History

We’re here for everyone…

history

The Connection’s culture reflects the diversity and values of the participants we serve. For our 5,000 members who range from six months of age to over 95 years, it doesn’t matter what their economic, racial, occupational, and cultural background is – The Connection belongs to them. It is their community. We are proud to be a home away from home for all our members.

Long before our official incorporation in 1922 as the YWCA of Summit, the spirit of The Connection began in the early 1900’s as a movement of caring and perceptive women who worked for collective changes to improve individual lives, families, and society as a whole.

In 1998, to better respond to the unique requests and requirements of our immediate community, our organization left the National YWCA and was re-named The Connection for Women and Families. We are now known simply and inclusively as The Connection. While our name has changed, the life and mission of the organization remains the same, and we continue to grow and respond to meet the changing needs of the greater Summit area.

What continues to distinguish The Connection is our ability to develop and tailor programs and services which take into account the needs and concerns of our members. Our rich tradition of providing much needed community service programs such as serving newcomers to our country, physical rehabilitative patients, and differently-abled children and adults, underscores our purpose of meeting the needs of many diverse constituencies. In addition, The Connection offers a Scholarship Program, which assures that anyone can participate in our programs, regardless of their economic circumstance.

Connection members and nonmembers alike recognize and appreciate The Connection’s social impact. Throughout our history, we have consistently been at the forefront of community service and positive change:

  • 1920s   Organized the first clubs for girls and business women
  • 1930s   Led the way in racial equality
  • 1940s   Started providing English as a Second Language classes for displaced persons following World War II
  • 1950s   Offered programs for mothers and young children
  • 1960s   Held community forums on race, world hunger and juvenile justice
  • 1980s   Established the Heart-to-Heart cardiac rehabilitation program in cooperation with Overlook Hospital
  • 1990s   Extended the scope of our youth and adult enrichment opportunities. Pioneered comprehensive programs for children with special needs and collaborated with Our House to provide social opportunities for adults with special needs
  • 1994    Partnered with Overlook Hospital and The Resource Center for Women to create Pathways, to provide direct support, education and wellness programs for women with cancer
  • 2000s   Coordinated with Summit Public Schools to support working parents by offering AfterSchool care and kindergarten enrichment in both primary centers, all elementary schools, and new for the 2017-2018 school year, for LCJSMS students
  • 2015    Spearheaded “When Working isn’t Working” community leadership forum
    with the Junior League of Summit to raise awareness and support for fellow
    residents who are economically at-risk
  • 2018    Joined with local organizations to address food insecurity in our immediate
    area, and to combat hunger, housing, and homelessness
  • TODAY  Our diversity is our strength

Building History 

The original YWCA resided in a white house located on our current property.  After 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 September 2011, we embarked on a new era of serving the community with a newly renovated and expanded facility. This building expansion included an enhanced Fitness Center, new locker rooms, a larger, inviting lobby, additional classrooms and multi-purpose rooms, and an interior elevator.

Our modern facility offers a simultaneously relaxing and energizing environment where members can participate and enjoy a comprehensive selection of fitness, wellness and enrichment opportunities.

Our innovative programs ensure opportunities are available to all and the Scholarship Fund keeps The Connection accessible to all with need.