It's hard to believe, but just over a century ago a major concern for women was finding a place to congregate outside the home, a safe spot to have lunch or even go to the bathroom. Women were supposed to exist in the private sphere, men in the public, thus the lack of woman-friendly facilities. When in 1890 the statewide Young Women's Christian Association held its convention in Minneapolis, participants stressed these needs, and the next year the first YWCA of Minneapolis was established in a second-story flat above a store downtown. A lunchroom and rest areas were highlights of the new space. Pretty simple stuff by today's standards, but an essential first step, and one that allowed the organization to eventually build a gymnasium and a cafeteria, begin programs for summer camp and pregnancy prevention for teens, and, in 1945, open the first racially integrated pool in the Twin Cities. Today the Minneapolis YWCA continues to empower women and girls and works to eliminate racism. It's perhaps best known for its three fitness centers, including an indoor water park in Midtown. Plus, the organization offers child care that includes both swimming lessons and an anti-bias curriculum. As a gym member, your dues help carry on the tradition, so you can accomplish a more than just an increased heart rate while you're working that elliptical.