The Young Women’s Christian Association, an international movement that began in the United States to benefit women and girls, can trace its beginning in Licking County back to 1912. Mary Miller, a Probate Court juvenile officer, started classes to benefit girls. With the help of other women in the community, they began offering services at the old Fifth Street high school gymnasium. The group was chartered as part of the YWCA in 1913.
After moving several times and having funding difficulties, the YWCA was closed in 1919. A new YWCA would open in 1930 based on a school-based program with about 85 members that was called the Girl Reserve Club. The new administration of the Girl Reserves was called the Women’s Council.
In 1942, after the Women’s Council was reorganized as the YWCA Board, the YWCA was reopened to women and girls at its new location at 22 N. 2nd Street. The new location was donated to the YWCA by Mrs. Charles Seward.
After a major fund drive in 1964, the newly named Licking County YWCA (formerly named the Newark YWCA) dedicated its newest building on March 23, 1969 on West Church Street. The building housed an indoor pool, 32 rooms, and plenty of space for meetings and activities.
Some of the many programs offered over the years included those for preschool students and seniors including Meals on Wheels as well as over 250 physical education classes. The YWCA served as a community meeting and activity center for over 80 local groups. As of 1984 the YWCA had a staff of 23 and over 3,200 volunteers.
In 1999 the YWCA disclosed that it was having financial difficulty. In May 1999, the pool was closed. The doors of the Licking County YWCA were permanently closed in the summer of 2000.
- Janice Myers and Janice Greider, “Buildings Marked Path of YMCA [sic] History” The Advocate (Newark, Ohio), April 8, 1984.
- L. B. Whyde, “Auction of YWCA Building To Mark End of Era” The Advocate (Newark, Ohio), September 2, 2001.