HISTORY OF YMCA
The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was established in London in 1844 as a prayer and bible study group. At the outbreak of war the YMCA turned its pastoral experience to providing support for servicemen. By October 1914, 400 large marquees had been erected in Britain, and public appeals were launched to fund the building of large wooden huts to provide rest and recreational facilities. In November 1914 the YMCA worked with the British Expedionary Force to establish the YMCA in Havre, expanding into further centres in Rouen, Boulogne, Dieppe, Abbeville, Etaples, Calais, Dunkirk, Abancourt, Paris, Marseilles, Trouville and Cherbourg. By 1918 over 300 YMCA centres had been established in France. Most camps featured a canteen, chapel, concert hall, library, games room, classroom, and a quiet room. The centres were staffed by approximately 1,700 volunteers; many were women coordinated by the YMCA Ladies Auxiliary Committee under Helena Vicotria, Princess of SChleswig-Hoisten (1870-1948)and volunteers from Britain’s religious community.