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History and Mission

Our name has a story, and our purpose is to be here for good.

For more than 150 years, the YMCAs of Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo, the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph, and the YMCA of Stratford-Perth have served our communities. In 2020, we officially unified and became the YMCA of Three Rivers, allowing us to continue showing up for our communities where and how they’ve needed us most.


The Three Rivers name was inspired by the history and legacy that rivers played in each of our communities, including the Avon, Grand, and Speed Rivers. Much like the Y, rivers are places of connection. They bring people together. They unite. They foster growth and well-being. Across our communities, this is what the Y has worked to do. And, in unifying, it is our goal to continue doing this — to show up where and how our communities need us most, and work to meet current and emerging needs — well into the future.

Like the rivers that inspired us, we’re never the same place twice. Each time you come to the Y, you’ll see familiar faces and meet new ones. You’ll engage in programming you know, and perhaps learn about something new. Through it all — the ebbs and flows of your life — in all three regions, like a river, it’s our goal for the Y will be a constant point of reference for you.

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Our Mission  


Our purpose as a charity is to make our diverse communities healthier and more vibrant. With dignity and respect, our programs and services inspire individuals to reach their full potential. 


Our Vision  


We aspire to build connected and resilient communities. We are working to be a leader in challenging systemic bias and barriers by creating and providing equitable access to individuals and communities to support their emotional, mental and physical health, and overall well-being. 


Our Values 


EQUITY — we recognize that everyone has different experiences and needs and will work to provide the appropriate resources and/or support.     


INCLUSIVENESS — through a strengthened sense of community, we foster a safer environment in which we respect, encourage, and engage individuals of diverse perspectives and backgrounds. We appreciate the beauty that diversity brings to the YMCA of Three Rivers and our communities.    


ADVOCACY — we stand up, speak out and defend individuals’ and communities’ rights to have their voices heard, in order to effect change to create a more equitable society.    


HEALTH & WELLNESS — we are committed to fostering the holistic health and well-being of all people at all ages and stages of life. We nurture people’s ability to attain better emotional, mental and physical health, and well-being, fostering personal growth and bringing enthusiasm and vitality to everyday life.    


ACCOUNTABILITY — we exhibit integrity, fairness and sincerity in both our words and actions. We are responsive to our communities through the relevance of our choices and the quality of our actions, commitments, and services.    


EMPATHY — we treat all individuals with compassion and dignity.     


RESPECT — we acknowledge our shared humanity and the inherent value and dignity of all individuals. We show respect by actively listening, hearing, and responding to individuals as they are. We take a people-first approach, wherein all individuals are respected as they are and for who they are. 


Our Guiding Principles  

We are STRONG — strengthened by the diversity of our teams, we are committed to building communities where there is no place for stigmatization and intolerance.  

We are SAFE — through a strengthened sense of community, we encourage personal growth through a commitment to listening, learning and continually working to create a safe and inclusive environment. 

We are CONNECTED — through outreach we put our people and community first by listening, responding and adapting to their needs.

Our Commitment to Safeguarding Children and Youth


Safeguarding children and young people is our highest priority at the YMCA. We want them to feel safe and be safe at the YMCA, in their families, and in their communities.


YMCAs in Canada have collectively committed to the safety and protection of all children and young people participating in all aspects of our programs. The National Child and Youth Safeguarding Initiative is the YMCA’s coordinated effort for ensuring safety standards in our programs through ongoing policy, training, supervision requirements, reporting protocols, and facility controls.

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