Navigating the online experience

Date: 22 June 2022

Nearly 150 participants logged on to the 21 June webinar for ONLINE attendees at the 20th World Council, now only days away. Led by online programme manager Mike Bromfield, the webinar provided details on the purpose, programme and practical matters of the first ever hybrid World Council. 

“Our journey to Aarhus, Denmark has already begun,” said World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee, welcoming webinar attendees from Hong Kong, Cambodia, Australia, Nigeria and Germany, to name just a few locations. “We have surpassed 1,000 in-person attendees and have nearly that many for the online programme. It’s set to be the largest World Council, and it’s so important to come together again after such a disruption in our lives from Covid.” 

“We’ll come together as a family”, he added. “We’ll listen to each other’s stories, support one another and renew ourselves”.

Because attendees will be tuning in from around the globe in many different time zones, Mike confirmed that everything will be available to watch on-demand. In addition, there are numerous opportunities to connect with colleagues. “It’s a highly collaborative and interactive programme where you can meet other attendees from around the world”, he said.

As a hybrid World Council, many events are shared experiences, such as the opening and closing ceremonies, keynote and endnote sessions, Engagement Panels and governance matters. The online Co-Labs, the small group interactive spaces where attendees come together through a facilitated process to address issues and solutions related to YMCA Vision 2030, will have two tracks. Track 1 is 5-7 July, 20:00 CEST/Aarhus time, and Track 2 is 6-8 July, 09:00 CEST/ Aarhus time. Attendees select the track that works best for the duration of World Council.  Both in-person and online attendees will then come together at the end of World Council for a Co-Lab plenary to review outcomes. 

Said Adriana Stanovici of the YMCA of the USA, “We will all be doing this for the first time, and together we will innovate, ignite passion and connect. The experience must be inspirational and meaningful for all attendees in this historic online delegation”.  

The online experience also features several exclusives, including:

  • World Council Daily: This 45-minute live stream chat show will recap the day’s main events 
  • Q & A sessions: These provide exclusive access to YMCA leaders. “We know how important those 5-minute conversations in the hallway can be,” said Mike of the in-person experience. “It’s a bit harder at home in remote format, so we wanted to replicate that experience.”
  • ‘Recharge your Batteries’: Avoid information overload by taking a break with yoga, Pilates and even a Danish cooking class, where a chef will demonstrate how to make Danish pastries. A shopping list will be provided so you can bake right along at home!
  • Photo booth: The group photo is an iconic moment of the in-person experience, and it’s now part of the online experience. Attendees are encouraged to take selfies, which will be assembled in a collage for the first ever hybrid group photo. 

Ensuring in advance that all is optimal with their technology will help attendees have the best possible experience. Keep in mind:

  • The Attendee Hub, which will be available later this month, will be the go-to place to access all events and information. Sessions will not be available to watch through the mobile app. 
  • Make sure Zoom and your web browser – Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox – are up to date.
  • Sessions are optimised for computers and laptops; viewing on a mobile device is not recommended.

Although the webinar covered a great deal of information, World YMCA president Patricia Pelton said online attendees are bound to have questions, particularly at the beginning of World Council. 

“Be patient and don’t panic!” she said, adding that everyone at World YMCA will work to ensure a great experience at this first ever hybrid World Council.