Y’sdom had its beginning at a time when the luncheon club movement was spreading rapidly in the United States. The Rotary Movement had started in Chicago in 1906. The Exchange Club followed in 1913 and Kiwanis,Lions and other Movements came in the next few years. There were attempts to form similar clubs in connection with the YMCA. These were not successful until in October 1920, a young attorney in Toledo, Ohio, Paul William Alexander, tried to capitalize on the luncheon idea. Seventeen ardent volunteer YMCA workers formed a Booster Club within the Toledo YMCA and called it TOLYMCA Club. Paul William Alexander saw in the sentiment of this group a splendid opportunity to consolidate the enthusiasm of these YMCA workers. When the number grew from 17 to75, he brought about a constitution and the suggestion that the name be changed to Y’s Men’s Club. The idea grew rapidly. The first club outside the United States was organized in Sydney, NovaScotia, Canada. Paul Alexander, who later became a judge, felt the time was opportune to make the movement truly international and called a meeting of representatives of all the Clubs in November 1922, in conjunction with a YMCA conference in Atlantic city.
The International Association of Y’s Men’s Clubs was born, with Judge Alexander as first International President. The name of the association and its motto were adopted at this conference and, in a very short time the movement spread to many countries. Already in 1924, the first club outside North America was formed in Shanghai, China. Paul William Alexander was responsible for the Constitution, Motto and Emblem of International Association of Y’s Men’s Clubs.
In 1973, Head Quarters of Y’s Men International was shifted from Oak Brook, near Chicago, USA to Geneva, Switzerland, where World Alliance of YMCAs is also situated.
The motto of Y’s Men is “To acknowledge the duty that accompanies every right”. Y’s Men adopted this motto because of the tendency of most people to insist upon full enjoyment of their rights while remaining oblivious to the corresponding duties giving validity to such rights. The motto is a constant challenge to Y’s Men to pay less heed to the enforcement of their rights and more to the discovery and discharge of their corresponding duties — to transfer the emphasis from rights to duties.
The Y’s Men’s Emblem consists first of a Red triangle, the symbol long employed by the YMCA to denote its three fold programme of Spirit,Mind and Body building. (ie. Spiritual, Mental and Physical growth). In the upper border of the triangle appears the word “INTERNATIONAL”, indicative of the international scope of our purposes transcending cast, creed, race and nationality. Within the triangle, there is a golden star sheds rays of light on a large blue letter “Y”. This star symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem. Just as that star served as a guide to the Wise Men of the East, so shall this golden star, which also represents the ideals of our club, serve as a constant guide to the Y’s men of today and lead them to a true realization of the nobility of unselfish service. The map of the world below the triangle is indicative of its global nature. The word “since 1922” indicate the birth of the movement.
As an identity, all Clubs are expected to have their own flags. This is being followed by all Y’s Men’s, Y’s Menettes, Y’s Lings & Y’s Youth Clubs. Club flags are displayed in a prominent place, like dais, podium etc during official meetings of clubs. Flag presentation by clubs is a colourful ceremony during Inter club meetings, District Conferences and Regional Conventions.
However, one drawback now seen is the non-uniformity in style/colour/ size etc and absence of a standard for the flags. Hence a uniform standard is suggested below for club flags, which may be standardized and followed by existing and new clubs. A 12X12 cm square patch near the bottom of the flag can be used for painting/printing picture of a proper identity for the Club, the identity having a bearing on the locality/community etc.
The International Association of Y’s Men’s Clubs is a world-wide fellowship of persons of all faiths working together in mutual respect and affection, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, and with a common loyalty to the YMCA, striving through active service to develop, encourage and provide leadership to build a better world for all mankind.
The objectives of the Association are:
A. To encourage, promote and foster organisation and maintenance of affiliated clubs throughout the world.
B. To co-ordinate activities of all affiliated clubs and provide training materials and personal leadership development.
The objectives of the affiliated clubs are:
A. To function primarily as service clubs for the YMCA.
B. To support other worthy organisations.
C. To encourage justice in civic and international affairs, abstainingalways from party politics.
D. To keep members informed on and actively involved in religious, civic,economic, social and international matters.
E. To cultivate good fellowship.
F. To support International, Area and Regional projects of theAssociation.
Y’s Men International founded by Judge Paul William Alexander in 1922 in Toledo in USA, soon spread to many countries like Canada, Australia and even China. During 1922, there were 17 Clubs in 2 countries, In 1932 it rose to 150Clubs in 12 countries, In 1984 it was 1173 Clubs in 59 countries. Now, the Movement is spread to 73 countries with 1,613 clubs and 28,549 members as per February, 2015 report from IHQ. Male members of the movement are known as Y’s Men, Wives of Y’s Men are called Y’s Menettes. Women can also become full members, and they are called Y’s Women. Children of the members are called Y’s Lings (mainly in India). Y’s Men International is promoting ‘Y’s Youth Clubs’ in which any youth (need not be children of members) can become its member. Youth Clubs are expected to spread the message of our Movement among youth in general, through their contribution to the society. This will help youth to realise the role, activities and value of our Movement. This is expected to prepare the youth to join our Movement, when they become self-dependent.
In some countries where English is not spoken, it is very difficult for people to understand why we call ourselves “Y’s Men” when the Y.M.C.A. is known as KFUM, UCJG, CVJM, ACJ, IMKA, etc. There have been several attempts to find a more universal name, but one has yet come up with a better alternative, and even when women were admitted as full members in the movement in 1974, it was decided to retain the word “Men” as it also stands for “Mankind”. The pronunciation of the word Y‘s is the same as for the word “Wise” and sometimes this causes some confusion. We do not pretend to be especially wise, but as the Three Wise Men from the East were guided by the same Star of Bethlehem, so are the Y’s Men of today guided by the similar golden star (see the star in our emblem) in searching for ways and means of unselfish service.
The first Y’s Men’s Club in India Ceylon Region was started in 1931 at Colombo, followed by Lahore (now in Pakistan) in 1936, Madras (Esplanade)1940, Bangalore 1942, Secunderabad 1945 and Ernakulam 1950.