Russia – National Council of YMCAs
Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1900 (Restarted in 1991)
Membership Status: Full Member
Full member of the World Alliance of YMCAs since: 2010
Brief YMCA History
Year 1900: The YMCA of Russia was founded in St. Petersburg. Under the auspices of the Empress Alexandra, Mr James Stocks of the USA was able to unite all those who were seriously interested in the growth of YMCA in Russia. Under this project, which was called The Light House, a number of programs were developed. The goals were: Profound respect of the Russian culture and traditions of the Orthodox church – development of the spirit, mind and body.
General Secretary of the International Committee of Canada and the USA, Dr John R. Mott, helped to organize the Russian Christian Student Movement in the universities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. In 1905, Mr A. Gaylord, the first secretary of the YMCA in Russia, formed an organisation: St. Petersburg Society of Young People. Here young people were able to strengthen their moral and physical development. This society grew very fast and in a very short time had more than 2000 members. YMCAs emerged in the cities of Krasnoyarsk, Vladivostok and Riga.
The October Revolution of 1917 put an end to the development of the YMCA in Russia. The Bolsheviks shut down the headquarters of the YMCA in Moscow in 1919. In 1989 and 1991 two delegations from the YMCA of the USA and the World Alliance of YMCA visited the USSR. These visits marked the revival of the YMCA in Russia. The YMCA of the USA received a grant from World Learning. This grant, and Perestroika, allowed local YMCA organisations to spring up in different regions of Russia.
The first conference, held in 1992 in Moscow, brought together the YMCA leaders of Russia, the newly Independent States, Europe and USA. That conference, and many that followed, bonded the partnership ties of the Russian local YMCAs with their American and European partners. The provisional board of the Russian YMCA was formed in 1996. Nikolai Kurochkin was its first chairman. Also during that time the Field Group 9 (FG9) was formed under the auspices of the the European Alliance of YMCAs (EAY). The EAY and the YMCA of the USA delegated their best professionals and volunteers to FG 9 as members. FG9 is now known as Field Group Russia.
In 1998 the Russian YMCA movement secured official status as the Inter-Regional Association of the YMCAs of Russia. Sixteen local organisations in different regions of Russia offer programs to different population groups including children, the socially excluded, seniors, orphans and the disabled. Their programmes continue to preserve and respect the Russian traditions. Based on Christian values, all programmes are targeted at the young and old of all social groups. People of different faiths are welcomed to the YMCAs of Russia.
The Program Festival in Suzdal in 1999 proved that the Russian YMCA is on the right track. The strong support and collaboration of the partners in the USA, Europe and FG 9 has helped to gain international recognition for the Russian YMCAS. With enthusiasm and pride we learnt that the Inter-regional Association was accepted as a full member of the EAY in May 2000. We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped us in our development.
Without that help we would not have been able to achieve what we have accomplished. The YMCAs of Russia will continue to play an important role in the lives of local communities.
Being a part of a wide world YMCA movement, Russian YMCA perceives its mission as a contribution to harmonic personality development and integration of young people into a democratic society basing on Christian and Humanistic values.
Main principles of Russian YMCA activities:
1. To respect every person’s individuality and to accept his/her personalities’ traits.
2. To unite people under the idea of Kindness and Service to others, to overcome social barriers among people; to provide people with equal opportunities for spiritual, intellectual, and physical development regardless of their financial opportunities, physical abilities, gender, and religion.
3. To develop leadership skills and to spread humanistic values within youth; to foster citizenship activity by means of their involvement into social decisions; to facilitate their ability to take the responsibility on themselves on different levels of YMCA’s activity.
4. To contribute to volunteer service as a basic principle of our activity.
5. To develop programs and projects those aims correspond to the needs of local communities in a most significant way.
6. To involve heritage and best traditions of Russian Orthodox Church, Russian Spirituality, and Russian culture.
kindergarden – YMCA-Moscow
speech therapy – YMCA-Smile
nursery school – YMCA-Yaroslavl
preparation for school – YMCA-Smile
artistic creativity (painting, drawing, graphics) – YMCA-Ozerky, YMCA-Smile
studio of the fine arts – YMCA-Ivanovo
centre of the arts for kids and youth – YMCA-Smile
arts for the kids – YMCA-Kirovsk (Leningrad region)
choreography studio – YMCA-Olymp
christian education for kids – YMCA-Ozerky
christian holidays – YMCA-Ivanovo
christian camp – YMCA-Kirovsk (Murmansk region)
sports and fitness
fitness and aerobic for students – YMCA-Yaroslavl
swimming – YMCA-Syktyvkar
karate, shaping, aerobic, fitness for seniors – YMCA-Lesnaya
healthy child and healthy family – YMCA-Ozerky
tourism – YMCA-‘Scouts league’
gymnastics – YMCA-Sobor
volleyball, basketball – YMCA-Olymp
junior basketball, martial arts – YMCA-Smile
programmes for the socially excluded and the kids with special needs
social rehabilitation centre – YMCA-Smile
centre for ‘street’ children – YMCA-Ivanovo
sport for deaf and mute children – YMCA-Yaroslavl
social care for refugees – YMCA-Kirovsk (Leningrad region)
children and youth camps
winter and summer camp – YMCA-Smile, YMCA-Ozerky, YMCA-‘Scouts league’ city camp for teenagers ‘camp of travels’ – YMCA-Yaroslavl
‘english for everyone’ – foreign language centre for kids, youth & families – YMCA-Ozerky
foreign languages for children, toefl classes – YMCA-Smile
english club – YMCA-Yaroslavl
education programmes for youth – YMCA-Enlighenment
multimedia centre – YMCA-Ivanovo
management basics for youth – YMCA-Smile
tensing, youth theatre studios
tensing – YMCA-Kirovsk (Murmansk region), YMCA Kirovsk (Leningrad region), YMCA-Poklonnaya gora
theatre-studio, fashion theatre – YMCA-Smile
choreography studio – YMCA-Olymp
theatre for teenagers – YMCA-Yaroslavl
ecological programmes – YMCA-‘Scouts league’
ecology studies – YMCA-Ozerky
ecology camp – YMCA-Kirovsk (Murmansk region)
drugs prevention programmes
street basketball for teenagers – YMCA-Sobor
anti-drugs programmes – YMCA-Olymp
leadership training and courses
YMCA-Kirovsk (Murmansk region), YMCA-Smile, YMCA-Ivanovo, YMCA-Moscow
iccp – international camp counsellor programme
recruitment of russian counsellors to work in the us summer camps – YMCA-Smile, YMCA-Pokionnaya gora, YMCA-Kirovsk (Leningrad region)