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Dixon YMCA: Strengthening the Community for 143 Years


There’s one thing these past few months have taught us. Whether it’s helping others during economic hardship, delivering food to your sick neighbor or listening to those who have suffered injustice, our strength is our communities. And a pillar in any community is your local YMCA.

The Dixon Family YMCA has been part of the community for 143 years. “We’ve been listening and responding to the community for decades helping bring positive change,” says Andrew McFarlane, Chief Executive Officer at the Dixon Family YMCA.

The YMCA started in 1844 in London when George Williams saw the perils of life on the streets for young men. Williams wanted a positive Christian-based place for these men to gather for positive activities and to uplift their spirits.

Since then the Y has brought people together and bridged the gaps in community needs. “The Y has local presence and global reach. We mobilize local communities to effect lasting, meaningful change,” adds McFarlane.

The Dixon Family YMCA timeline:

  • In 1872, the YMCA began at the present-day Basil Tree Restaurant.
  • In 1894, the YMCA was officially chartered and began operating at the corner of Galena Avenue and Third Street.
  • Late 1930s, the Y closed its facility but kept programs and services going with the available room at the old Dixon National Bank by Henry Hey.
  • Late 1960s, The Y had a resurgence of support and acquired the property at the present-day location on Galena Avenue.
  • In 1998, a capital campaign and expansion of the building occurred. Added childcare and health and wellness programs.

The Dixon Y has survived many historical events and community challenges, and the Y has become a cornerstone of the community. The Y serves individuals of all ages, backgrounds, income levels and religions. McFarlane adds, “We could not achieve all of this without the generous support of our donors, volunteers and the community. We serve more than 6,000 people each year in our aquatic, childcare, day camp, youth programs and health & wellness programs. Thank you for making the YMCA such an integral part of our community.” #YForAll #ForABetterUs

Dixon Family YMCA
110 N. Galena Avenue
Dixon, Illinois 61021