New Year message 2015 from the Secretary General

The 18th YMCA World Council in Estes Park last summer will forever be a highlight of my YMCA experiences over many years.

Change Agents became the heroes of the day. It started as a big vision about Empowering Young People. In Estes Park, like a miracle, 200 Change Agents marched together and gently took control over all the discussion groups and other key elements of the World Council. It was Youth Empowerment in practice, and it was incredibly successful!

With one voice you said so. You loved the Change Agents.

With one voice the OUR WAY strategy was lifted up and we promised ourselves to develop 750 Change Agents before the next World Council.

I have had the privilege to work closely with these Change Agents. I have read their essays and heard them telling their stories. They are stories about lives being changed, stories about discovery of own talents and stories about hope and joy and progress.

They are our leaders of today. And even more our leaders of tomorrow. The YMCA movement needs them, and we need many more.

The National Secretaries will meet in Mexico in February this year already the fourth time in two years. This has become immensely important meetings, very strategic, and we will plan for the implementation of OUR WAY strategy.

In this New Year 2015 the biggest ever youth research, the One Million Voices research will be finalized and a report will be published. It will further help positioning the YMCA movement as the leader in the youth field.

On the 6th of June, the birthday of YMCA, the next World Challenge will be organised under the slogan: “Kick a Goal for Youth Empowerment2!”

In Estes Park we spent a wonderful week together, and as we united around the Change Agenda, we also looked for our common roots. We agreed that we are a Christian movement, and we agreed that we are a radically inclusive movement. The unconditional love of God is embracing all human beings everywhere.

We are proud to belong to this movement, and we are committed to continue to grow this movement so that the Untold Story of Young People can be told, and so that Young People can be empowered in all corners of our world.

God bless you all and give you a fantastic New Year 2015!

Warm regards

Johan Vilhelm Eltvik
Secretary General
World YMCA

The Untold Story…

One of the most shared stories in the world, is the story about a young family traveling on a donkey around Christmas time. The woman is pregnant, and the time for childbirth is coming. There is no room available in the hostel, and the little family takes refuge in a stable of some sort, probably a cave with animals in it. Among animals and under the shining stars a little baby is born. And the rest is, as they say – history. The most famous story of all history! The birth of Jesus Christ.

Before and after that famous story there are millions of untold stories about young people in similar crisis. We believe that Jesus came to this earth to make untold stories told. He came to empower the helpless and to set free those who has no chance and to give life, life in fullness, to all those people inside the untold stories.

Untold stories are being told in 12000 local YMCAs to empower Young People.
Remembering a young couple in a very critical and difficult situation with a newborn baby, I wish everybody a blessed Christmas!

Johan Vilhelm Eltvik
Secretary General
World YMCA