Our Story

Turning the hearts of the Father to their children and the hearts of the children to their Fathers. -- Malachi 4:6

The YMCA Indian Guides Program was developed in a deliberate way to support a father's vital role as teacher, counselor and friend to his son. The program was initiated by Harold S. Keltner, Director of the YMCA in St. Louis. With the help of his friends – Joe Friday, an Ojibuway Indian and William H. Hefelfinger, chief of the first Indian Guides tribe – Harold organized the first tribe in Richmond Heights, Missouri in 1926.

The Y-Indian Princess Program was an outgrowth of the Indian Guides Program. It enabled fathers and their daughters to participate together in a variety of activities that nurtured mutual understanding, love and respect. The first Y-Indian Princesses Program was formed in the Fresno, California YMCA in 1954. Today, as then, the Princess Program affords a wonderful opportunity for the concerned and busy father to facilitate growth in a daughter's development and an understanding of the world around her. The father's role nurtures his daughter in developing self-esteem, confidence in her peers and appreciation for the differences in people and families.