YMCA Sao Paulo – Raising the Roof with 10 hours of Non-Stop Music!

October 27th 2012 saw the very first Conexão CampusY: A digital communication and youth-led event held in association with FNAC in the heart of Sao Paulo’s bustling Praça Dos Omaguás. Its purpose was to build an empowering space for the young people of Sao Paulo by using an array of multimedia and strategies that were intelligent, entertaining and engaging: 10 unforgettable hours of music and inspiration that were totally free and with people all ready to interact, learn and share experiences. It connected with 10 other countries worldwide; YMCA Sao Paulo certainly provided a day to remember!

The event was the brainchild of Volunteer and Programme Coordinator Diego Luis Noronha who created the project while living in the United States between 2010 and 2012. It began with 2 and a half hours of speeches with 20 minutes allocated for each speaker and time for questions directly after. The speeches were streamed live on the Internet so that people could participate in real time via the Net and ask their questions without having to be in the building. Free Wi-Fi was provided out on the street and in the square opposite.

Non-stop music followed the speeches with 9 live bands and a DJ playing a mixture of Funky, Brazilian, Rap, Pop and Rock – ensuring there was something for everyone. Over 120 staff from Sao Paulo YMCA attended and a staggering 450 people passed through over the 10 hours.
The Main Stage was the heart of the event plus there were 9 stands set up with young people presenting projects that they entitled ‘Challenge 12’. Sao Paulo youth had been invited to choose 2 topics from ‘Challenge 21’  and develop them into projects to be presented on the stands. Much preparation and thought had gone into the delivery and display of the projects and all participants were greatly received.

Marcio Nery -Youth Programmes Director, emphasised the role of young people in the event from start to finish saying that the participants ‘really took charge of the day’s events, were entrusted with planning and delivering the activities and were fully supported every step of the way’.

Paulo Emilio a local volunteer and activities developer reiterated the success of the event saying ‘everything we hoped to achieve was achieved…and more’. Sao Paulo is investing in their young people and empowering them to think about their own importance while increasing their responsibilities. This event promoted strategic thinking and communicated through the youth of Sao Paulo a new way of impacting and feeding energy not just to the local community but also to the rest of the world. 

Patricia Pelton, member of the WAY Executive Committee, awarded prestigious medal!

The World Alliance of YMCAs is very pleased to share with you that our friend Patricia Pelton, Calgary, Canada, has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth the II Diamond Jubilee medal.

This prestigious medal is being presented to Canadian YMCA volunteers and staff who have made outstanding contributions to the development of the YMCA in addition to other community work.  Patricia has had a big impact on the Canadian YMCA locally in Calgary, nationally, and, from our perspective, now globally.

She has been recognized in particular for her ability to bring” strategic thinking and problem-solving skills coupled with a compassionate outlook; a commitment to fully engage a group of people in a common endeavour; and a light touch epitomized by her humour and unassuming approach.

As a result of her efforts people feel valued, committee and board mandates are achieved, and YMCA and community goals are furthered. In all her leadership roles, Patricia focuses on ensuring that YMCA strategic directions and organizational resources foster long-term sustainability so that communities everywhere can continue to depend on the YMCA as a place of opportunity and civic engagement. Across Canada and now around the world, Patricia Pelton is recognized for her belief in the power of the YMCA to make a difference and her dedication to using this power wisely and well. Patricia exemplifies the spirit of sustained volunteer service that lifts up a community and a country.”

YMCA young volunteer killed in Colombia

On October 30th 2012, violence claimed yet another victim – a young YMCA volunteer.

Elider Varela “El Duke” was a husband and the father of two little kids. As a young activist in COMUNA 13, a neighborhood of Medellin, he worked to reduce violence using arts and culture as a way to spread hope and peace in his community.

To this day, the highly militarized situation in COMUNA 13 continues to force innocent people to pay a high price.The lack of security and the absence of safe spaces for its population allows organized crime and the displacement of people to continue, while executions and forced recruitment for criminal activities occur with impunity.

Despite the efforts of the authorities to change its international image, this neighborhood remains stricken by violence, causing much of the population–especially young people– to live in fear. Many here are skeptical that a lasting peace and hope for the future may be possible.

At COMUNA 13, one of the most militarized urban zones in Colombia, social organizations like the YMCA are operating programmes in partnership with a variety of social actors aimng to reduce the consequences of this tragic situation.

The YMCA family calls on the local and international authorities to act immediately to restore justice and peace at COMUNA 13. We at the World Alliance of YMCAs, along with all our friends and allies around the world, send our most sincere condolences to the family and friends of “El Duke”.