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World YMCA Newsletter - 1 June 2022

In 5 days’ time, on 6 June, the global YMCA family will remember the day in 1844 when George Williams assembled 12 men above a draper’s shop in London – and the YMCA was born.

In 32 days’ time, on 3 July, the same family will meet in-person in Aarhus, Denmark and online, as it comes together for the 20th YMCA World Council. We expect 1000 people in person, and up to double that number online.

Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow!  'If you have faith as a small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you' (Matthew 17, 20).

Empowered and impassioned by his Christian faith, George Williams later told John R Mott, the World YMCA President who was to win a Nobel Prize in 1946: ‘We had one thing in mind, and that was to bind our little company together in order that we might the better lead our comrades to Christ'.

From that single-minded aim has grown a Movement which now reaches over 60 million people a year, in 120 countries. The YMCA’s work is anything but done. The Movement which he founded has changed massively over the years, and must change some more to remain relevant in the 21st Century, and in a world which needs the YMCA more than ever. 

As I reflect on the great man and his legacy, I ask where the new George Williamses will come from? Is the YMCA a nurturing ground for people of passion and vision? George gave us the YMCA, so let the modern-day YMCA give us more Georges! 

And when I look at the verse of Scripture that inspired him (... ‘that all may be one’, from John 17, 21), I look to YMCA Vision 2030 as the road map which can continue to allow us – in all our diversity – to be one.  It’s our first and biggest item of business at World Council in a few weeks' time.  

178 years later, we stand on the shoulders of giants, but we can still nurture our own - new - giants. We have a passion and a vision for a better world, and we know how to achieve it. See you very soon!
Carlos Sanvee, Secretary-General, World YMCA
World Council begins in 32 days

Registration for the in-person event closed yesterday, and for the online event it closes on 20 June. Speakers are confirmed, programmes are fixed, tickets are booked, and a final communication will appear on 20 June with a full Guidebook summarising all that attendees need to know. Whether you join us in-person and online, or even if you catch up in almost real time after the event, you are warmly welcomed at the biggest event in the global YMCA calendar. We'll adopt strategy, put flesh on goals, select new leaders, celebrate successes, share challenges, and simply enjoy being together after four hard years. 

World Council News #7, 25 May
Visit the World Council website

Global Youth Mobilization plans its Phase 2

The leaders of the world’s biggest youth organisations – together with their youth counterparts on the Global Youth Mobilization Board – met in Geneva on 11-13 May, and looked back over 18 months in which the GYM has launched youth-led Covid response projects in 80 countries, engaging 200,000 young people and supporting a further 800,000.

They announced a renewed partnership with the World Health Organization, and set out plans going forward. More
The World YMCA Youth Member on the GYM Board, Loris Tarazi, looked back on the meeting. More

Building bridges of peace in Ukraine

The horror of the war in Ukraine continues, and YMCA continues to help those still in the country and those who have fled. A World YMCA and YMCA Europe team was on the Ukraine/Romania border over the River Tisa on 7 May. They also saw the reception centre at Sighet which has welcomed some 50,000 Ukrainian refugees since 24 February. More

Election candidates announced
World YMCA has announced the names of candidates running for election to its Executive Committee for the period 2022-2026. Elections will be held over the two days 5-6 July, within the 20th YMCA World Council. It has received candidatures for the position of World YMCA President, Deputy-President and Treasurer, as well as for the 11 available positions of World YMCA Executive Committee member. Read the Nominations Book, which includes biographies, photos and short videos recorded by each of the candidates. More

Join us for five information webinars on World Council, on 7, 8, 10, 14 and 21 June.

  1. ‘Meet the Candidates’ (3 Officers: President, Deputy President, Treasurer) – Tuesday 7 June at 14:00-16:00 Geneva/CEST time – register here
  2. ‘Meet the Candidates’ (11 Executive Committee members) – Wednesday 8 June at 14:00-16:00 Geneva/CEST time - register here
  3. Instructions for all voting delegates – Friday 10 June at 14:00-16:00 Geneva/CEST time - register here
  4. Information webinar for all in-person participants - Tuesday 14 June at 14:00-16:00 Geneva/CEST time - register here
  5. Information webinar for all online participants – Thursday 21 June at 14:00-16:00 Geneva/CEST time - register here
120 National YMCA Movements across four Regional Alliances, North America and the Middle East, reaching some 65 million people a year
See here a listing of all YMCA National Movement social media handles and addresses, all over the world
News from the Area Alliances
YMCA Executive Professional Master
YMCA’s first Executive Professional Master is here. The program is organized in partnership with ISCTE Executive Education Lisbon, and will offer a double certification: a Post-Graduate Diploma in the Management of Civil Society Organisations, and an Executive Professional Masters Certificate. More 
Research report: ‘Shaping digital inclusion & safety in a post pandemic world’ 
Between August 2021 and January 2022, some 450 people from across Europe shared their opinions and insights as we researched the effects of Covid-19 on digital youth work. The question: ‘how has the pandemic shaped digital inclusion, safety and wellbeing?’ The report is now available online. More
The YMCA Africa Alliance marked Africa Day (24 May) by asking everyone to join together in solidarity with all Africans to strengthen food security, and put nutrition within reach of every person. More
Asia Pacific

World YMCA Asia Pacific Board Member Nagako Okado shares her Zero Waste Act. Join in every third Friday of the month by posting your own Zero Waste Act on Facebook. More  

Latin America & Caribbean

Leaders from YMCAs in Colombia and Peru, together with the YMCA Latin America and Caribbean partner Hello Insight, met in Bogota to discuss a tool for measuring social and emotional learning in young people, aimed at improving curricula. More

“The YMCA is a lighthouse. Its mission is to shine.” Meet David Newman, a pastor in Lebanon, Ohio, USA. He  has just published a book on George Williams, who at 22 founded the first YMCA, in London in 1844. The Shining Light: The Man, Mission, and Movement of the YMCA weaves the Williams story with the story of the Movement. More
YMCA Siderno in Italy is back outside again with a new and colourful playground - and some mini Basketball players🏀⛹🏽 More
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