The Y's first real home on Mount Desert Island was on the corner of School Street and Mount Desert Street, pictured here. This building is now the home of the Abbe Museum.
Many of our older members have fond memories of this place. After all, it was here that hundreds of island residents were first introduced to a long list of new activities.
Swimming classes began in 1908
Billiards was first offered in 1908
Youth Debate Team was first offered in 1908
Football began in 1916
Wireless Radio group was first offered in 1920
Tennis was first offered in 1920
Volleyball began in 1921Wrestling was first offered in 1922
Gymnastics began in 1922
Boy Scouts began in 1922
Circus Acts (performers) were first offered in 1924
Bowling Alley was built in 1924
Collaboration with the CCC began in 1933
Entertaining visiting servicemen began in 1917
School Academic Support was first offered in 1947
The Y provided support during the 1947 Fire
Little League Baseball began at the Y in 1952
Summer camps began in 1975
Perhaps in single most significant event in the history of the MDI YMCA was the collapse of the roof over the pool in March 1994. An accumulation of wet snow and rain caused the support structure to give way during the very early morning hours. No one was in the building at the time and no one was injured. The damage was so complete that even the surrounding walls were condemned and the entire wing of the building that contained the pool had to be torn down for safety reasons.
The Downeast YMCA in Ellsworth stepped up and graciously offered the use of their facility during off hours as a temporary solution. The Ellsworth Racquet and Fitness Center (now the Life Christian Academy) also helped out by each offering their pools.
For three years the entire aquatics program operated when and where possible with no home of its own. Many a cold winter morning, swim team parents all over Mount Desert Island woke their children up at 4:30AM so they could catch the 5:00AM bus to Ellsworth for practice. It is an extraordinary testament to the strength and dedication of the coaches, parents and swimmers that the Sharks swim team program not only survived these dark days, but flourished in them.
Pool Roof collapses in March 1994
Fund Raising for new YMCA 1994 - 1998
Y moves into new building on Park St. in 1999
In 2007, Y purchases two adjoining properties to allow for expansion, if necessary
At the center of the community . . .
For over ten decades the MDI YMCA has been at the center of health & fitness, sports and recreational athletics on the island of Mount Desert. We've helped train five generations of young men and women to win gracefully, lose with dignity and, above all, enjoy the satisfaction of a personal best effort. Our success can be seen of the faces of our members.
Our members are everywhere . . .
One out of every three people who live in Bar Harbor belong to the MDI Y. Over 400 school age children from all over the island, enroll in the Y's swimming and gymnastics programs each year. The MDI Y provides four separate and unique programs of child care and nationally, YMCA's provide more child care than any other organization. Our Y is so ingrained into the daily lives of so many folks here on MDI, it is difficult to imagine life without it