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


1st December 2014

Representing 26 YMCA movements in Europe, a total of 38 persons met in London at YMCA Europe´s 3rd National General Secretaries Forum from the 24th to the 26th of November 2014.

This platform has become a strategic working space for YMCA Europe as we continue implementing our 2011 - 2016 Strategic Plan.

The initiative was supported by YMCA Canada one more year as it is a clear example of movement strengthening with a pan European perspective.

This year´s meeting was attended by 23 NGS´s plus representatives of Bulgaria, IKE (Transylvania), Y Care International, World Alliance of YMCAs, the "Roots for Reconciliation" team and YMCA Europe´s YES network, together with part of our Staff Team led by Secretary General Juan Simoes Iglesias. Ed Eggink, YMCA Europe´s President, shared about the work developed by the Executive Committee in the past months and updated the participants on key aspects related with our governance with an impact on our Member Movements.

The main goals of this 3rd Forum were :
- Updates and further agreements based on presentations and discussions at previous NGS´s forums.
- Sharing best practices with a focus on Movement Strengthening.
- Identifying relevant programmes with a pan European perspective.

The agenda focused on three elements which are crucial for strengthening movements at all levels : Governance, Management and Communications. Peter Crory (Scotland), Pedro Fueyo (Spain) and Kath Mills (England) shared their inputs on those 3 topics. The presentations were followed by group work and best practices sharing. A session on "Youth Empowerment and Change Agents in Europe" was led by Sarah Simmank (Change Agent, Germany) and Andre Kpodonu (YES Board Chair, England) including a workshop focusing on future steps of the programme in Europe. Liam Preston (England) updated the participants on the representation work that he develops at the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe on behalf of YMCA Europe. Ian Green, representing the World Alliance of YMCAs, spoke about the implementation of "OUR WAY Strategy" after last summer´s World Council in Estes Park when it was unanimously approved. Vardan Hambardzumyan on behalf of YMCA Europe shared about the evaluation procedure of the present Strategic Plan and several presentations from Ukraine, Germany, Russia, Latvia, France and Scotland about relevant programmes and initiatives completed the agenda. There was also time to express YE´s gratitude to Michal Szymanczak after more than 15 years serving at our regional organization and wishing him all the best in his new tasks as part of the World Alliance team in Geneva.

We are deeply thankful for the warm hospitality of YMCA England and its President Peter Jeffrey, Secretary General Denise Hatton together with Jason Stacey (Director of Policy, Research, Communications and International, YMCA England) and Ken Montgomery.

A very special note of gratitude to the Indian YMCA Student Hostel in London and its Secretary General Mr Thomas Abraham for their outstanding contribution and support. We enjoyed the sincere hospitality of the staff at ISH. The food and atmosphere reminded us that we were living in a piece of India located in the heart of London!

And, again, thank you to our colleagues at YMCA Canada for their outstanding support.

The 4th NGS Forum will take place in Rome, Italy on November 23-25, 2015. Save the dates!

Full photo galley in high resolution available here.

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