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


14th February 2017

From Friday 10th of February to February 12th, the Brussels Office hosted the first face-to-face meeting of the Youth Policy Group (YPG) of YMCA Europe.

The Youth Policy Group is composed of 9 people, from 8 different YMCA Europe member movements, between the ages of 22 and 30. More about the members here.

The aim of the meeting was to consolidate the drafts of our first YMCA Europe Policy Papers. The papers are four, and they touch on the main priorities of our Strategy:

  • Youth Empowerment;
  • Migration;
  • Youth Unemployment;
  • Peace and Justice.

The Brussels Office drafted the main questions of the papers with the YPG, and then each member of the YPG drafted their input into the paper. During the meeting these inputs were merged, discussed and sharpened. The final drafts will be seen and approved by the YPG, and then sent to the Executive Committee for approval and comments.

The meeting was an incredible experience, with astounding results. Each member wrote detailed, informed and heartfelt contributions, rich in detail, sources and insight. The quality of the work was amazing, but the level of the discussion in Brussels was even better. We discussed national and European perspectives, personal experiences and theoretical knowledge to arrive at a complete picture of the reality of youth in Europe today. Not many youth organizations in Europe have their own young people write their Policy Papers: this meeting proved that this is the right way to go. Youth policy is for young people, and it should be BY young people too. Real youth empowerment is to give a voice and a platform to young people, and the YPG is the embodiment of such empowerment. Many in the YPG also committed to represent YMCA Europe within the European Youth Forum and at the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe, and I felt that we were lucky to have such remarkable young people as the new "faces" of YMCA Europe.

The points of view were interesting, refreshing and original, but most of all it was clear that our YPG is made of wonderful young people, young leaders of strong mind and strong hearts. Throughout the meeting they often called to modify language and focus to defend youth, to be more inclusive and respectful of all young people, and to find real answers to very real problems young people encounter every day.
I felt privileged to have had the opportunity to meet them, work with them, know them better. I also believe that all YMCA Europe member movements will be proud of their efforts, and will proudly feel ownership of the Policy Papers they created.

If you want to know more about the YPG, please click here . The Policy Papers will be soon online once approved.

Author/Source: Ilenia Ventroni

Follow-up images