Norway – National Council of YMCAs
Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1868
Membership Status: Full Member
Full member of the World Alliance of YMCAs since: 1905
Brief YMCA History
The first YMCA was formed in Stavanger in 1868, the second one in Oslo the following year. There were seven associations in 1876. The first National conference was called in 1880, at which the National Alliance of YMCAs of Norway was formed. The movement grew rapidly, and from 1885 the organisation had their first full-time secretary. By 1895 there were 185 associations with all together more than 11.000 members, but only 12 of these associations had premises of their own. These associations were closely linked to the parish church, with a strong evangelistic approach in their activities. Music, singing, prayer and discussion were the main programme items. From the very beginning these parish-based groups welcomed women and girls into their activities. In 1887, a separate YWCA movement was formed. However, in 1894 the YMCA and the YWCA merged at the national level into one movement, called the Christian Youth Association of Norway (NKUF). On the local level some associations remained YMCAs or YWCAs, and many, particularly in the rural areas – became joint YWCA-YMCAs. As a strong confessional movement, many local groups were unwilling to accept the Paris Basis. Thus, the affiliation to the World Alliance was effected only in 1905, based on a by all parties satisfactory formula. The organisation got its present name ‘YWCA-YMCA of Norway’ in 1987.
As the work spread, the interest developed related to work overseas. In 1909, the ‘Youth Mission’ was organised. The department supported YMCA work in China. After 1929, overseas work has been done (mainly) through missionary societies, in collaboration with local churches.
Boys work became increasingly important, with special emphasis on physical education and camps. During the two World Wars, the YMCA organised centres for the Armed Forces and rendered services to refugees and displaced persons. After the second World War, the main effort and interest was in youth clubs for teenagers.
Towards the end of the 1960’s, Ten Sing (Teenager singing), a creative, democratic programme for and by teenagers based on performing arts, spread and became the major programme, beside the Scouting programme. Since 1986 the Ten Sing Norway project played a significant role as a part of the national Youth Leadership Training Programmes, as well as generating a lot of international contacts, leadership and programme resources for the Norwegian movement as well as other countries involved, especially within Europe.
The YMCA Scouts of Norway formally became autonomous in 1995. The YMCA Scouts have during the 1990’s played an important role in the development and integration of the YMCA movements in Eastern and Central Europe. From being a ‘boys only’, the YMCA Scouts has started the process of including girls in their programmes.
‘Delta Internasjonalt’, the International Partnerships of the YWCA-YMCA, representing the solidarity work and development assistance to partners in the South, started up in 1947 as a response to the emergency needs of post-war Germany, and linked formally up to the YWCA-YMCA of Norway in 1980. Delta plays an important role raising awareness of international issues, as well as being a channel for exchanging resources with partners in the South.
At the start of the 3rd millennium we anticipate a stronger integration of the different parts of the joint Norwegian movement.
The YMCA of Norway consists of the two organisations YWCA-YMCA of Norway (joint movement) and the YMCA Scouts of Norway. The YWCA Scouts of Norway is also linked up to the YWCA-YMCA family.
The YMCA Scouts of Norway is an autonomous organisation with its own Mission Statement, but is obliged on the decisions of the YWCA-YMCA of Norway on ideological and theological issues.
‘Delta Internasjonalt’, the International Partnerships of YWCA-YMCA of Norway (working with partners in the South and Middle East) is a separate organisation with close formal and practical links to the YWCA and YMCA of Norway. Delta has its own ecumenical basis and mission statement.
The YWCA-YMCA of Norway has in its laws a confessional binding to the Church of Norway, which is Evangelical-Lutheran. This close link is also evident in the infrastructure of the YWCA-YMCA, e.g. in sharing of facilities and some staff positions.
Definition of the YWCA-YMCA of Norway:
The YWCA-YMCA of Norway is a nation-wide Christian member association comprising local associations and units for children, youth and adults, as well as single (direct) members. The local associations / units have committed themselves to the laws of the YWCA-YMCA of Norway, and are organised through regions and program fields.
Mission Statement of the YWCA-YMCA of Norway
1. The YWCA-YMCA of Norway is under the obligation of the Bible and the Confession of the Church of Norway, and has as its purpose to help people finding a living faith in Jesus Christ.
2. The YWCA-YMCA of Norway wish to develop and take responsibility for the whole human being, including body, mind and spirit, as well as challenge people to active service in church and society.
Mission Statement of the YMCA Scouts of Norway
The YMCA Scouts of Norway has as a goal to let children and youth meet the Christian message, so that they will be able to reach a living faith in Jesus Christ and have the possibility to Christian growth and service.
The work will also give help to handle practical situations in life and set focus on personal independence, human care and community responsibility, intercultural understanding and abilities to see the value of nature.
The programme work of the (YWCA-)YMCA in Norway is to a large extent run by volunteer leaders, with a minimum of paid staff and own premises. The great majority of programmes are group-oriented, involving mainly children and youth, and has a clear Christian emphasis.
