Go Camp volunteering opportunity in Ukraine

Dear International Friends!

Warm greetings from Kiev, Ukraine!

Let me share with you the details  about the GoCamp volunteering opportunity in Ukraine. Some information I have already shared with those YMCA General Secretaries, who attended the World YMCA NGSs meeting in Switzerland in February this year, but here comes some additional (Power Point Presentation – see photo gallery below) and more detailed information.

Ukraine needs volunteers to come for two week programs this summer (in June and August) to teach kids English, German and French at all over the country. The volunteers will help teachers to design projects and tasks including outdoor activities to improve the children’s knowledge of English/German/French and of course enjoying the time spent with the children, volunteers and teachers.

The main program goal is to educate a new generation of active and learning citizens of Ukraine, capable of lifelong learning and being prepared for the challenges of the 21st century and being open to other cultures and experiences. The program volunteer becomes a mentor for the children helping them break language and cultural barriers.

The GoCamp project is organized in the framework of the GoGlobal initiative jointly by the Ukrainian NGO Global Office in the partnership with the YMCA Ukraine, and is aimed at promoting language learning, fostering intercultural dialogue and public diplomacy. The Global Office has among their founders and supporters some Members of the Ukrainian Parliament, belonging to the Presidential (Poroshenko) Party. They have strong support from the administration of the President, regional and local authorities, different Embassies (including the USA, Canada, UK, Australia etc – the Ambassadors personally took part in some promotional events on the program), have some financial support from different donors. The program has used in 2016-2017 more than 500 international volunteers from 60 countries and involved 69,900 students from all over Ukraine. For this year the goal is to bring around 850 international volunteers for around 850 school day camps.

The deadline for international volunteer applications is May 15, 2018 for those, who do not require visas for Ukraine and volunteer in June. For those, who would like to volunteerv in August, the deadline for the applications is July 15. If the volunteers need visa to come to Ukraine, they have to apply as soon as possible, because the visa application process requires time!

Volunteers have to pay for their international travel to/from Ukraine and for their insurance. Beyond $75.00 participation fee, the volunteers will need in Ukrainian money only to pay for 1 meal per day during the volunteering in the camp, and to cover personal expenses (the recommended amount is 100 USD per week, for 2 weeks – $200)

All other expenses will be covered, the volunteers will be met at Kiev airport and brought to a training facility for a three day orientation (all accommodation and meals will be covered), transportation to and from the community in which you will be working is provided. Volunteers will mainly be hosted by families or in hostels. Each volunteer will be provided a separate room. Families and the schools will provide breakfast and lunch. Volunteers will be provided a SIM-card for local phone calls, provided with support from office staff and a 24/7 hotline during volunteering days. These and other details are indicated on the website for the global office, dedicated to the GoCamp program:   Go Camp Program : click here for more info

Please, let me know if you have any questions. Hope to here from you soon.

All the best,

Viktor Serbulov
YMCA Ukraine-  General Secretary
+38 067 465 54 14

More information click here 


2018 YMCA World Challenge –  Our biggest Challenge yet!

How’s your plannning going?

YMCA World Challlenge 2018

Just 60 days to go!

We have set ourselves a huge Challenge this year … to run the combined distance to join every YMCA in the world.

This will need some impressive statistics to achieve this. The infographic below shows just how big we need to think to make it happen this year.

YMCA World Challenge – Run! Run! Run!

But be encouraged because (i) this is just a fraction of the 58 million members we have around the world, and (ii) the YMCA shows itself at its creative best when big challenges await!

We also have a great new promotional video :

To help your planning here are 3 things you need to know:

– Free resources including posters, artwork and social media are available CLICK HERE  .We keep adding to them regularly.

We are hearing about BIG events with BIG numbers of people engaged.

– One YMCA is arranging a 100km walking event
– Another is climbing mountains
– Another is doing a ‘fun’draising run
– Yet another a road run with supporting activities on the actual day including aerobics, health checkups, family planning services and HIV testing.

Remember there are many prizes and awards for the biggest and best activities. I encourage you to be YMCA creative!

It will be very easy to report this year, on the day send us the number of people and their combined distance (and lots of photos/videos) to: photo@ymca.int

YMCA World Challenge is an important part of the global YMCA strategy and 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).

SDG Goals (Sustainable Developments Goals)

Engaging with the UN SDGs gives YMCAs a chance to speak powerfully to the issues facing young people today and how we address them.

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.

Further information and assistance is available to all via our World Challenge support: challenge@ymca.int

Let’s all go run!
Warm regards,

Johan Vilhelm Eltvik
Secretary General – World YMCAs



Easter Message 2018

Easter Message

As a very young man, or rather a boy, I was the leader of a youth club. We made a magazine together, and in the Easter magazine I had the crazy idea to put an obituary on Death itself. I made an advertisement with a black cross on the top, and then I wrote:

Our feared, strong and powerful enemy,
has passed away.

Jerusalem, 1. Day of Easter

This little text, well, it was a bit longer and more developed in the original
version, was reprinted and quoted a few places until it was discovered by a national newspaper in our country with a very liberal attitude and printed as a joke, an example of stupidity. It became quite well known.

In fact I almost became famous the wrong way for this little Easter devotional.

Somehow I have remained proud of this idea.

On the photo above you see three metal spikes crucified. It is made to me by a Polish artist and given to me by a close friend.

It is Pain on the Cross!

It is Destruction and Evilness on the Cross!

And this has remained my understanding of Easter till this day. Jesus was crucified to set me free. Free from Pain, Destruction, Evilness and Death.

On Easter Sunday only life is folded out in front of our eyes – life in joy and fullness, everlasting life.

Happy Easter!

Rev Johan Vilhelm Eltvik
Secretary General – World YMCA