The YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City has been a part of Oklahoma City as long as it has been a city, all 125 years.
The Y has been involved in some of OKC’s most important historical moments like the Great Depression, the Civil Rights era and the women’s rights movement.
To commemorate its role in the community, the YMCA called on veteran journalists Jack Money and Steve Lackmeyer to write a book about its history, Cornerstone: The YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, 125 Years. The limited edition book describes the YMCA’s role as a mirror that has reflected the city’s history over the years, Lackmeyer said.
Throughout a four-year process of extensive outlining, archival research, 10 in-depth interviews and plenty of late nights at IHOP, the writers, who met as journalists in 1990, produced a historical volume full of lighthearted and funny moments as well as Shakespearian-esque drama.
“Cornerstone really tells it all,” Lackmeyer said. “You realize when you look at the YMCA: mind, body, spirit. That triangle is a cornerstone in itself of everything they’ve done. We’ve seen them play this pivotal role in helping keep our young people on the right track by providing quality of life, by providing a spiritual outlet for folks, by being there as a city group, by sharing our struggle in the Civil Rights era ... They’ve been a cornerstone.”
And the YMCA will continue to serve this necessary role in the community.
YMCA’s Chief Operating Officer Kelly Kay said the organization will continue to reach out to new areas of the community in order to strengthen services and adapt to its changing needs.
“We try to have as many different touch points for families. We have a lot of different opportunities where we can impact the lives of kids and families in our communities,” Kay said.
Across Oklahoma in 2013, the YMCA served 416,937 members and provided $2.2 million in financial assistance to almost 22,000 people in order to ensure that every family had access to the Y.
Cornerstone is the fourth book the authors have written together. They wrote books about Oklahoma City’s revitalization, the Skirvin Hilton Hotel and the history of Devon Energy Corp.
“We’re very appreciative that the YMCA chose us to tell [its story] and trusted us to tell it,” Money said.
Cornerstone: The YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, 125 Years is available at ymcaokc.org.