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A Look Back In Time

Harold Keltner and his friend Joe Friday

Harold Keltner and his friend Joe Friday

Around a simple campfire, two men engaged in deep conversation, reflecting carefully on the events of history and how they were affecting the integrity of the family and quality of life.  It was 1926, a time of great fascination with the culture and way of life of American Indians.  Joe Friday, an Ojibwa Indian, told his friend Harold Keltner, a YMCA director in St. Louis, about the spiritual relationship of father and son in his culture.  Friday described the father’s active role in the rites of passage for the young son, as both became friends forever.  Keltner was exhilarated by the discussion and felt he had received a wonderful gift.

Inspired by his friendship with Joe Friday, Harold Keltner created a new YMCA program and gave birth to a remarkable tradition.  The father-son program spread like wildfire across the nation in the 1950s and became known as the Y-Indian Guide program.  As years passed, the program evolved.  Today, YMCA Adventure Guides captures the intent and magic of the original program – a deepening bond between parent and a child.