Ukraine – National Council of YMCAs
Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1993
Membership Status: Related
Brief YMCA History
Ukraine is the biggest European country with a population of about 50 million people. It was one of 15 republics of former USSR and became the independent state in 1991. Till that time the only organization in Ukraine was Communist party and its branches – soviet youth and children organizations.
The independence brought the possibility of alternative public organizations and a big variety of them appeared at once. YMCA appeared in Ukraine in 1993 one little town. It was started as an replay on the lack of youth non-governmental organizations after the communist party collapse. From the very beginning it was dedicated to improve and entertain the life of young people and children.
YMCA in Ukraine has much older tradition. There are some proofs that it existed in the territory of Ukraine in the beginning of the 20th century while the 1st World War. It was dealing with people, suffering while the battles.
YMCA movement spreaded on the other cities and towns in Ukraine. And now the association is registered in 14 cities and towns. They existed as independent local YMCAs till September 2000. But the practice and program development showed the lack of communication so it was decided to unite into National YMCA Movement with the fixed membership, National Board and Constitution. Ukrainian YMCA was registered in state authorities on December 20th, 2000.
The Ukrainian YMCA is a young movement that was born in very unfavourable environment: difficult economy conditions, bad laws, weak democracy, lack of traditions of Non-Governmental Organisations. However, YMCA can be one those factors which can, to a certain extent, make some difference in the Ukrainian society and become one of those factors which brings the country the better future.
The first five years were rather spontaneous and uncontrollable period of initiation in which the main work was done in local YMCAs. The local leaders tried to find a place for their activities in local communities, where the vacuum in social life after the collapse of communist youth organisation created the demand for NGOs coming from the West. Not all attempts of building YMCA could be called successful. In spite of remarkable quantity, the quality of particular associations very often was far from YMCA standards.
The year 1999 was the period of preparation for more significant changes. Those YMCA members for whom the general image of the association and its social usefulness were important did not hide their dissatisfaction with the condition of the organisation and the inefficiency of national leadership. An emergency action plan was created and a set of radical but necessary steps was undertaken. The result of this course of action was an extraordinary General Assembly called in September 2000, passing a new Constitution and the election of new National Committee. The main achievement of the year was the registration of the Ukrainian YMCA as ‘Interregional Union of Christian Associations of Youth and Family – YMCA’ on December 20th. At the moment the work on spreading YMCA activity to the whole territory of Ukraine is conducted.
The mission statement of Ukrainian YMCA was formulated on the evidence and practice of the other National YMCA movements and taking into consideration the mission statements the local YMCAs – members of the National YMCA movement of Ukraine.
In was adopted at the General Assembly of Ukrainian YMCA held on May 11th-13th, 2001. Ant it was put into Strategic Plan for movement development 2001-2005.The mission of YMCA Ukraine is:
– The YMCA of Ukraine is a youth organization, contacting with other Christian confessions and movements, which brings people together for mutual help and common Christian work. The organization wants to be a member of the world-wide YMCA family, fully respect its ideology, co-operate with international structures, but also maintain the Ukrainian heritage which gives the association original features.
The YMCA of Ukraine as a most of National YMCA movements works for the community benefit. The main objective of YMCA program development is to make the life of youth more interesting and meaningful. It conducts different programs for various categories of people.
The main activity directions of the association are:
– prevention of HIV/AIDS and drug addiction
– spirituality development
– summer camps
– leadership development
– anti-bulling program ‘Don’t Laugh At Me’ (DLAM)
– Hospital clowns
– youth work: international exchanges, culture events.