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What is a Naismith Legacy Alliance Partnership?

Dr. James Naismith’s legacy is directly tied to the YMCA, for that is where he was assigned the daunting task of inventing a new game which one his students named Basket Ball. Naismith lived a very unique life and left great life principles based on biblical precepts to live by. But, not many people know the way he lived or his full story, especially when it comes to the connection with the YMCA. The “Alliance” not only promotes the history and mission of the YMCA, but also uses the platform of the world wide—deep history of basketball to communicate the overall message.

Naismith Legacy Group is on a mission to provide a new way of thinking about youth sports in order to change perception, mind set and behavior as well as to promote the Naismith /YMCA story as a major grass roots movement and to challenge & educate players, coaches, parents and officials.

How Does Naismith Legacy Alliance Partnership Work?

This simple but meaningful partnership begins with your YMCA agreeing to sign your name on a commitment card stating your YMCA will take a stand and commit to being counted as a “Game Changer” by joining an “Alliance” with Naismith Legacy Group’s mission of helping others to think differently about youth sports, by helping to restore the game back to its roots. Then we will contact you to discuss the next step, which start with a Naismith Days Event at your facility. Together we will advance and strengthen the heart of youth sports within our community with the goal of, “leaving this world a better place for having been here.”
Dr. James Naismith

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Why Do We Partner with the YMCA?

Since its humble beginnings in London in 1844, YMCA has aimed to put Christian principles into practice by developing a healthy “body, mind and spirit”. That lofty goal has produced over 2700 YMCA’s boasting over 22 million members just in the United States alone.

The YMCA was founded by George Williams, a draper who was typical of the young men drawn to the cities by the Industrial Revolution. He and his colleagues were concerned about the lack of healthy activities for young men in major cities. The options available were usually taverns and brothels. On 6 June 1844, he founded the first YMCA in London with the purpose of “the improving of the spiritual condition of young men engaged in the drapery, embroidery, and other trades.” By 1851, there were YMCAs in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and France.

In 1855, ninety-nine YMCA delegates from Europe and North America met in Paris at the First World Conference of YMCAs for the first time before the 1855 Paris World Exposition. They discussed the possibility of joining together in a federation to enhance co-operation amongst individual YMCA societies. This marked the beginning of the World Alliance of YMCAs. The conference adopted the Paris Basis,[4] a common mission for all present and future national YMCAs. Its motto was taken from the Bible, “That they all may be one” (John 17:21). Other ecumenical bodies such as the World YWCA the World Council of Churches and the World Student Christian Federation, reflected elements of the Paris Basis in their founding mission statements. In 1865, The Fourth World Conference of YMCAs, in Germany, affirmed the importance of developing the whole individual in body, mind and spirit. The concept of physical work through sports, a new concept for the time, was also recognized.

Two themes resonated during the council: the need to respect the local autonomy of YMCA societies, and the purpose of the YMCA: to unite all young, male Christians for the extension and expansion of the Kingdom of God. The former idea is expressed in the preamble:

The delegates of various Young Men’s Christian Associations of Europe and America, assembled in Conference at Paris, the 22nd August, 1855, feeling that they are one in principle and in operation, recommend to their respective Societies to recognize with them the unity existing among their Associations, and while preserving a complete independence as to their particular organization and modes of action, to form a Confederation of secession on the following fundamental principle, such principle to be regarded as the basis of admission of other Societies in future.

In 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian-American, invented basketball while studying at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts (later to be named Springfield College). Naismith had been asked by Dr. Gulick to invent a new game in an attempt to interest pupils in physical exercise. The game had to be interesting, easy to learn, and easy to play indoors in winter. Such an activity was needed both by the Training School and by YMCAs across the country. Naismith and his wife attended the 1936 Summer Olympics when basketball became one of the Olympic events.

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