The Spirit of the Y by Jane DeDecker

Bronze sculpture celebrating 100 years of the YMCA

Art Detail

  • Title: The Spirit of the Y
  • Artist: Jane DeDecker
  • Location: 2120 95th St at the Fry Family YMCA
  • Medium: Sculpture
  • Description: Bronze sculpture celebrating 100 years of the YMCA
  • Plaque Text: In a scene repeated frequently at joyful gatherings, four children dance to the 1978 pop song "Y.M.C.A," -- spelling out each letter with their bodies and capturing the spirit of fun and teamwork that the Y represents. Dedicated in honor of the YMCA's 100th anniversary of serving children and families in Naperville, the sculpture bridges several generations of the organization's history. The artist depicts the children in a progression of fashions and hairstyles representing the past 100 years -- from the early 1900's attire and 1930's fashions to 1960's bell-bottom pants and more recent sportswear with a backpack in tow. The youngsters are playfully enjoying the out-of-doors while displaying their creativity. The community spirit and volunteerism that is seen in Naperville today was also evident 100 years ago, when the first local YMCA building was built here, after a group of determined townspeople organized. It was their intent to build a fully equipped YMCA although no other town with Naperville's small population (4,000) had such a facility. They raised over $26,000 in just 15 days and laid the cornerstone on Memorial Day in 1910 on Washington Street, with the building being dedicated on March 26, 1911.

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