YMCA’s have been caring for the needs of children of all ages since the 19th century. Once public schools were in place, the Y began developing affordable before and after school child care programs in the 1960’s. Over the years, getting children ready for elementary school became a higher priority as well as helping children to learn at their own pace.
Prior to 1998 a local church, which was a registered ministry, provided after school care for area Bluffton families. In 2010, the church decided to end their program of child care ministry. This left a void in the community as parents had very limited options for a formal education setting for children to learn and grow while working parents fulfilled their responsibilities on the job. The community need was met by the local YMCA when they constructed the new Caylor-Nickel Family foundation YMCA with an Early Learning Center inside which became home to the Wells County Early Learning Center in January of 2015.