Our Y’s History

A Strong History of Building Community

The YMCA of the North Shore is comprised of seven local YMCAs dating back to the 1850s, beginning with the Salem YMCA. In 1994, when the Beverly Regional YMCA merged with the Cape Ann YMCA, our association started developing and strengthening a sense of community across the North Shore. The Salem and Marblehead/Swampscott YMCAs joined our association in 1999, officially creating the YMCA of the North Shore. With the combined resources of four YMCAs, our newly formed association invested in a property in Ipswich, launched a capital campaign and built a new YMCA. The building opened in December of 1999; bringing the number of local Ys in our association to five. Numerous renovations and additions took place over the years to add space and amenities to all five YMCAs.

In 2006, the Haverhill YMCA joined the YMCA of the North Shore, growing our service area to 25 cities and towns. The Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA project also broke ground that year and the new building, which replaced the Marblehead/Swampscott YMCA, opened in December of 2008. Other projects included the opening and renovation of several spaces for teens in Gloucester, Rockport, and Beverly, as well as a childcare center in Haverhill, which opened in 2012. The Plaistow Community YMCA and its Early Education Center were added in 2014. In 2021, we opened a brand new state of the art YMCA to servce the entire Cape Ann community.

Providing affordable housing to North Shore residents is also a core component of our YMCA’s mission. In 2010, the much-anticipated Powder House Village project in Ipswich broke ground and in 2011 Cabot Street Homes located in Beverly was completed and Holcroft Park Homes in Beverly began construction. More recently, the Cabot YMCA was renovated to provide homes to 67 residents. More than 500 community members now call our YMCA affordable housing, home. With the opening of our brand new facility in Gloucester, we are now able to transform the former building downtown into the John J. Meaney senior affordable housing, which will provide 44 units of much needed senior housing in Gloucester.

The YMCA of the North Shore has set an ambitious course for the future, with over 100,000 members and participants; our YMCA is poised to create positive change in the communities we serve for decades to come.