Covid and the YMCA: the journey travelled, the way ahead

“#WeShallOvercome. What is more, I honestly believe we will #BuildBackBetter”, said World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee in a message to the global YMCA Movement on 9 September 2020.

He looked back on the turbulent months since the World YMCA adopted a Covid response strategy built on the three pillars of ‘Resilience’, ‘Recovery’ and ‘Reimagination’.

He cited the concrete results and guidelines emerging from a series of online Leaders Talks and Youth Voices fora, ecumenical thanksgiving services, and the establishment of the YMCA Solidarity Fund which has approved grants to help national YMCAs.

He drew the lessons from the ‘Padare’ virtual roundtables: “Like the world at large, the global YMCA is going to need a ‘Reset’, based on a creative ‘Reimagining’ process …   We can’t go back to normal; we have to adapt to the new normal.” 

Looking ahead, he said: “I believe that our collective YMCA ‘Theory of Change’ is shaping up to be the transition from providing service delivery to young people, to enabling those same young people to be service providers themselves – for themselves, and for their communities.”

He charted next steps for bringing resilience, recovery and reimagination into both YMCA existing and long-term platforms and initiatives, and into the global process of rethinking now being undertaken in the face of Covid.

“More than ever, YMCA needs to be at the table when important decisions are made which affect young people and vulnerable communities.”

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