Europe is changing at a pace not seen since WW2. This change is being accelerated by the global effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic and climate change. This is impacting significantly on the health, social, economic and political systems across the whole of Europe. The results of which affect young people directly with increased political conflicts and wars, unemployment, health challenges, geographical displacement and ever-increasing injustice.
Keeping up with the pace of change is almost impossible and for this reason YMCA Europe strives to become more agile and responsive to the shifting factors affecting Europe and impacting young Europeans. We want YMCA Europe to best serve its members and young people but at the same time remain outward facing, scanning the horizon for opportunities and being responsive to emerging risks and challenges.
YMCA’s Strategy 2021-2026 is shaped to be responsive to the current change and evolution across Europe, reflective of the diversity of Europe with its many cultures, languages, political and social conditions and uniting in our desire to strengthen the inclusivity of the YMCA across all corners of Europe.
This Strategy is for YMCA Europe, set apart from the Strategy each member of YMCA Europe has. The Strategy seeks to reflect the evolving role and purpose of YMCA Europe. It provides for a gradual transition of YMCA Europe being more external and beneficiary based (for example, with objectives such as training, shared programmes and fundraising).
The present Mission Statement of YMCA Europe is:
YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.
YMCA Europe is far more than a fellowship and more than just movement strengthening and for this reason, the current Mission for YMCA Europe may need revisiting.
Part of the Initiatives within the 2021-2026 Strategy will be to re-examine the Mission of YMCA Europe, to build on the work generated at Cluj, Romania (National General Secretaries Forum, November 2019) and consulted on within YMCA Europe and to seek a Mission Statement that better reflects what YMCA Europe’s purpose is.
Similar to YMCA Europe’s Mission Statement, its Vision is also in need of re-examination. This process was started in 2019 at the mentioned National General Secretaries Forum and within the 2021-2026 Strategy we will also initiate a consultation on a potential new YMCA Europe Vision.
This work is likely to be shaped by the World YMCA’s current strategic journey and our wish to ensure that there is a golden thread of common purpose and vision across the whole of our Movement. We all share a commitment and ambition to empower young people and their communities.
The 2021 – 2026 Strategy is designed to serve the direct beneficiaries of YMCA Europe as its members and those young people who are indirect beneficiaries of YMCA Europe as YMCA members and as citizens of Europe.
The Strategy focuses on 4 principal STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES for the strategic period 2021 – 2026.
These Strategic Objectives are a living expression of YMCA Europe´s role and guiding principles as expressed in the Constitution.
The Strategic Objectives shape the initiatives and expected outcomes of what the Strategy seeks to achieve.
Under this Strategic Objectives we will continue to prioritise our work areas in peace and justice, refugees/migrants/internally displaced persons and youth empowerment. We seek to establish new areas in mental health and environment.
The priorities are cross-cutting the Strategic Objectives.
*Strategic Objective "Response" has been added in response to the war in Ukraine and adopted by the General Assembly in Aarhus, Denmark, July 1-3, 2022.
Aim: YMCA Europe is a relevant, coherent and agile organisation, to best serve National YMCAs to enable them to address contemporary challenges affecting young people.
|Revise Mission and Vision of YMCA Europe to ensure it is relevant and fit for purpose.||
• Movement wide consultation of Mission and Vision.
• Alignment with World Alliance emerging Mission, Vision and Strategy.
|Proactively monitor new social challenges affecting young people and lead with solutions with focus on National YMCAs.||
• Research and data collection to inform formation of relevant programmes and revise and repurpose current initiatives as appropriate.
• Continued and successful delivery of YMCA Europe´s established projects and programmes. (Annex 1)
Develop the skills and resources of volunteers and staff.
|• Establish a European-wide digital based education and training platform for YMCA volunteers and staff .|
Aim: YMCA Europe is recognised as a Youth focused Organisation that represents the voice of young people across Europe and its mission empowers young people.
|Strengthening internal and external networks and strategic relationships. To include European Union bodies, Council of Europe, European Youth Foundation, Big 6 Youth Organisations and other key stakeholders. (Annex 2)||• Establishment of European joint strategy/initiatives for youth empowerment with key stakeholders aligned with the European Youth Goals.|
Raising the profile of young people and highlighting the social issues most affecting them.
|• Development of an Advocacy Plan and specific policies in conjunction with World YMCA.|
|Strengthening internal capacity of YMCA Europe to be a stronger and leading representative of youth in Europe.||• Professional core staff team based in a well-established office in Brussels delivering a clearly defined annual operational plan.|
Development of a YMCA Europe Communication Strategy and review of the Movement`s identity.
|• National Movements consultation and review of YMCA Europe branding to increase its recognition and visibility.|
Aim: YMCA Europe unifies the YMCA movement across Europe, maintaining open and transparent communication and promoting a spirit of collaboration and joint working.
|Strengthening and widening the existing channels of internal communication and cooperation.||
• Develop and implement a YMCA Europe Communication Plan.
