YMCA Germany

Germany – National Council of YMCAs

Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1848
Membership Status: Full Member
Full member of the World Alliance of YMCAs since: 1855

Brief YMCA History

The beginnings of the German YMCA reach back to the foundation of the ‘Missions-Jüngling’-Association Barmen-Gemarke (a place in Germany) by the 16-year-old F. W. Isenberg in the year 1823.

In 1848, the ‘Young Mens Association of Rhineland-Westphalia’ in Elberfeld was founded as a first regional union.

In 1882, a first big gathering of the German Associations of Young Men took place.

The National Council of YMCAs in Germany of today has been developed since.
In 1883, the YMCA Berlin has been founded.

Since the Sixtieth of the 20th century, more and more women and girls took part in the work of the YMCA. This lead to a change of name of the movement in 1985. Whereas the German YMCA used to be called ‘Christlicher Verein Junger Männer’ (Christian Association of Young Men), it is now called ‘Christlicher Verein Junger Menschen’ (Christian Association of Young People).

Mission Statement


1. The work of YMCA is founded on the Paris Basis of the World Alliance of YMCAs and the additional declaration of the National Association of the YMCA in Germany:

The Young Men’s Christian Associations seek to unite those young men who, regarding Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour, according to the Holy Scriptures, desire to be his disciples in their faith and in their life, and to associate their efforts for the extension ohis Kingdom amongst young men.
Any differences of opinion on other subjects, however important in themselves, shall not interfere with the harmonious relations of the constituent members and associates of the World Alliance.

The YMCA was founded as an association of young men. Today membership is open to anybody. Men and women, boys and girls from all peoples, denominations and social classes form the worldwide fellowship in the YMCA. In the National Association of the YMCA in Germany, the Paris Basis today applies to the work with all young people.’ (Kasei 1985/2000).

2. The active leaders in the YMCA are united in their faith in Jesus Christ. They belong to different Christian churches. The YMCA is a part of the worldwide community of Jesus Christ. Its missionary work contributes to the building up of this community. The YMCA strives for the cooperation with the Christian churches

3. Volunteer work is essential in the YMCA. Volunteers and Professionals work together as partners.

4. The participation in the programmes of the YMCA is open to boys and girls, women and men from all social, ethnic, cultural and religious groups. The programmes offered foster mutual understanding and respect.

5. In the YMCA it is above all young adults, youth and children who experience the love of God through personal care and accompaniment and are invited to find their faith in Jesus Christ.

6. In the fellowship of the YMCA all people shall experience appreciation, discover and develop their talents and take responsibility in accordance with their abilities.

7. The work of the YMCA is done holistically. It regards the human being as an integrated whole of body, mind and spirit, in their relationship to themselves, to other human beings, to creation and to God. The work materializes in a variety of forms of youth work, youth education and social youth work.

8. The YMCA is a youth association based on democratic principles and practices. It lobbies for the interests of young people in youth politics and supports them on their efforts to take social responsibility.

9. The YMCAs are linked together in a network regionally, nationally and internationally, hence they offer young people the chance to learn from each other through meetings and mutual exchanges and to fight for a more equitable living together of people in this world.

Adopted by the Executive Committee of the National Council of YMCAs in Germany on 13 April 2002.

Main Programmes

Different groups of Age- and Target groups
Children groups for 6 – 8 year olds, ‘Jungschar’ for 9 – 13 year olds
Youth from 13 – 16 years olds meet in youth clubs, ‘Jungenschaften’, girls groups and open door work. Groups for young adults from 17 years are a point of emphasis.

Music within the CVJM
About 27 000 players of brass instruments (male and female) are gathered in about 1 200 brass bands. In addition there are many youth choirs and bands. Through co-operation with the Norwegian YMCA since 1986 many TEN SING groups have been founded. Today there are about 170 TEN SING groups.

Sports within the CVJM
The German YMCA sports programme is named ‘Eichenkreuz’. 40 000 persons meet mostly once a week in about 900 groups. Every year Championships take place in following sports: Basketball, Soccer, Indiaca, handball, table tennis and volleyball. There are also championships in athletics, skiing and swimming.

NGS, Hansjörg Kopp

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