CHILDREN (Mainly mixed groups):
1. Clubs, launched early 1900. Activities spends from playing games, doing handicrafts and excursions.
2. Choirs, launched in 1974, and based upon the idea of Ten Sing (performing arts).
3. Wild & Wolley, adopted from Denmark in 1999, and still in the implementation phase. The ingredients are: outdoor activities, children and adults playing and doing things together, empowerment of the children and flexible plans
Christian values and thoughts are communicated in different ways in these programmes. The children can also participate in different festivals, camps and weekends.
TEENAGERS (Mixed groups)
The first Ten Sing programme started in Norway in 1967, inspired by ‘Sing Out’ / ‘Up with People’ from the USA. Ten Sing (‘Teenagers Singing’), is a creative youth work based on performing arts with a strong internal Christian emphasis and a democratic structure. The young people themselves are in charge, with support from adults.
The majority of the sports members of the YWCA-YMCA is connected to two bigger local associations with their own sport halls. The rest are organised in smaller units, with sport programmes such as volleyball, soccer, handball, basket, athletics, floor ball, tae kwon do and trial (precision riding on motor bikes). Most of the other YWCA-YMCA programmes integrate sports activities.
The youth clubs, aiming at offering youth a drug-free, safe place with a Christian profile (Christian leadership and board of members), represent a range of activities; discussions, film, theme evening, or just a place to hang out, often situated in church basements or bomb shelters.
Based on our close connection to the Church of Norway, we assist the local churches in their confirmation work by offering teaching material, as well as musical projects where confirmands from several local churches work together in a process. In addition we facilitate integration of the confirmation work in local YWCA-YMCA programmes.
YOUNG ADULTS, ADULTS AND FAMILY
The young adults programmes (age 19-30) include choirs and different sport activities. Due to the fact that people of this age often are leaders themselves, there are some cafés in the biggest cities which are meant to be a ‘sanctuary’ for tired leaders. The café programmes include debates and concerts.
The Adult Programme is based on ‘units’. Many of these units are also registered as local associations, which in addition to involving adults are responsible for units of youth and children.
The Adult programme also includes YWCA-YMCA support groups, YWCA-groups and choirs. On a National level the Adult Programme is responsible for running camps for families and retired people.
The YMCA Scouts of Norway seeks to achieve its mission statement through four different dimensions of the work: Outdoor Life, Friendship, Leadership Training and Christian Emphasis. The Christian message is a key word in the outdoor life, friendship as well as in the leader training.
The work of the YMCA Scouts of Norway includes 4 branches: Hares (6-8), Cubs (8-11), Scouts (11-16) and Rover Scouts(16 and up), the three last branches based on patrols.
Based on our close connection to the Church of Norway, we assist the local churches in their confirmation work by offering teaching material. In addition we facilitate integration of the confirmation work in local YMCA scout groups.
Youth Leadership Training Programmes and Internships (Petter/Tor-Jarle)
The Youth Leadership Training Programmes are a vital part of the Norwegian YWCA-YMCA. There are several courses run for all age groups, some taking place during a weekend or the summer holidays, while others are run for one to two years.
Through the YWCA-YMCA, nationally as well as internationally, young people are offered the opportunity of internship, based on their experience and their will and ability of taking upon responsibilty, being open and adaptable to changing conditions, also domestically.
The options are: Domestic internship, Ten Sing Norway, Internship related to Volunteers for Europe programme, in addition to the Solidarity Internship in co-operation with partners in the South. The four Internship programmes involve 50 young people on an annual basis, and include a Bible and Leadership Training Course.
The YWCA-YMCA of Norway is involved in youth exchange, programme development and partnerships with countries in Europe and overseas. Our World Service, Delta, and the Programme Department facilitates and encourages projects and exchange together with partners, and some regional and local YWCA-YMCAs follow up their own relations. The international aspect of YWCA-YMCA is focused and encouraged, and is growing at different levels and in different parts of the work.
The Norwegian YWCA-YMCA arranges every summer family camps and a camp for those over 60 years of age. The regional level also arrange different camps for children, teenagers, young adults and adults, at own or hired premises.
The YWCA-YMCA of Norway own and run two so-called Folk High Schools. These are schools with no formal exams, teaching life skills to domestic and foreign youth (appr. age 18-22) through subjects such as sports, outdoor life, music, computers, dance, theatre, language, handicrafts, international subjects, and through social life, including the dormitory. These schools are an integral part of the Norwegian Educational system. The National Training Centre of the YWCA-YMCA of Norway is located at the Folk High School in Ulsteinvik on the West Coast.
Address – National Office
National General Secretary: Øystein Magelssen
St. Olavs plass, Boks 6814
N-0130 Oslo, Norway
(Visitors: Osterhausgt. 7B)
Phone: +47 22 99 15 10
Fax: +47 22 99 15 11
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Delta Internasjonalt)