Almost 100 delegates from 26 national YMCAs plus guests and representatives of partner organisations met in Aarhus, Denmark (July 1-3) for YMCA Europe’s General Assembly.
After more than two years meeting online due the effects of the pandemic, our main governance body was able to gather its members person just prior to the World Council led by World YMCA also in Aarhus.
The response from the member movements of both umbrella organisations was outstanding, showing their commitment with the global Vision 2030 and our European Strategy 2021-2026.
The 2021 reports were formally presented and received at the General Assembly, including updates on the Strategy’s implementation with a focus on our actions under the “Relevance, Representation, Relationship and Resilience” strategic objectives.
A new pillar was added as an expression of YMCA Europe’s actions in response to the war in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis across Europe. Therefore a fifth strategic pillar under the title “Response” was formally adopted.
An overview of the 2022 budget adapted to this new goal was also presented together with the 2023 budget which was unanimously approved by the members.
The General Assembly also included three different sessions in the format of panels. The presidents and secretary generals of World YMCA and YMCA Europe were interviewed about the activation and implementation of Vision 2030 at the national and local levels with a special emphasis on the alignment between the global and regional umbrella organisation.
After the panel the General Assembly delegates discussed in groups and identified ways to facilitate Vision 2030 activation at all levels.
One of the highlights was the testimony of the representatives of YMCAs directly affected by the conflict in Ukraine and the role that their YMCAs are playing in the different contexts.
Best practices about the actions in Ukraine and the neighbouring countries were presented during an interactive session where also the rest of delegates took part. YMCA Europe in cooperation with its partners in Europe and beyond plays a crucial role in coordinating the actions, disseminating information about the developments on the ground in addition to the mobilisation and administration of resources.
The last session focused on Movement Strengthening with an open discussion about the factors that make a YMCA successful in terms of good governance, impact of initiatives, clarity of mission and sustainability facilitated by specialists in this field that partner with YMCA Europe and our members.
“Voices” was the common frame for the daily devotions, connecting our YMCA Mission and Vision with the socially relevant issues affecting Europe and its young people today.
The agenda also included elections to renew several positions at the Executive Committee and several presentation about the upcoming events like our 50th anniversary celebration next year in Berlin, updates on the programme groups alignment with Vision 2030 and the Strategy, a new digital initiative under our Communications strategy and the UNIFY Conference taking place in Vienna in October.
Performances from Ukrainian Opera singers and a group with Lithuanian & Ukrainian musicians contributed to the programme filling the atmosphere with inspiration and unforgettable memories.
Our President Emma Osmundsen, the Executive Committee and the Staff Team express their deepest gratitude to all participants, guests from World YMCA, World Urban Network, Y’s Men International, YMCA USA, European Youth Forum and very especially to YMCA-YWCA Denmark for their contribution, support and commitment. Thank you for making this 2022 GA in Aarhus so special and relevant.
See you in Berlin, June 28th- July 2nd 2023!
Full photo album available here