Congratulations! The YMCA is 167 years today, the 6th of June

Dear YMCA friends all over the world!

Congratulations! The YMCA is 167 years today, the 6th of June.

NEW WAY strongly believes in building on the valuable traditions of the past. Even so, we believe also strongly that it is the responsibility of every new generation of YMCA leaders to renew the YMCA, so that it stays relevant to the challenges of present days. We need to formulate the visions again and interpret the mission of the YMCA so that we remain true to the calling of 1844 and 1855, but still courageously walk into unknown future and build NEW WAYS.

With this courage in mind, we read the radical words from the Prophet Isaiah, 43, versus 18-19:

‘Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not
perceive it?
I will make a way in the
and rivers in the desert.’

YMCAs Celebrating World Environmental Day as YMCA Green Day

June 5 is internationally observed as World Environmental day. This year’s theme Forests: Nature at Your Service’ underscores the intrinsic link between quality of life and the health of forests and forest ecosystems. The WED theme also supports this year’s UN International Year of Forests. It is envisaged that the observance will personalize environmental issues and enable everyone to realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development.   

YMCAs around the World are encouraged to join with celebration by observing YMCA Green Day on the week of June 5, 2011. Several YMCAs in the World are already engaged actively on the issue of Climate Justice, Environmental Education, Sustainable Environmental practices, Renewable energy projects and various advocacy initiatives and the collective action of all the YMCAs and our members would create significant impacts in our globalized society.

The Green Team of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs has created a blog for consolidating the action responses of the YMCAs and sharing resources. YMCAs could choose any actions that are relevant in their context. Some program examples, posters are uploaded in the blog. The YMCAs around the world YMCAs could easily upload their program plans or program report or photo by simply send the matter by e-mail to:

The subject of the e-mail should be the title to be displayed in blog. Your post will be displayed in the blog automatically.  The YMCA initiative is well appreciated officially by the UNEP and also listed in the website of the UNEP World Environmental day as one of the activity.

By celebrating YMCA Green Day we remind others and ourselves on the importance of caring for our environment. Every actions count however small or big and lets join together to make a difference ~ Everywhere, Everyone!!!

Ian Martin, young leader of the “Are you aware of disability” campaign, United Kingdom

YMCA Empowering Young People: Ian Martin, young leader of the “Are you aware of disability” campaign  from the YMCA in Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom

Ian Martin, 24, is a young leader of the “Are you aware of disability” campaign   from the YMCA in Sutton Coldfield, UK, and has been volunteering for the YMCA already for 3 years.

In December 2009 he started the project on disability. He realized the necessity to raise the awareness of the problem within the UK society both locally and nationally. His passion and a huge desire to bring some change into the society encourages Ian to lead the campaign.

The aim of the project is to encourage organizations to offer more opportunities for people with disabilities. The YMCA is not an expert on disability, but it is eager to provide the best services to people with disabilities who face the problem of the exclusion. Currently the work on the promotion of the campaign on the Internet is being done and a lobbying campaign on disability issues that seeks to involve members of the British Parliament has been launched.

The campaign has a lot of support and encouragement from the local YMCA in Sutton Coldfield. Regular meetings on topical questions of the campaign are held. Ian often participates in different conferences, including the ones on the national level, where he presents reports on the activities.

The project gets positive feedback by e-mail and Facebook page from all around the world. Ian is very satisfied with the results that the campaign has already brought. Plenty of new ideas came from various YMCAs on how to diversify the project and about what activities could be developed. Also as a result of the campaign, the disability issue is becoming more and more important and the reflection on the topic within the YMCAs and within the society in general, is constantly growing.

Ian envisions no end for the campaign “Are you aware of disability”. “It will continue and develop all the time”.

By Iryna Dzeshavitsyna  
Volunteer, Belarus/Switzerland