Clio Logo
YMCA of the Rockies: Art and Nature Inspire! Public Art Walking Tour
Item 4 of 8
This is a contributing entry for YMCA of the Rockies: Art and Nature Inspire! Public Art Walking Tour and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
This piece was installed outside the Administration Building in the spring of 2014 to commemorate the International Conference of the YMCAs held at the Estes Park Center in July of that year. The International Conference has been held in the United States three times and YMCA of the Rockies has had the distinction of hosting the event twice, in 1981 and in 2014. During the 2014 conference, delegates from almost all 119 countries gathered at the Estes Park Center. In the summer, the globe rotates and appears to float in a small pool of water. Visitors are encouraged to interact with it, feeling the water and rotation of the piece. Even though today the piece appears to be a stone ball, when originally installed, the ball had the markings of a globe to honor the people from YMCAs all over the world. With the constant rotation and interaction by visitors the markings have worn away. However, the piece continues to commemorate the spirit of unity across the international YMCA associations. The globe can also serve as a celebration of our international guests and staff. Every year, people come from all over the world to visit YMCA of the Rockies. We even have an international training program where individuals from many different countries can come to learn to work in hospitality and business. Where do you live? How did you get to YMCA of the Rockies? What's your connection to this place?

Globe with markings present

This image shows the globe shortly after its installation. The globe is dark gray with light outlines of the continents. It rotates in a small pool of water as children interact with it.

YMCA delegates at the first World Conference

This is a black and white image of ten men at the first World Conference of YMCAs. Three are sitting in the front while the rest stand behind them. All the men are wearing dark suits with bowties.

“We ordered the globe statue from a firm in California. I had seen and photographed a ball spinning on water in St. Petersburg, Russia, when we visited in 2013. Then I saw a much larger one in Boulder along the 28th Street Mall. An intern in the marketing department researched it for us, and found one in California that had not been sold.” -Kent Meyer, Former President/CEO of YMCA of the Rockies.

When asked what attracted him to the spinning ball, Meyer said “Seeing a spinning stone ball on a thin film of water fascinated me... but the globe seemed an ideal monument for our hosting of World Council Meetings.”

The YMCA was founded in 1844 in England by George Williams with the objective of improving the spiritual lives of young men flooding into the cities from rural communities. Concerned that these young men had lost their close-knit community and family ties, Williams set up meetings for young Christian men to participate in Bible study, prayer meetings, and mutual improvement societies. Within ten years, the YMCA had made its way over to the United States, with the first YMCA in the U.S. starting in Boston in 1851, and throughout West Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and India (the former British Empire). Eventually, the movement spread to 119 countries where today YMCAs reach and serve approximately 64 million people globally.

Henry Dunant, the general secretary of the Switzerland YMCA developed the idea of creating a more unified global movement with an international headquarters. Dunant convinced the YMCA in Paris to organize the first world conference in 1855 with 99 delegates from nine different countries. From that first conference, the Central International Committee was created, with permanent headquarters established in Geneva, Switzerland in 1878. From there, the Central International Committee became known as the World YMCA.

Delegates from all of the participating countries meet every three to four years in a different location around the world for discussions on “promoting empowerment, social justice, and peace for young people and their communities through four key areas – health, employment, civic engagement, and environment.”

YMCA History, World YMCA. Accessed September 21st 2020.