YMCA had its beginning at Kottayam in 1888 at a time when the YMCA movement was spreading with remarkable rapidity throughout South India and especially in the erstwhile States of Tranvancore and Cochin, under the direct supervision of Christian missionaries or at the suggestion of Missionaries. Although such an organisation was formed in 1888, no trace of it remained after a few months of its starting.
The present Young Men's Christian Association of Kottayam was started in 1892, when David Mc Conaughy, Secretary of the Madras YMCA and National Council of YMCAs of India visited Kottayam. A meeting of persons desirous of forming a YMCA at Kottayam was held at the C N I Hall, (the present C M S College High School), Kottayamon 19th August that year. Rev. S. W Organe, A . J. F Adams, J. Thompson, E. Bellerby, T. I Kurian, A. K Varkey, T. K Benjamin, M. M Varghese, T. M Thomas, senior students of the C M S College and the C N I, and many others attended the meeting. Following a Hymn and Prayer, Mc Conaughy spoke at length on the need and the method of working the YMCAs as evangelistic units for Christ and the Apostolate. Twenty persons among those present expressed their willingness to become members of the Kottayam YMCA. At Mc Conaughy's, suggestion, a Sub - Committee was constituted with the primary objective of drawing up a suitable Constitution for the YMCA. The following were the members of this Sub Committee:- The Rev. J. Thompson - President
The Rev. T. I Abraham - Member
Mr. P. J Abraham - Member
Mr. T. K Kuruvilla - Member
Mr. T. K. Benjamin - Secretary
A meeting of this committee held on 28 - 9- 1892 drew up the draft Constitution, salient of which were as follows : - "The name of the Association shall be 'The Young Men's Christian Association of Kottayam.' The object shall be to promote the spiritual, mental, social and physical welfare of young men, Christian fellowship among its members, and agressive Christian work, especially by and for young men. The members of this Association shall be young men of not less than 15 years of age, and shall be classified as 'active and associate'. Any young man who is a member in good standing of a Christian Church may be an active member. Active members only shall have the right to vote. Any young man of good character may become an associate member, associate members shall have all privileges of active members but not the right to vote and hold office. Members may be elected at any regular meeting by two thirds vote of the members present provided their names should have been proposed at a previous regular meeting. The membership fee shall be eight annas per year, payable quarterly in advance. The officers shall be a President, Secretary and Treasurer, chosen by ballot by the active members at the annual meeting to serve for one year or until their successors are elected. The officers shall compose the Executive Committee which shall have general management of the affairs of the Association. The Executive Committee shall report to the Association at each regular meeting. If any vacancy occurs in the office it shall be filled by ballot at the next meeting of the Association. No debt shall be incurred by the Association".
A general meeting of the members was held in the C N I on Friday the 30th Septemeber 1892 with Rev. J. Thompson in the chair. The draft Constitution drawn up by the sub committee was read clause by clause and the constitution of Kottayam YMCA was adopted by the general body. The sub committee, having satisfactorily completed the objective for which it was constituted, tendered its resignation. The general body, thereafter, elected the following as The first office bearers of the Kottayam YMCA.
Rev. J. Thompson, M A - President
Rev. Bellarby, B A - Vice President
Mr. T. K Benjamin, B A - Secretary
Mr. T. K Kuruvilla, B A - Treasurer
Appointment of Vice President was not provided for in the draft Constitution, but included at the suggestion of the general body. The meeting also authorised the constitution of the following committees by the President, as provided in the Constitution :- Membership Committee, Religious Meeting Committee, Invitation Committee, Visitation Committee, Missionary Committee, Junior Departmental Committee. Each Committee elected its own Secretary. The first year's activities consisted of religious meetings once each a month. The first devotional meeting was held on Monday 3rd October 1892 when Bishop Edward Noel Hodges of the Anglican Church spoke on the need of culture for body, mind and spirit.