Ken’s (World Alliance of YMCAs President) employer highlights his volunteer engagement

Ken Colloton has always loved the YMCA. Now, the boy who loved volunteering has risen to become President of the World Alliance of YMCAs and even visited Buckingham Palace in March where he met Prince Edward.

Ken is Senior Vice President in the Government Banking Division of Citizens Bank where he has 25 years of experience in helping government and not-for-profit entities with their cash flow and economic development. It’s a role that stood him in good stead as he stood for election as President as Ken sees a direct parallel with his volunteering and his day job. He says: ‘For me, it’s about the opportunities and risks of working in a global world that’s changing so quickly.’

And that global world is very much in evidence at the YMCA. It’s one of the largest health and human services organisations in the world, serving more than 45 million people in 130 countries. The YMCA runs educational and vocational training programmes, wellness centres, housing projects, child care and youth education as well as theatre and arts programmes, disaster relief, migration homes and micro-loan programmes in areas ranging from the townships of Johannesburg to the hill tribe villages of Uttar Pradesh and almost everywhere in between. Ken’s role is to lead the YMCA movement and guide its strategic focus and direction.

Ken became the first American YMCA President in 30 years when he was elected in July 2010. But when he first put himself for election he was the underdog. ‘I spent my vacations and many weekends over the last two years travelling through five continents volunteering to help wherever I could,’ he says. ‘I needed to get a majority of 200 country votes internationally so it was important I took time to meet people on the local level to understand their needs.’

And now that he is President, what are his plans for the future? ‘I visited Buckingham Palace for the inaugural CEO/CVO meeting of the worldwide alliance of youth organisations where I was very impressed by Prince Edward,’ he says. ‘I am honoured to serve in this role and will work with YMCA leadership, especially our youth leaders to ensure that the global movement remains strong and innovative so that we can continue to address the critical challenges facing communities worldwide.’

Rev. Dr. Johan Vilhelm Eltvik receives Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters

Queens University of Charlotte held its spring commencement ceremony Saturday, awarding bachelor’s degrees to more than 300 undergraduate students.

In all, 723 students made up Queens’ Class of 2011, the largest graduating class in the university’s 154-year history.

The Rev. Johan Eltvik, Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs, gave the commencement address and received an honorary doctorate of humane letters along with Betty Davis, who will celebrate her 50th year on Queens’ staff in the fall.

YMCA and ICMYO – The International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organisations – Task Force meeting

In the weekend of 30 April – 01 May 2011, the ICMYO Task Force met at the World Scout Bureau in Geneva, Switzerland.

The members of the Task Force are a group of organisations of ICMYO who volunteer their efforts in service to ICMYO to plan the Yearly Meeting. Currently composed of the European Youth Forum (YFJ), Pax Romana – IMCS, World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), they have been encouraging active involvement of the participating organisations to the various processes and opportunities throughout the year and encouraging coordination between organisations.

Since the previous Yearly Meeting, held in Helsinki, Finland, the Task Force promoted participation of representatives coming from International Youth NGOS at the Europe-Africa Youth Summit, and more recently, the opportunity for trainers and participants for the Global Youth Work Training Course (GYWTC) at the 3 rd African University on Youth and Development (AUYD).

Their main task each year is the planning of the ICMYO Yearly Meeting. Since early this year, the Task Force has been engaging the participating organisations in a consultation of the agenda items for this year’s meeting. As ICMYO has decided to hold its 8th meeting around the United Nations High Level Meeting (HLM) on Youth, the Task Force focused its work at this in-person meeting on developing possible strategies for the best possible participation, contribution, and outcome at the HLM.

In their evaluation o f ICMYO’s coordination efforts to promote youth participation in decision-making processes at the inter-governmental level, the Task Force emphasizes that this lead-up toward the HLM on Youth is an invaluable opportunity for youth leaders and youth organisations to make a real impact in the international youth agenda for coming generations. In order to this, however, youth organisations must strongly mobilise their collective efforts and involve their membership at all levels.

The Task Force strongly believes in the potential of collective representation of millions of young people and that they can make the voice of young people heard during this International Year of Youth.

Young people have something to say about our hopes and needs! Are you ready to make it heard by the governments of the world?