George Williams was the Founder of the YMCA. In 1844, after becoming a devout Christian, he gathered a group of young men together for prayer and reflection. This simple act developed into the worldwide YMCA movement. By 1845 the YMCA was holding public lectures in rented halls and Sunday afternoon teas at Hotel Radley in London. By 1851 the YMCA had spread to 16 other cities in England, Scotland and Ireland. The YMCA movement reached the American shores in 1851, with the first YMCA established in Montreal on November 25 and the second in Boston December 29. By the time George Williams was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1894, the 50th anniversary of the YMCA, there were 5,000 YMCAs in 24 countries with 500,000 members. He died in 1905.
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