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


29th May 2019

103 delegates from 23 countries gathered at YMCA Europe´s General Assembly held in Centre Azur, a YMCA France venue in Sanary sur Mer.

As we start the last year of our present Strategy (Towards 2020), the GA was planned focusing the future of our working platform and its alignment with the new World YMCA strategy taking into consideration the social context in Europe. Therefore we had keynote speeches by Carlos Sanvee, (Secretary General of World YMCA) and Bob Gilbertson (CEO of YMCA World Urban Network) followed by group work sessions which purpose was to identify aspects applicable to YMCA Europe in the next strategic period.

Presentations from our new Movement Strengthening Committee (by Paul Smillie and Olga Lukina) and the Communications Group (represented by Vojtech Ralek, Jason Stacey, Dalibor Perasin and Marius Pop at the GA), were also useful for the group work sessions led by Executive Committee members.

In this respect over 40 initiatives and proposals were collected by the facilitators of the 7 tables and discussion groups. A summary of this input was presented by Juan Simoes Iglesias, Secretary General as part of his 2018-2019 report to the General Assembly.

The Executive Committee led by President Mike Will planned this process as first step to build the first drafts pf the upcoming strategy. A message shared by Mike Will encouraging all delegates to provide input to the next plan and the leadership of Vice President Stepan Cerny and Treasurer Beate Turck in different governance sessions were highlights in this important annual meeting which also included several constitutional amendments proposed by the Executive Committee and YWCA-YMCA Denmark.

The other relevant session was an update on the YMCA175 event organized by YMCA Europe in London in partnership with YMCA England & Wales, World YMCA, YMCA USA and World Urban Network. Kerry Reilly (Project Director) and Mike Bromfield (Event Manager) shared the latest news with a focus on the programmatic fields led by the different leaders involved in the event. Devotions were led by Diana Zarembiene and Silvia Lazaridis with inspiring messages connected with the themes of each working day.

A new Nominations Committee was elected and the roadmap to the 2020 Executive Committee elections was set with Günter Lücking serving as Chair of this governance body. Elections were explained and facilitated by Ed Eggink (on behalf of previous NC) who also delivered a presentation of the development of YMCA Europe´s group “Work with Refugees”.

Paul V. Thomsen represented Y´s Men Europe and he shared greetings on behalf of this partner organizationJulie Watkins (YMCA of the Rockies at the US) and Tanis Cochrane (from YMCA Calgary in Canada) represented both national YMCAs as key partners of YMCA Europe and shared messages of greetings taking part in all sessions.

Delegates at the GA had the chance of planning side meetings. The National General Secretaries and the YMCA175 Steering Group also had working sessions during the weekend. Before the GA specific meetings of SYRUS (support group for YMCA Russia) and International Secretaries took place.

The outstanding and unforgettable hospitality of YMCA France and YMCA Centre Azur in Sanary really made a difference in this GA.  We want to share our deep gratitude with Bernard Marion (President), Hervé de la Morsangliere (Vice President and President of Centre Azur) and Alexandra Box (Secretary General). Together with Centre Azur Director Frédéric Andreu, they were wonderful hosts making all of us feel at home. The work and support provided by YMCA France was crucial in the success of the GA.

Merci beaucoup !!!!

We look forward to our General Assembly in Brussels next May 21-24, 2020 !!!

For full photo album in HD - click HERE