• Consult on the potential formation of a YMCA Europe´s National Chairs Network.
• Creation of theme groups and cross movement work aligned with World YMCA´s Communities of Impact.
|Increasing the working relationship with World YMCA.||
• Joint areas of impact are identified and exercised through programmes, advocacy campaigns, projects and joint programme/working groups.
• Consultation and pilot of a joint affiliation fee protocol with World YMCA.
• YMCA Europe and World YMCA share resources to improve efficiency and cost effectiveness for members.
|Increasing collaboration with and between European YMCAs.||
• Identification of key areas of joint work to maximise impact for young people.
• Develop collective advocacy campaigns, events, programme groups and joint
projects to deliver impact.
• Plan and implement the 50th anniversary of YMCA Europe (2023) event(s).
|Strengthening and widening the relationship with YMCA Europe´s external partners and donors.||• Establishing new partnerships with external funders aligned to YMCA Europe´s vision and purpose.|
Aim: YMCA Europe is a resilient, transparent, financially sustainable and well-resourced organisation to best serve its Movement members.
|Shaping a YMCA Europe Team with the capability and capacity to provide intervention and support as required by YMCA Europe´s members.||• Reorganisation of YMCA Europe team to deliver the 2021-2026 Strategy and to serve the Movement´s needs.|
|Continuing and prioritising YMCA Europe´s Movement Strengthening work.||• Consult on and review the rights and responsibilities of National Movements associated with YMCA Europe.|
|Strengthening the internal financial capacity of YMCA Europe to increase its impact and improve services for National Movements.||
• Annual growth in YMCA Europe´s finances and increased reserves.
• Development and implementation of a YMCA Europe wide Fundraising and Income Generation Strategy.
• Growth in the “George Williams Fund” to better support YMCA Europe and its membership.
|Ensure YMCA Europe´s Constitution and Governance procedures are up to date and fit for purpose.||
• Examination of existing Constitution and by-laws.
• Closer alignment with World YMCA Constitution and governance procedures.
Aim: YMCA Europe in cooperation with its members and stakeholders, ensures adequate response to any humanitarian crisis through recovery and reconciliation processes, guaranteeing the viability of the YMCAs in the countries affected.
Support and develop safe spaces for displaced persons and refugees from Ukraine and other countries where they can find relief, inclusion, hope and justice.
• Establish a wide European programme based on providing relief, wellbeing and integration of refugees across Europe.
• Support and increase the work of local and national YMCAs with internally displaced persons and refugees.
• Strengthen YMCA Europe’s internal spaces and networks promoting safety, inclusion, justice and well-being.
Facilitate peace building and reconciliation among communities in conflict with a focus on young people.
• Increase the capacity and the scope of the Roots for Peace project with a focus on peace building and reconciliation among young people and their communities in the affected region.
• Enhance advocacy area in cooperation with National Movements and World YMCA.
• Develop new partnerships with funders and within the public and private sectors.
Strengthening the capacity of the YMCA movement to guarantee the institutional viability, sustainability and impact in all the affected YMCAs.
• Renew and implement Movement Strengthening strategic plan for the YMCAs involved and affected in the region.
• Organise assessment in order to have evidence base data for further operations
• Allocate resources and staff capacity within a short-mid-long term perspective following an annually reviewed Operational Plan.
Under the Strategic Objective RELEVANCE, the Expected Outcome ”Continued and successful delivery of YMCA Europe´s established projects and programmes”, refers to the following programme initiatives, working fields and platforms:
- "Roots for Peace”
- “Generation Next”
- “YMCA Leadership Academy”
- Capacity building initiatives
- Movement Strengthening actions, tools & programmes
- Advocacy actions & campaigns
- Communications initiatives & tools
- Movement Strengthening Committee
- National General Secretaries Forum
- YMCA-YWCA Staff Conference
- Camping Program Group
- Working Group on Refugees
- ESY – European Sports YMCA
- ESG – European Scouting and Jungschar
- ETS – European TenSing
- COG – Christian Orientation Group
- YPG – Youth Policy Group
- YES – Youth Empowerment Space
YMCA Europe´s main partners are:
- European National YMCAs (full members and cooperating members of YMCA Europe)
- Brot für die Welt Germany
- Erasmus + Programme of the European Union
- Council of Europe
- European Youth Foundation
- European Youth Forum
- Big 6 Youth Organisations (YMCA, YWCA, Scout Movement, Girl Guides & Girl Scouts, Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies, The Duke of Edinburgh´s International Award Foundation)
- World YMCA (World Alliance of YMCAs)
- YMCA of the USA
- YMCA Germany (Action Hoffnungszeichen)
- Y´s Men International
- Westbund YMCA, Germany
- YMCA Canada