YMCA involvement in Morgan County goes back as far as 1905 when YMCA youth leadership programs were offered at Martinsville High School. The Morgan County YMCA was founded in 1961 following a recreational survey done by Indiana University. The organization grew out of the interest of the Jaycees and a group of businessmen.
William Schwab donated the first building which was moved to Cunningham hill in October of 1961. The following month the first officers were named: Harold Kemp, President, Wilbur Kendall, First Vice President, Mrs. Lee David, Second Vice President, Thomas Hursey, Secretary and John Holden, Treasurer.
In 1965, the Morgan County YMCA became a branch of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. Three years later the Board initiated a $450,000 fund drive to build a new building on a five and a half acre site just off State Road 37 behind the Armory. This building was dedicated as the YMCA of Morgan County in 1970. In 1974, the building was renamed in honor of the late Barbara B. Jordan, a former volunteer instructor whose family was influential in establishing the Y.
By 1979 the need for expansion was evident so the Board again launched a fund drive to add a fitness center, racquetball courts and an indoor running track. The Kendall Fitness Center was dedicated in 1982 in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Kendall.
An agreement between the local Board and the Board of YMCA of Greater Indianapolis led to the initiation of the independence campaign in 1996 and by 1998 Barbara B. Jordan Y began operating as an independent Y.
The beginnings of some of the key programs of the Y include the following:
- Y’s Owl Preschool in 1979
- Y Ball (youth basketball) in 1981
- Before and After School programs started in 1991 in Martinsville schools, 1992 in Mooresville and Monrovia schools, 2016 in Eminence.
- Home School Physical Education program in 2001
Renovation of the facility in 2010 eliminated the racquetball courts and running track to allow expansion of an area for free weights, fitness classes and cardio machines.
The Y continues to work closely with schools through grants to provide programs such as Join the Majority and Project 21. The Y strives to be the community center for Morgan County and a leader in Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.