Preparing the CoLabs for World Council

Date: 06 April 2022

20 people from every continent came together at World YMCA headquarters in Geneva from 30 March to 1 April, to map out 3-days’ worth (some 8 hours) of ‘CoLabs’, one of the centrepiece activities of the 20th YMCA World Council to be held in person in Aarhus, Denmark and online, 3-9 July 2022.

‘This is the most international workshop I have ever attended, and undoubtedly one of the most complex’, said Dean Johnson of ThinkPlace Australia, who facilitated the workshop alongside Grace Archer and Brittany Thurston.  ‘It has been a lot of fun.’

The group looked at expectations for the CoLabs from a wide variety of likely participants: young people, local, national, regional and global YMCA staff, partners and donors. ‘CoLabs are spaces where the participants co-create, reflect and shape the implementation of YMCA Vision 2030’, said World YMCA Head of Policy and Strategy, Razvan Sassu. ‘We have taken huge strides in planning the four key stages of uniting, exploring, creating and igniting, as we put flesh on the bones of three goals each (an internal YMCA goal, an external YMCA-in-the-community goal, and a global YMCA-on-the-world-stage goal) for each of the four Pillars of Impact for YMCA Vision 2030: Community Wellbeing; Meaningful Work, Sustainable Planet, Just World. We came a long way – it’s very exciting.’

In the coming weeks, the team will map out a full CoLab schedule, choose facilitators (we envisage two for each group of 30, with up to 30 individual groups). The team will reflect on the ‘evidence marketplace’ – the resources which people will discuss and which will lead to concrete solutions – and also the pledges that each CoLab participant will make at the end of the three days, as they commit to taking action back in their local YMCA.


Attendees included:

Adriana Stanovici, Tom Valentine, YMCA USA

Alina Pop, YMCA Romania

Ana Clara Rodriguez, YMCA Uruguay

Antonio Merino, YMCA Latin America & Caribbean

Emily Greco, YMCA Australia

Jessica Nkongolo, Peter Dinsdale, Kathi Lomas, Jessica Lue, YMCA Canada

Juan Iglesias, Olga Lukina, YMCA Europe

Kerry Reilly, YMCA Scotland

Nana Peperahantwi, YMCA Ghana

Nirina Rakotomalala, Lloyd Wamai, YMCA Africa

Olga Katrine, YMCA Denmark

Mike Bromfield, Bromfield Events

Dean Johnson, Grace Archer & Brittany Thurston, ThinkPlace Australia

Carlos Sanvee, Razvan Sassu, Nathalie Thomas, John Phillips, World YMCA