can tell you that the YMCA facilities were fantastic places for males to enjoy themselves. I can recall the Saturdays where the moms would bring down their boys to the Hamilton YMCA. IT was fun. The boys would play volleyball, play basketball and swim nude in the pool. This was what YMCA's were famous for. The swimming lessons were first-class conducted by excellent instructors.The fact that the boys were not allowed to wear bathing suits during the lessons fascinates many people today , but back then this was the norm.
Pam

Hamilton, Canada

#47 Dec 7, 2009
I have a membership at the YMCA and I am amazed that the males swam in the nude at this same pool where I currently swim.It was certainly before my time. I heard about the stories of "nude swimming lessons" etc . and at first I found it hard to believe. Then again, a male member once told me "what's the big thing about swimming au naturel when the males are nude in the shower, after all it was an exclusively "all-male facility" in the 1960's. He told me the nude swimming rule was enacted by founders of the YMCA who felt that the"mind body and spirit" motto could be enforced that way and that males should have the cleanliness rule such as showering and swimming without swimsuits which may have carried bacteria.
Eddie

Hamilton, Canada

#48 Dec 11, 2009
Pam finds it hard to believe that there were "nude swim lessons" at the YMCA swimming pools. Well it was true. I was enrolled for swimming lessons at the downtown hamilton canada YMCA and before I entered the pool area a Y staff member informed me of the rules at the Y pool.{A group of boys along with me were ready to participate in the swimming lessons and had just put on our bathing suits) He was a friendly young guy and he said, "oh I see you boys have brought your bathing suits, well we don"t wear bathing suits at the Y" At first the boys were shocked, but this was the rule back then. The first saturday I was self conscious and I felt awkward. After all we were stark naked in the pool being taught by men who wore bathing suits, but as the weeks progressed I was so used to it I thought nothing of it.
the dude

New Orleans, LA

#49 Dec 12, 2009
So, the instructors wore bathing suits, but the kids weren't allowed to? Hmmmm, Sound kinda peder-ass to me, maybe the village people were onto something. To bad at that point in history people weren't really on the lookout for that kind of thing. Any argument that swim suits weren't healthy because they may carry bacteria is completely shot out of the water by the fact the instructors wore them. Maybe they had to,to hide wood.
mike

Hamilton, Canada

#50 Dec 14, 2009
I was a member of the Kiwanis boys club in the 1960's and I remember that as part of their activities they scheduled "swim in the buff" swimming. This would be a time where the boys club would rent the YMCA pool for an hour. These swims were held about twice a month. I remember the team leaders saying,"remember boys, it's swim in the buff, so no bathing suits are needed". What I found bizarre though was that the team leaders would join in the swims and we would play water volleyball etc., but they always wore bathing suits but we had to be nude.
mike

Hamilton, Canada

#51 Dec 14, 2009
I remember attending camp wanakita also roughly around 1964 and the swimming activities were always conducted in the nude.
coyote

Burgeo, Canada

#52 Dec 14, 2009
susan wrote:
A boyfriend of mine told me that they held nude water polo games at the ymca. Can someone confirm this?
Hey Susan- not sure about a YMCA but that was the only game we could play in jr. college- if your in a pool what else is there for a group of guys who really are not into swimming back and forth in the pool for 50 minutes. It was not great for us casual swimmers when our team had to be in the deep end of the pool- also- the girl instructors would let us off early as they understood we were not planning to be pro's and wanted to prepare for the next group whereas the male instructors made sure "an Hour is an Hour! Neat to look back at those times ! 4-sure we had to be naked or no merits !
Ernie

Hamilton, Canada

#53 Dec 21, 2009
The nude swimming at the ymca was a fantastic era! I enjoyed it immensely as did others.I participated in swimming lessons and the open recreational swims and nobody wore a bathing suit at that time.Today that would seem bizarre.
Ingrid

Hamilton, Canada

#55 Dec 22, 2009
The times have certainly changed. I heard about the YMCA swimming lessons where the boys had to be nude in the pool. I guess some instructors really enjoyed those days.Today something like that wouldn't be tolerated unless it was at nudist camps or resorts.
Ingrid

Hamilton, Canada

#56 Dec 22, 2009
I'm wondering why males were not allowed to wear bathing suits at these YMCA pools? Perhaps the rule was brought in order to fulfill some sort of voyeuristic thrill for the lifeguards and swim instructors who enjoyed seeing males swim in the nude.
coyote

Charlottetown, Canada

#57 Dec 24, 2009
We , who went through this experience of mandatory nude swimming for males cannot say for certain why it was that way, it was also mandated at a lot of schools and jr. colleges- I guess you must realize that it was not infrequent to have females in the area as well- not swimming but as we were told -they were there in their job capacities- whatever; we were brought up in an era that more or less told us it was okay for your gender to observe us but the opposite scenario was forbidden. Probably this was more often at the college pool versus the YMCA. Thoughts??
jim

United States

#58 Dec 25, 2009
I remember when swimming nude was commonplace not only at the "Y", but also at high school, boy's clubs, and many park district pools in the 50s. When I was in first grade, I took swimming lessons nude, and swam nude with my friends and their sons at the "Y" in the 60s. I believe that all ended when the women libbers got into the act. I wonder if any men tried to join the YWCA.
sam

Hamilton, Canada

#59 Dec 28, 2009
the practice of swimming in the nude at YMCA's was common because of the perception that there was nothing wrong or sexual about seeing members of the same gender in the nude especially in an indoor environment. It was just done at that time.
Tammy

Hamilton, Canada

#60 Jan 2, 2010
I would like to hear from parents who sent their boys to swim and partake in swimming lessons at the YMCA. Didn't they feel uncomfortable with the fact that their boys had to be nude when taking swimming lessons and swimming recreationally at the Y?
Ingrid

Hamilton, Canada

#61 Jan 6, 2010
I would like to respond to Tammy regarding whether the parents were comfortable with sending their boys to YMCA swim lessons:
I had both of my boys attend swim lessons at the Hamilton ontario Canada YMCA in the 1960's and I can tell you that the parents thought nothing of it. This was the thing that was done at YMCA pools in the 1960's. The YMCA was the leader in aquatics at that time and we trusted the YMCA to learn the boys how to swim. We didn't care if the boys were nude or not, after all there were only males allowed in the swimming pool in the 1960's.
Believe it or not I know many mothers who bragged about the fact that their son's took swimming lessons in the nude. It was a topic of discussion always, but of course were always those parents who said "what? I wouldn't allow my boy to be nude in a pool being taught swimmming lessons by men who wore bathing suits. So they didn't register their sons for swimming at the Ymca.

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