The beginnings of the German YMCA reach back to the foundation of the "Mission Jüngling"-organisation Barmen-Gemarke (a place in Germany) by the 16-year-old F. W. Isenberg in the year 1823.
George Williams founded the first YMCA in London in 1844. In 1848, the "Young Mens Organisation of Rhine-Westphalia" in Elbersfeld was founded as first district union.
In 1855, a first international conference in Paris adopts the so-called Paris Basis as foundation; the World Association of the YMCA is being founded.
In 1882, a first big gathering of the German Association of Young Men is taking place. The YMCA in Germany of today develops in this context. In 1883, the YMCA Berlin is founded.
Since the 60s of the 20th century, more and more women and girls take part in the work of the YMCA. This lead to a name change in 1985. Whereas the German YMCA used to be called "Christlicher Verein junger Männer" (which means "Christian Association of Young Men"), it is now called "Christlicher Verein junger Menschen" (which means "Christian Association of Young People"). The acronym YMCA stands for "Young Men's Christian Association".