Over 110 people from 40 countries attended this year’s General Assembly which was held in the YMCA Training Centre in Litomysl, Czech Republic May 12-16). The theme of the conference was “Now!”. It was the last in a series of three General Assemblies where we have concentrated on Resource Mobilisation. The theme was intended to reinforce the urgent need for all YMCAs to become better at raising resources to ensure their sustainability into the future.
Our key note speaker was Ken B Colloton, immediate past Chair of YMCA of the USA and current Chair of the International Committee of YMCA of the USA. Ken helped us to think about long term strategic planning. Workshops offering practical advice and training on fundraising, impact assessment and public relations/websites/annual reports were well received.
One session enabled attendees to work in small groups to create a “wish list” for the next YMCA Europe Strategy covering the period 2011 – 2016. This will be the major theme of next year’s Assembly and this session enabled a high degree of participation into the early thinking about the shape and direction of the strategy.
Whilst all participants worked hard to make best use of the limited time together, including very many meetings of partners who work together to develop YMCAs, there was time for less serious fellowship. One half day was dedicated to visiting local tourist attractions. The last night was the cultural evening which started in a beautiful local church with organ and singing recitals followed by sampling of locally produced food and drink at a nearby hostelry, ending with a disco! We also took the opportunity to wish our Secretary General Johan Vilhelm Eltvik good luck in anticipation of his forthcoming move to the World Alliance of YMCAs.
This was a successful Assembly and feedback from participants has been very positive. Thank you to those who attended and we look forward to seeing you all at our next General Assembly 1- 5 June 2011 at Ernst Sillem Hoeve, The Netherlands.
President, YMCA Europe