Princeton YMCA

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Jump Shot Campaign 3The story goes that in 1891, at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA, a young Jim Naismith struggled with "a rowdy class which was confined to indoor games throughout the harsh New England winter" and "thus was perpetually short-tempered." Directed by his supervisor Dr. Luther Gulick  who was the head of Physical Education, Naismith was given fourteen days  to create an indoor game that would provide an "athletic distraction." According to legend, Gulick demanded that this game would not take up much room, could help its track athletes to keep in shape and explicitly emphasized to "make it fair for all players and not too rough."

As a result, the first game of "Basket Ball" was played in December of that year. In a handwritten report, Naismith described the circumstances of the inaugural match; in contrast to modern basketball, the players played nine versus nine, handled a soccer ball, not a basketball, and instead of  shooting at two hoops, the goals were a pair of peach baskets. Naismith wrote:

"When Mr. Stubbins brot [sic] up the peach baskets to the gym I secured them on the inside of the railing of the gallery. This was about 10 feet from the floor, one at each end of the gymnasium. I then put the 13 rules on the bulletin board just behind the instructor's platform, secured a soccer ball and awaited the arrival of the class... The class did not show much enthusiasm but followed my lead... I then explained what they had to do to make goals, tossed the ball up between the two center men & tried to keep them somewhat near the rules. Most of the fouls were called for running with the ball, though tackling the man with the ball was not uncommon."

Jump Shot Campaign 2


One of America's most popular sports was invented to keep an otherwise lively and sometimes disruptive group of young men focused on an activity that was positive and productive.

Naismith and Gulick believed that "fair and not too rough" physical activity was an ideal conduit through which lessons of fair play, sportsmanship and leadership could be taught and developed. And today, here at the Princeton Family YMCA, these same lessons hold true. We use basketball and other forms of physical activity in our Dodge Gymnasium as tools to empower and teach children and young adults positive values, discipline, and other skills to be their best selves.

From the end of February through March 2015, the Princeton Family YMCA will conduct a modest capital campaign to refurbish the Dodge Gymnasium which has not had any major improvements since 1972, when it was originally constructed. Our goal is to raise $30,000 to purchase wall pads, basketball backstops with height adjusters, new winches, and two new scoreboards. These additions will help to strengthen and grow participation in our YMCA programs, and expand our reach to kids most in need of support and encouragement.

The Dodge Gymnasium was dedicated in 1972, more than 40 years ago. Since then, no major investment has been made in the space -- until December 2012, when the floors were refinished. In the fall of 2012, the YWCA Princeton decided to suspend its gymnastics program and offered the YMCA the use of its half of the gym - Gym B - which had previously been dedicated entirely to its program. This gave the YMCA an opportunity to open up the gymnasium to full-court basketball for the first time in twenty years to the community.

In Phase I, completed recently in September, we removed the original dividing doors which hung from the ceiling. Heavy and cumbersome, they scratched the floors and were breaking down on a regular basis. In October, we replaced the doors with a walk-draw curtain, now standard for gyms, which is much easier to manage.

Phase II, to be funded by this campaign, will include the replacement of the scoreboards which have not worked for decades, replacement of the original backboards and winches which will allow for height adjustments (critical for a YMCA gym which serves children and adults), and the installation of new wall pads to ensure safety of members and players, particularly now that the full court can be used, as well as replace older, outdated pads.

Scoreboards by Fair-Play
Remove and dispose of two existing scoreboards. Provide and install two new Fair-Play scoreboards with wireless receivers and two controllers with battery backup and carrying cases.

Wall Pads by Mancino
Thirty-seven permanent wall pads, 2' wide and 6' high.

Basketball Backstops
Remove and dispose of four existing wood backboards and goals. Provide and install four manual height adjusters and four new rectangular glass backboards with bolt-on edge pads and torq-flex goals.

New Winches
Remove six existing manual winches and install six new manual winches.

Winch Operator
One electric winch operator for manual winches.

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