78th Executive Committee Montreal, Canada

YMCA Canada and YMCAs of Quebec played host as the 78th meeting of World YMCA’s Executive Committee took place from 18-21 October in Montreal. The ExCo members visited three local YMCAs and the hosts held their National Board meeting in conjunction with the event which brought together YMCA leaders from the local, national and international level.

Before the Committee began its agenda, they first participated in a workshop on strengthening diversity and inclusion. Each member learned more about one another and how to keep cultural sensitivities top of mind when gathered in multi-national arenas.

President Patricia Pelton delivered her 2019 report which highlighted her activity for the year. Pelton had the opportunity to visit Area meetings in Africa, Japan, Canada and USA on top of YMCA’s landmark anniversary event YMCA175. Each visit gave her the opportunity to network with fellow volunteer leaders, learn more about their governance practices and discuss best practice. A key theme of her report involved her carbon footprint, being conscious of her travel as it relates to climate change.

Secretary General Carlos Madjri Sanvee added a new wrinkle to his Secretary General Report asking ExCo members to share their stories for the year and include why they answered the call to volunteer in Chiangmai last July at YMCA’s 19th World Council. With the help of a local artist, these stories were connected in colour and illustration.

As an extension of this report, the 2020 Operation Plan was also laid out outlining key initiatives in the areas of youth empowerment, partnerships, data gathering, governance and advocacy to be undertaken on the road to Aarhus, Denmark and the 20th YMCA World Council. Connecting these initiatives is Vision 2044 and the defining of YMCA’s North Star. The ExCo participated in a workshop led by its Standing Committee on Strategy to help engage further in this work.

World YMCA staff also updated the Executive Committee on projects ongoing, including the SDG Impact Report which early results from 50 participating National Movements indicate YMCA is involved in all 17 Global Goals (full report to be delivered at NGS Conference). YMCA175 also served as an important topic for discussion as the group debriefed on the successes and learnings from the event.

ExCo Standing Committees along with the Resource Mobilisation Task Force each shared reports on their progress to date:

  • Governance kicked off a constitutional review in preparation for the 2022 World Council and is working to benchmark its standards in accordance with the highest level of Swiss governance;
  • Movement Relevance is leading the work on the data initiative and value proposition to improve YMCA’s ability to communicate its cause and measure its impact;
  • Strategy is working to advance Vision 2044 to give the Movement it’s North Star concept;
  • Finance presented the budget for 2020, which was approved with a small surplus.
  • Resource Mobilisation is working to increase access to new funding as a means of support for World YMCA and its initiatives.

Though the Executive Committee spent two full days covering a packed agenda of governance activity, they did have the chance to enjoy several events to bring them closer to some of the culture in Quebec. Much of the group attended a Montreal Canadiens ice hockey game and travelled outside the city to visit the home of former World YMCA President John R. Mott located in the Quebec countryside.

The 79th Executive Committee Meeting is set to take place in March 2020, hosted by YMCA Netherlands in Amsterdam.