YMCA value statement on Inclusion, 19th YMCA World Council, Chiang Mai, Thailand, July 2018


The World YMCA aims to empower all young people, without discrimination.

To help achieve this, the YMCA must find ways to have locally driven and prioritised internal discussions about diversity and inclusion issues.

The method to facilitate this process is called a ‘Safe Space’.

The World YMCA Value Statement was endorsed by the Executive Committee in April 2017 for the World YMCA and for sharing with all National Movements. It is non-prescriptive and non-binding for any member Movement, in accordance with the World YMCA Constitution 14:2 and 3.

Therefore, each member movement is encouraged to embrace Challenge 21’s invitation to engage with their needs according to their local reality. “Each member YMCA is therefore called to focus on certain challenges which will be prioritized according to its own context” – so we demonstrate our Christian and ecumenical position of being open, loving and inclusive of all.


Diversity around the globe was accepted in the founding document of the World Alliance of YMCAs in 1855, where it is stated that no issues, however important they may be, shall divide the YMCA. The focus is on unity in Christ – “that they all may be one.”

Therefore – diversity and inclusion are core to the YMCA Movement.

Therefore – the YMCA Movement is open and inclusive of all people regardless of their ability, age, culture, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and socio-economic background.

However, we admit that we are not perfect in demonstrating God’s unconditional love, and that it is an ongoing process to become fully inclusive in order to improve our service to humanity.

Therefore the YMCA Movement must strive courageously against any discriminatory behaviour and will always abide by the UN Human Rights Declaration.