New Year’s message – and 2018 YMCA Playbook

Dear friends,

As 2017 ends and we enter 2018 I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to every single YMCA staff member and volunteer across the world who contributed to empowering young people wherever they were. Thank you for your friendship and your commitment across our global movement to serve more and more young people every day.

2017 was a good year for the World YMCA and we are entering 2018 with lots of energy and commitment.

The further implementation of our global YMCA strategy is outlined in some details in the attached annual work plan: the 2018 Playbook.

I take this opportunity to wish every one of you a Happy New Year with lots of blessings and joys for yourselves and your families and loved ones. God bless you all!

Warm regards,

Johan Vilhelm Eltvik,                                                                                                            Secretary General

Click here to download the 2018 YMCA Playbook

Christmas Message

Christmas Message

Dear friends,

I love Christmas!

I love the time of advent, the preparation for Christmas celebrations and time to reflect on God sending his Son to save the world. I am a theologian by education and identity, and the most important theological term for me is INCARNATION. It means that God comes to us in the shape of a tiny little baby. The unconditional love of God becomes visible and touchable and receivable for us human beings. We see and meet with Eternity!

My Christmas message of 2017 was given to me by YMCA Scotland.

I was encouraged by their Christmas fundraising campaign (as seen in this picture). The headline reads “Homeless. Skint. New baby. Every Christmas it’s the same old story.”

Of course this is the original story of Mary and Jesus, but the same story has been true for so many people for more than 2,000 years. The YMCA is the continued INCARNATION so that teenage mothers and other young people in need can find a strong hand to hold. So that homeless and poor, drug addicts and child workers and lonely refugees can find the same strong hand to hold. The Christmas problem is Injustice towards Young People; the Christmas Answer is Empowering Young People!

Johan Vilhelm Eltvik,  Secretary General

YMCA World Challenge 2018

YMCA World Challenge 2018


This document is the launch announcement for the 2018 YMCA World Challenge.The reader is requested to share within their YMCA networks and begin planning for an event on June 2nd, 2018.

Andrew McKenzie
Executive Secretary

Dear YMCA friends,

The YMCA World Challenge is a highlight of the year for many YMCAs and we have been asked so many times already “what is the challenge for 2018”. So this year we are giving you a few extra months’ notice so you can make sure that your World Challenge 2018 is the biggest ever!

The challenge is: together can we run the distance to every YMCA in the world?

It’s a combined journey of more than 120,000 kilometres or 75,000 miles.  Phew! Individually it’s impossible but together I think we can do it!  That’s exactly how the YMCA works. Together we achieve great things and address great challenges. Here’s a fun one for us to tackle together!

The attached Introduction Guide has all the information you need and in this link below we have already uploaded videos, posters and other resources for you to use:

World Challenge is an important part of the global YMCA strategy and really helps build our image and impact.  This year’s event provides every YMCA the opportunity to share their great impact and our 174th birthday with their communities, while also engaging with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


We look forward to seeing your YMCAs creativity. You might even win one of the prizes as you give as many young people as possible the chance to be empowered through taking steps towards each other.

Please share this information widely so that every  YMCA can get as many runners/walkers to go as far as possible on June 2nd, 2018.

I will be pulling on my running shoes and doing some kilometres and I hope you will all join in as well.

Let’s all go run!

Warm regards,

Johan Vilhelm Eltvik,
Secretary General

YMCA World Challenge 2018 – Video


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