West Cook YMCA Oak Park Office Location



In 1844, George Williams founded the first YMCA in Industrial Revolution-era London. He sought to create a supportive community to help young men like himself address pressing social challenges. The idea found a home in the U.S. seven years later at the Old South Church in Boston. The last 180 years have seen the Y's mission grow exponentially, and today the Y engages more than 10,000 communities across the U.S. As the nation’s leading nonprofit, the Y is committed to empowering people to reach their full potential, to improving well-being, inspiring action, strengthening communities, and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to become healthier, more confident, connected and secure. 

What began as a refuge for young men, the Y evolved to offer English as a second language, physical education, USO for National Defense, and childcare. The YMCA invented group swim lessons, basketball, racquetball, and volleyball. It also influenced the Peace Corps, Camp Fire USA, and the Boy Scouts of America. For more about the history of the Y movement, click here.


Founded on December 31, 1902, the Oak Park YMCA and the first meeting of the Board of Directors was held to elect officers. The Oak Park YMCA building was dedicated in 1904 and at the time, the swimming pool building was the second largest in the country behind Chicago Central YMCA. Physical education for both men and women was provided along with dormitories with 85 rooms and 107 beds. The current facility was dedicated in 1954. In the early 2000s, the Y changed its name to the West Cook YMCA to encompass the nine additional communities it serves surrounding Oak Park which includes Forest Park, River Forest, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park, Maywood, Bellwood, Stone Park, River Grove, and Franklin Park.

Today, the West Cook YMCA continues to fulfill its promise to strengthen the foundation of our communities with mission-based programs that meet the needs of today’s youth, families, adults, and seniors. We encourage, teach, and demonstrate the YMCA character values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility in all programs.

About West Cook YMCA


The West Cook YMCA, rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition, is dedicated to developing the spirit, mind, and body of all persons through quality leadership, programs and services, in cooperation with community groups for the common good.


The Y is made up of people of all ages and from every walk of life working side by side to strengthen community. Together we work to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, ability, cultural background, faith, gender identity, income, national origin, race, or sexual orientation has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential with dignity. We share values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.


The Y’s commitment to America is to raise new generations of change makers who are capable of creating the kinds of communities we all want to live in. Through a heightened focus on youth, the Y will help more young people grow into thriving adults who can transform communities into places where everyone feels welcome and safe and has equal access to opportunity. We offer programs to strengthen spirit, mind, and body for all, we strive every day to make the community stronger. We believe every child deserves a safe place to learn and play, every adult should have access to tools for healthier living, and communities must have opportunities to give back. As a cause-driven organization, we are focused on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility- and we never turn anyone away for inability to pay.