The organisation has introduced a new logo in the US and says it plans to spend $1.3m in 2010 on “brand revitalisation”.
The name change is part of a wider strategic rethink that will see it focus on three core areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
Kate Coleman, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for YMCA of the USA, says: “We need to talk about what why we do what we do, so those three core areas were really a way of reframing what we do, so you can understand what the impact is that we’re trying to have.”
The organisation was formed 166-years ago as the Young Men’s Christian Association but became better known firstly by its acronym YMCA and latterly by its street name The Y.
It became synonymous with gay culture and was forever immortalised following the Village People’s (pictured) 1979 hit that spoke of the “fun” that could be had at the YMCA.
The group’s original lead singer, Victor Willis, has issued a statement saying that the new brand name will not affect the song’s title or the dance that is associated with it.
A spokeswoman for YMCA England says it will not rebrand.