The Young Men’s Christian Association, popularly known as YMCA, was founded on 6 June 1844 by Sir George Williams in London, with the aim to put Christian principles into practice by developing a healthy body, with wide mind and fresh spirit. It is a worldwide organization based in Geneva in Switzerland, with more than 64 million beneficiaries from 120 national associations.
From its inception, it grew rapidly and ultimately became a worldwide movement, focused on the development of the young generation, through a wide variety of youth activities, which includes, apart from promoting Christianity, to provide athletic facilities, holding classes for a wide variety of skills and actively taking part in humanitarian works. Along with its female counterpart (YWCA), it also aimed to provide low-cost housing in a safe Christian environment for the rural young men and women journeying to the cities.
The first YMCA was founded in London on the 6th of June 1844 and by 1851, there were YMCAs in the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States.
After more than a century of its inception, the Young Men's Christian Association of Calcutta was founded in 1847. Much later, its tall building came up on 25A Chowringhee Road, subsequently renamed Jawaharlal Nehru Road, in 1902. After the completion of the dignified structure, the inaugural lecture was delivered by the Reverend AH Bowman was on 'Alcohol, Science and Christianity'. Apart from providing a social and sporting meeting place and clubhouse, it also included the facility of accommodation for the foreign residents of a Christian background as well as missionaries. While it lacked the splendour and the associated arrogance of the other British clubs, its clubhouse became well known with its symbol ‘Y’.
During WWII, the YMCA building became a favourite entertainment centre for the American troops posted in the city. Today, the building houses Hotel Seacom Inn YMCA, which is a safe and comparatively cheaper place to stay in the heart of the city, for those who study or work in Calcutta. The YMCA Seacom Inn offers a buffet or vegetarian breakfast and a paid airport shuttle service. Among the other facilities offered to the boarders, there is a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and a shared kitchen, along with free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
The rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV. The accommodation also provides room service, an ATM and currency exchange for guests. However, it is complained by many that, apart from its locality, it has nothing to boast about.