The meaning and spirit that George Williams and his group of colleagues gave to the YMCA is still present. In fact, today it is more relevant than ever.
We can find it in our name: the YMCA and the words “Young”, “Christian” and “Association”.
Youth is our focus and as we empower young people we consider them not only leaders of tomorrow but real change-makers today.
By involving them in programmatic and governance initiatives, the YMCA continues to provide them the space, the tools, and the capacities for their personal development and positive social transformation. Just like on June 6th, 1844 when a group of young men led by George Williams founded our movement.
Christian is in the center of our name and shall also be at the core of the YMCA movement.
Because we are based on Christian principles, we shall act accordingly by developing initiatives that promote social justice, peace, solidarity, and opportunities with a special focus on those who suffer or do not have access to positive and growing opportunities. We seek a holistic development of each person in spirit, body, and mind.
Highlighting of Christian mission in an inclusive way was a priority set by our founders and shall also remain today.
Association was the chosen format for our fellowship and it is still real today.
It is a natural and effective link between our members, our governing bodies, and our management teams to deliver our values and actions. It also means the connection among persons and communities from different cultures and regions, making them part of the same collective project.
“That we may all be one” (John 17, 21) means unity, strength, and capacity to integrate and respond to the needs of individuals and communities.
Thank you and congratulations to all of you, YMCA friends around Europe!