The 6th of June 1844 is credited with being the day that Sir George Williams founded the YMCA, which has now become the largest youth charity in the world with YMCAs in 120 Countries reaching over 60 million people. George Williams was 22 years old when he, and a group of associates, founded the YMCA in a drapery store next to St Paul’s Cathedral in London – youth empowerment seems to be in our DNA!
Our CEO Chas was fortunate to be in London on Thursday 6th of June with YMCA leaders from around the country, and representatives from across the globe, for a special service of thanksgiving at St Martins in the Field to celebrate the founding anniversary. We were joined by World YMCA Secretary General, Carlos Sanvee, who spoke to us about the international vision for the YMCA. It was interesting to hear him speak from an international perspective, emphasising that YMCA’s global role is to equip young people to transform their communities. He also alluded to how vital the energy, leadership and drive of young people is for their communities, particularly in areas where there is not a sophisticated social state system.
Our own 2020 Vision has been built around the importance of our communities engaging with young people in our projects, so they feel part of and valued in society. As we look beyond our 2020 Vision, we want to challenge ourselves to better support and equip young people to transform their communities. Our country certainly needs young people to bring fresh vision and energy to it!
The main event for celebrating YMCA175 is the largest youth conference ever organised by the YMCA. It is being held at London’s Excel Centre from the 4th to the 8th of August and is focused on the theme of youth empowerment and leadership. Young people from YMCAs across the world will be attending and our YMCA Right Here team are involved in supporting the event.
You can find out more about the event here: https://ymca175.com/