„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


13th October 2016

26 participants representing 22 European National YMCAs met in Setubal, Portugal (October 3-5) at YMCA Europe´s annual National General Secretaries Forum.

This platform established in 2012 has become a key working space for the European YMCA movement, facilitating effective networking and the implementation of our Strategy.

Hosted by YMCA Portugal and YMCA Setubal, the NGS´s followed an agenda that included discussions and agreements about YMCA Europe´s Operational Plan 2017 following the strategic priorities of the Plan adopted at the General Assembly held in Madrid last May. Another element in the programme was the presentation of different models "health check systems" models for National Movements and proposals to implement this crucial aspect within our "Movement Strengthening" strategic focus. A report about the first seven months since the opening of YMCA Europe´s Advocacy, Projects & Fundraising office in Brussels was also presented with an emphasis on the findings, opportunities for National YMCAs and next steps. The participants were also consulted about the methodology and expected outcomes of an organizational review process within YMCA Europe as expressed in the adopted Strategy 2016-2020.

The final session included a reflection about the relations between the National Councils/Offices and the local YMCAs finding common trends and challenges. The draft of a survey about the reality of the European National YMCAs was presented for discussion. Updates and general information about the Roots for Reconciliation project 2017-2018, YMCA Europe´s Event 2019 and the Change Agents programme for the next two years, were also shared.

Secretary General Juan Simoes Iglesias, together with Ilenia Ventroni, Advocacy, Projects & Fundraising Officer and Marius Pop, Projects and Communications Manager, introduced the different agenda items and led the Forum. The daily devotions and opening thoughts plus a total of 12 inspiring stories about young persons that have recently experienced the positive impact of the YMCA across Europe, completed the programme of the Forum. The final report will be shared among all YMCA NGS´s in Europe.

We want to especially thank our hosts YMCA Portugal and YMCA Setubal for their unforgettable hospitality. Gil Correia, President and Luis Sebastiao, Secretary General, together with their Board and staff team, were the perfect hosts and we felt at home since we arrived in Lisbon airport until our departure.

Our President Mike Will opened the Forum in an inspiring way and shared "how crucial this annual meeting is for YMCA Europe as we implement our new Strategic Plan". YMCA Portugal recognized our immediate past President Ed Eggink for his contribution to bring back this National Movement to the European YMCA family. The Major of Setubal, Maria das Dores Meira, the Board, volunteers and staff of the Setubal YMCA attended the welcome dinner to all participants hosted by this local YMCA after a visit to the Bela Vista YMCA center.

YMCA Europe is especially thankful to YMCA Canada for its continuous support to this annual meeting which main objective is to strengthen the European YMCA movement

OBRIGADO to our great hosts in Portugal.... And congratulations for the way you share and practice the YMCA mission!

Save the dates for the 6th NGS Forum. 2-4 October 2017 in Kassel. Thank you YMCA Germany for your kind invitation!!

Foto album

5th NGS Forum

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