History

We’re here for everyone…serving the community since 1919

history
The Connection has been serving individuals in Summit and its surrounding communities for over 90 years. Since its inception in 1919 as the YWCA of Summit, when it rented rooms to young working women, the organization has grown and responded to meet the changing needs of the community, with particular emphasis on the needs of girls and women. Throughout its history, The Connection has consistently been at the forefront of community service and social change:

  • Organized the first clubs for girls and business women in the 1920’s and 1930’s
  • Led the way in racial equality in the 1930’s and 1940’s
  • Provided English as a Second Language classes for displaced persons following World War II
  • Offered programs for mothers and young children in the 1950’s
  • Held community forums on race, world hunger and juvenile justice in the 1960′ s and 1970’s
  • Established the Heart-to-Heart cardiac rehabilitation program in cooperation with Overlook Hospital in the 1980’s
  • Expanded AfterSchool Enrichment courses and programs for children and youth with special needs in the 1990’s
  • Strengthened our collaboration with the Summit BOE, offering afterschool care and kindergarten enrichment during the 2000’s.

Today, The Connection serves over 5,000 women, men and children through a variety of programs and services.  The Connection is well known for its excellent aquatics and fitness programs. Classes are offered for all ages, and are filled with girls and boys as young as six months to senior citizens in their nineties. Within both the aquatics and fitness programs there are classes for those with special needs, many of which are not available elsewhere.

The Connection’s commitment to community service programs is particularly outstanding. By serving newcomers to our country, physical rehabilitative patients, and children and adults with special needs, The Connection meets the needs of many different constituencies not reached by other agencies. We have a rich tradition of providing much needed community service programs such as English as a Second Language, special needs swimming and recreation, AfterSchool Enrichment, cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation and support services for women with breast and gynecological cancers. In addition, The Connection offers a Scholarship Program, which assures that everyone can participate in our programs, regardless of their economic circumstance.

The original YWCA resided in a white house located on our current property.  When the house was destroyed by a fire, the oldest part of our current facility was constructed in the 1940s.  The pool and locker rooms were added in 1967, and the gymnastics facility added in 1997.  In 1998, our organization left the National YWCA and was re-named The Connection for Women and Families.  While our name changed, our programs, services and mission remained the same.

In September 2011, The Connection embarked on a new era of serving the community with a newly renovated and expanded facility. Our most recent building expansion, which includes a new Fitness Center, locker rooms, lobby, classrooms, multi-purpose rooms and an interior elevator was completed at that time. The new state-of-the-art facility offers a relaxing, fun and energizing environment where members can participate and enjoy aquatics, gymnastics, dance, fitness, performing arts, sports, music classes and much more.

From our beginnings in the 1900’s, The Connection has been the place in our community where everyone can participate and feel welcome. We have shortened our name in 2016, but our long history of making a difference in the lives of so many will continue!