Global YMCA unites Ignite Show celebration

Date: 11 May 2023

Building on the excitement of the inaugural show in January, the second Ignite Show highlighted the YMCAs, the programmes and the people who are bringing YMCA Vision 2030 to life. 

The show aired on Tuesday 9 May 2023 on the World YMCA YouTube channel and social media platforms. Viewers worldwide – South Africa, Australia, Canada, Bangladesh, Brazil, Spain and more – connected on the chat and heard from YMCA leaders. 

Aiming to “inspire and inform you about the global YMCA Movement, its future direction and  YMCA Vision 2030”, were returning hosts Mafe Giraldo and Kevin Kapeke.

The duo were back in their studios on different continents: Mafe – in Bogota, Colombia –  works with the YMCA Latin American & Caribbean Alliance, and Kevin – in Melbourne, Australia – is a board director for YMCA Victoria. Also returning was producer Bromfield Events.

The 45-minute show was packed with information. Read the highlights below, and watch the entire show here

YMCA of the Rockies

The YMCA of the Rockies, nestled in the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, Colorado, USA, has seen the effects of climate change over the past 30 years. 

“Winter now comes almost a month later than it used to, and it melts out earlier”, said CEO Julie Watkins. “We’re in such a beautiful location, but it’s sad this environment may not be the same for future generations”. 

The YMCA has embraced the third Vision 2030 Pillar of ‘Sustainable Planet’, and the staff devised one way to help the environment and save money. Instead of using single-use plastic to wrap the linens delivered to each room – the YMCA is also a year-round resort and conference centre – they used grant funding to purchase reusable bags. 

They have already eliminated over 300,000 metres of plastic wrap waste and saved tens of thousands of dollars. Find out more.

YMCA Vision 2030 News

A lot has happened in the past three months since January’s Ignite Show. For instance: 

  • Let by World YMCA Director of Global Partnerships Kathleen Elsig, a group met at World YMCA headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to explore resource development around Vision 2030. A subsequent meeting in Geneva addressed building the Movement support functions which will support local and national YMCAs
  • At the National General Secretaries Annual Conference in Estes Park, Colorado at the end of March, Vision 2030 – implementation, activation and funding – was the main focus.  
  • World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee and strategy director Razvan-Victor Sassu have presented Vision 2030 to YMCA leaders in France, Germany, Norway and more.
  • YMCAs from the Philippines to East Jerusalem are incorporating Vision 2030 into their planning.

YMCA Ukraine and Romania

It is well over a year and counting since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Lives have been lost, infrastructure destroyed, communities and families broken, and the tragedy continues. 

Viktor Serbulov of YMCA Ukraine and Alina Pop of YMCA Romania reflected on the war, how YMCAs have responded and the importance of Vision 2030 and our quest for a Just World, the fourth pillar.

Alina Pop of YMCA Romania
Alina Pop of YMCA Romania

Alina recounted how she and others were at the border of Ukraine, providing donations to YMCA Karpaty. During the transfer of supplies in bitterly cold weather, friends from that YMCA brought them food. “It was a very emotional moment”, she said. “Heart to heart. Mind to mind. YMCA to YMCA. “Looking back over the 178 years of the YMCA, I think that is the most precious value”.

Viktor expressed gratitude for the YMCA family worldwide, providing support as Ukraine looks ahead to one day returning to “normal life”. 

“I believe Vision 2030 works for wartime and peace”, he said. “It guides us where we can impact our community most. We are thankful for the goodwill and solidarity, and we believe better times will come”. 

A new YMCA Change Agent

In April, 120 young leaders from 57 countries joined the latest cohort of the global YMCA Change Agents programme – the YMCA leadership initiative to cultivate and empower young leaders as changemakers in their communities.

Ruth Toh, a senior marketing executive with the Metropolitan YMCA Singapore, shared why she applied for the programme and what it means to her.  

“Young people have a lot of innovation and creativity to drive solutions and implement them”, she said. “They have so much potential that’s untapped, and this programme gives them a voice to implement what they hope to achieve”.

Ruth said that as she is used to working in a local context, Change Agents offers a chance to meet young people from around the globe. “It was a draw for me to come together with people who want to make a change for youth. Watch the video she and her YMCA put together on her work.

What’s next?

Whether a staff member or volunteer, a young person new to the YMCA or a leader with decades of experience, everyone can participate in implementing Vision 2030. There are many steps everyone can take now:

  • Download the Practical Guide
  • Review the Mapping Report
  • Be inspired by young people like those at the YMCA Rockies – who turned an idea into action. 
  • Look for – and share! –  the highlights of the Show, which we will post weekly on our YouTube Channel.
  • Save the date: Join us for the next Ignite Show on Wednesday, 6 September 2023. Mark your calendar here.

And participate in the Founder’s Day Photo Challenge! On 6 June 2023 – when the YMCA turns 179 years old – join YMCAs around the world in sharing a photo of the work of your YMCA.