Bahamas – National Council of YMCAs
Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1966
Membership Status: Associate Member
Associate of the World Alliance of YMCAs since: 1988
Brief YMCA History
The Grand Bahama YMCA was founded in 1966 and was officially chartered in 1969, largely through contact with and help from the Miami YMCA. Despite several years of questionable management and well meaning but misdirected administration, it has now re-evaluated its direction by adopting a structured long term development plan under new management. It has grown considerably over the past ten years having taken a new approach to management and administration and moving into the twenty first century with a solid business base upon which to build its future and fulfil its Christian Mission. Its current operational structure and direction has been to build the financial strength of the YMCA thereby creating an economic base from which to spring-board its overall programs generally and the community social programs in particular. This approach worked and the long term plan continues to provide the foundation for success.
In the past the YMCA of Grand Bahama attempted to meet many of the needs of the community which it served without the implementation of any form of long term corporate planning. This resulted in the eventual failure of any constructive objective being attained over a long period as it struggled to survive and meet the demands of its Mission. This situation was ultimately corrected and many of the wants and needs of the community were then met, albeit within a very restrictive budget. Despite working on this financial ‘shoe-string’ the YMCA is currently experiencing major sustained success once again fulfilling its Mission. It has expanded its programs from eight in 1991 to over forty programs as of December, 2000. It has tripled its financial income since 1992 allowing the YMCA to expand its services and elevate its administrative planning to a new level.
It took major steps forward in its international affairs re-evaluating its Associate membership with the World Alliance in 1995 and also joining the Latin American and Caribbean Federation in August, 1997. It joined in partnership with two YMCAs in the USA and one in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in the mid-1990s. One of our past Board Members, and a current benefactor, is a direct descendent of George Williams, the founder of the YMCA in England in 1844.
In the 1980s the Eight Mile Rock Branch of the Grand Bahama YMCA closed due to lack of physical resources and financial support. In December 2000 this Branch was re-opened following major renovations and the acquisition of equipment. Several programs were successfully implemented resulting in the many of the needs of the Community being met. During 2000 expansion plans were being explored in reference to creating a YMCA in the Capital, Nassau.
THE YMCA TODAY
The YMCA of Grand Bahama consists of one association in the city of Freeport, with a satellite in the Eight Mile Rock region of the island of Grand Bahama.
It is struggling financially but growing rapidly serving predominantly youth. As the island is very small its corporate financial support resources are extremely limited. Its development plans strongly emphasis youth and its place as an active contributing member of the international YMCA Family. Its youth outreach and Street Gang Sports Programs target young people at risk and provides positive mentoring. These programs are headed by reformed Ex-offenders who are now on staff and other professional persons.
Motto: ‘Developing Our Youth, Serving Our Community, Building Our Nation’.
Established in 1967, the YMCA of the Bahamas focuses on working not only for individual development of the human person through programmes pertaining to body, mind, and spirit, but also working for the entire Bahamian community.
The YMCA of the Bahamas utilises an interpretation of the Paris Basis, which emphasises two main purposes: working for ‘unity’ and working for the establishment of ‘the kingdom of God’ on earth, as principles upon which its mission statement is based. In accordance with this, the statement reads: ‘The YMCA of the Bahamas is a Christian organisation committed to the development of the Bahamian community in spirit, mind, and body, and to the promotion of social justice and peace’.
Commitment to its mission has led the YMCA of the Bahamas to work with all people in the community irrespective of religious, racial, gender, or culture background. This commitment has also led the YMCA to work for social change, addressing the root causes of issues and problems faced by Bahamians. In addition to recreation, sports, and educational activities, the YMCA is also engaged in the formation of programmes for social change and to promote Christian principles and values. It is involved in people’s issues through community organising and programmes for empowering all Bahamians, especially youth. The YMCA, in keeping with its spiritual basis, continues to explore and renew spirituality relevant to the times.
– to expand present facilities and develop new ones;
– to strengthen family life through programs which enhance relationships and improve communication;
– to develop indigenous lay and professional leaders with a capacity to expand YMCA programs and services;
– to strengthen collaboration with other agencies and organisations.
– Youth Leadership Development.
Address – National Office
Ms Karon Pinder Johnson
YMCA of Grand Bahama
P O Box F-40253/Settlers Way
Freeport / Grand Bahama
No YMCA accomodation available in Bahamas.