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


23rd November 2018

Our 7th National General Secretaries Forum was held in Minsk, Belarus, October 28-30, with 21 participants.

Most agenda items were agreed during the NGS meeting held at the General Assembly in Hintersee (Germany) in May and the planning team formed by Juha Virtanen (Finland), Robert Feith (Netherlands) and Juan Simoes (Secretary General) added other relevant topics following the implementation of our Strategy 2016-2020.

Therefore there were sessions directly related with our strategic pillars :

  • Creating Spaces,
  • Movement Strengthening,
  • Representation & Advocacy.

The NGS Forum is one of the “working spaces” that we are emphasizing as a key platform to advance the strategy and an opportunity for National Movements´ representatives to share and agree on technical aspects. It is not a govern body and it does not set policy but the contents and inputs are very useful for our executive and staff as we continue implementing the actual plan. An example is the new approach to Movement Strengthening which was presented by Olga Lukina and Paul Smillie with an emphasis on the new role and structure of YERT (YMCA Europe Resource Team), including the proposals for the health check system for National Movements read more about this, here).

In terms of Representation and Advocacy, an evaluation of the achievements and challenges of the Brussels office was presented by Ilenia Ventroni, including the project proposals that have been presented during the past two years in cooperation with National Movements. Leigh Daynes, the new CEO of Y Care International presented the frame and concept of the work that this platform is approaching. The meeting also included best practice sharing on branding, a session on YMCA175 event with Mike Bromfield (Event Manager) joining by skype, information about the 2019 General Assembly by Alexandra Box (France) and updates on programmes both at the national and European levels.

Being hosted by YMCA Belarus was definitely a highlight and we learned more about their reality and initiatives through Secretary General Alexander Drachuk, the National Board and team, including an inspiring cultural exposure of all participants to Belarus.

We are deeply thankful to YMCA Canada and the support provided one more year to this key Movement Strengthening initiative and to YMCA Belarus for hosting the meeting with warm hospitality and providing all needed arrangements to our Staff Team in such an efficient way.