For nearly 200 years, the work of the YMCA Movement has evolved to meet the needs of young people, and vulnerable people, and communities everywhere.
In 2015, as part of the One Million Voices research carried out by the global YMCA Movement, young people highlighted the four areas that concerned them most, and where they wanted YMCA to work. These were Health, the Environment, Employment and Civic Engagement.
YMCAs worldwide align, because almost all of their programmes – all over the world – address one or more of these four issues.
But YMCAs address other key issues too, like supporting refugees and migrants, and people living with disabilities.
So first, in 2017, the World YMCA Executive Committee issued a values statement which underlined that diversity and inclusiveness are cornerstones of the YMCA movement, which is open to all people, everywhere, regardless of their ability, age, culture, ethnicity, race, religion, sexuality, social or economic background.
We seek a YMCA – and a world – which is safe and inclusive, and where everyone can feel welcome.
And second, in 2018, at the 2018 YMCA World Council in Chiangmai, Thailand, the global YMCA approved a Resolution committed to supporting Migrants and Refugees in all their many needs.
All these concerns are interlinked: some YMCA programmes supporting Inclusiveness and Migrants and Refugees are standalone, while others in fact fall under one of the four main key impact areas of Health, the Environment, Employment and Civic Engagement.
And so the global YMCA is able to communicate within and beyond the Movement about six priority areas of action.
Health: YMCA is committed to helping young people overcome barriers to accessing quality health education. It provides services to improve their wellbeing in spirit, mind and body.
Environment: YMCA is committed to advancing global conservation and responsibility to reduce the effects of climate change through youth-led education programmes and advocacy initiatives that improve environmental awareness.
Engagement: YMCA is committed to providing platforms for young people to lead change in their communities through civic action and advocacy, gender equality, youth justice and leadership development.
Employment: YMCA is committed to providing quality education, vocational training, and opportunities to young people to ensure they have the experience and knowledge needed to succeed in today’s work environment.
Inclusiveness: YMCA is committed to ensuring that young people have a safe space to belong, contribute and thrive in their local community, regardless of where they come from, who they love or how they worship.
Migrants and Refugees: YMCA supports the wellbeing and integration of migrants and refugees into the societies in which they seek to build a new life.