Empowering Integration through Sports: YMCA Europe Mission in Poland and MONSTERS Warszawa’s Inspiring Journey
For the second consecutive year, YMCA Europe Mission in Poland and MONSTERS Warszawa – a sports club dedicated to children – has been passionately driving forward its Polish-Ukrainian integration program.
This endeavor stands as a shining testament to the collective commitment, dedicated supporters, and the community, all working tirelessly to offer valuable educational experiences to the city’s children, regardless of their backgrounds.
The program encompasses an array of after-school activities, educational events, and diverse camps designed to foster integration. With coordination and financial support from YMCA Europe, the program’s quality and its profound impact on the community have consistently ensured funding for successive projects.
On the 17th and 18th of October, Warszawa hosted a conference organized by Field Group Ukraine, a collective dedicated to supporting YMCA initiatives in Ukraine. This gathering drew together 19 participants from various countries, among them Carlos Sanvee, the Secretary General of World YMCA, and Juan Simoes Iglesias, the Secretary General of YMCA Europe.
The Field Group participants eagerly embraced the opportunity to visit a location where activities for refugees were in full swing. The venue of choice was the Karuzella Educational Center, one of six sites in Warszawa where the integration program is actively transforming lives.
While the entire Field Group couldn’t be accommodated due to space constraints, the 47 individuals present made for an engaging and energetic crowd. However, it’s essential to note that this vibrant event was just a snapshot of the 120 children and their families who regularly attend these activities, underscoring the pressing need for more substantial spaces.
However, these after-school activities represent just a fraction of our efforts. An excellent example is the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Training Camp held between August 26th and 29th in Lipno, Poland, which drew a remarkable 46 participants.
The heart of the event lay in the genuine interactions. Attendees had the privilege of observing a typical sports training session, and more significantly, the chance to connect with Polish and Ukrainian children, their parents, and young instructors.
The occasion proved invaluable for showcasing the YMCA’s existing activities and the vast potential for future developments, which extend well beyond sports. It also served as a significant catalyst in the journey to establish a new YMCA movement in Poland, closely aligned with YMCA Europe’s mission in the country.
The following day, key figures from the YMCA held a productive discussion with the Secretary General of YMCA Europe. This dynamic conversation set the stage for a series of strategic steps to be jointly undertaken by both parties in the coming months, marking an exciting phase in the development of the new YMCA in Poland.