Vision 2030 – a strategy becoming a plan

Date: 27 September 2022

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YMCA Vision 2030 took a step nearer to implementation on 19-23 September 2022 when a group of 25 people from across the global YMCA Movement met in Leysin, Switzerland, to chart next steps and develop an outline roadmap to 2030.

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[mkd_blockquote text=”‘Thank you for the energy, creativity, wisdom and collaboration’” dash_gradient_style=”mkd-type1-gradient-bottom-to-top-after”]
[mkd_blockquote text=”‘I have returned home with a spirit full satisfaction for the task shared during the week’” dash_gradient_style=”mkd-type1-gradient-bottom-to-top-after”]
[mkd_blockquote text=”… ‘thank you for transporting us with ideas, conversations and inspiration’” dash_gradient_style=”mkd-type1-gradient-bottom-to-top-after”]
[mkd_blockquote text=”… ‘looking forward to the impact we can achieve collectively’” dash_gradient_style=”mkd-type1-gradient-bottom-to-top-after”]

‘We are not alone’ said Jan Owen, the Australian social entrepreneur who facilitated the event alongside World YMCA’s Head of Strategy and Policy, Răzvan Sassu.

‘Almost every global organisation is on the journey we are on right now: interrogating their purpose, impact, model and structures to be fit-for-purpose in the 21st Century. To adapt and stay relevant in a fast-moving and increasingly complex world takes deep listening, imagination, courage and will. Remember this: we are the oldest and one of the largest youth empowerment movements in the world. With young people, we have the power to drive change and shape our world.’

She encouraged the group to look at paths of reimagination and reinvention followed by other social change organisations, emphasising that none have grown without being firmly rooted in cause and mission, and without adapting to changing realities.

‘And please let’s never forget that our ultimate accountability is not to ourselves in the YMCA, but to young people and their future’, said Tom Valentine, Vice President, ‘International’ at Y USA.

The meeting itself moved from examining context, to analysis, to planning.

The group began by reviewing the outcomes of the 35 ‘Co-Lab’ (‘collaboration laboratory’) groups which met in-person at World Council in Aarhus and the 8 which met online. Guided by a synthesis of the Co-Lab findings under each of the 12 Goals attached to the four Pillars of Impact (Community Wellbeing, Meaningful Work, Sustainable Planet, Just World), the group set out the challenges under each pillar, and the main areas which YMCA programmes can address.

The group then envisioned where it wanted the YMCA Movement to be in eight years’ time: the target date for Vision 2030, and for the realisation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It made a first, quantified sketch of what the YMCA Movement wants to achieve under each of the four Pillars, and for itself as a global organisation.

The group then began to address four questions:

  • How do we benchmark our progress on Vision 2030?
  • How do we map our present situation in order to shape our future plans to deliver Vision 2030?
  • What support systems do we need to make Vision 2030 a robust and shared exercise?
  • What new or revised structures do we need to implement Vision 2030?

The group then discussed the optimum models for delivery and accountability, ensuring Movement-wide ownership of Vision 2030 which is as much ‘bottom-up’ as ‘top-down’. Across many different and complex YMCA ‘ecosystems’, a constant is that impetus, ideas and actions have to come from young people, and not simply cascade downwards to them.

The group discussed building on existing groupings within the YMCA Movement to create core teams for each of the four Vision 2030 Pillars of Impact, and creating channels and resources to galvanise and coordinate work at the global, regional, national and local levels.

The group completed its assignment by developing an outline Vision 2030 Implementation Framework which will be presented to the World YMCA Executive Committee at end-October 2022, and to the entire YMCA Movement thereafter.

World YMCA will also issue a Vision 2030 Activation Guidebook on how YMCAs can put Vision 2030 into practice by integrating it into their own national or local strategies.

‘Vision 2030 was my introduction to the YMCA’, said Marcus Van Wyck, new National General Secretary of YMCA South Africa. ‘I devoured it and loved it, and I wanted more. I want to be part of this. It will shape the way we move forward in South Africa.’

‘What we are attempting is concentration and focus which multiplies our impact’, said Răzvan Sassu. ‘That means all of us operating in some or all of the same impact areas, all of us sharing our stories of best practice and best progress, all of us making stronger arguments on a global stage based on the weight of shared data and evidence.’

‘Our hopes and concerns are two sides of the same coin’, said Fredrik Glad-Gernes of YMCA Norway and Bethia McNeil of Youth Impact UK. ‘The upside is that we believe we can and will be brave, take risks, and make this count. The downside is that we mustn’t go into our shells, and retreat into what we know. There must be, and we think there is, a real appetite for change.’

‘I’ve been very excited to talk to a number of National and Local Movements who want to adopt Vision 2030 entirely’, said World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee, citing recent examples in Australia, India, the UK and the US. ‘And I’ve spoken to others who are honest enough to say that they still don’t quite know how to use it, if at all. Meanwhile a number of YMCA National Movements ask whether what they are already doing and planning aligns with Vision 2030. Almost invariably, I say it does. But the real criterion for aligning with Vision 2030 is that all the work we do in the YMCA should be bringing about deep and lasting change – ‘system change’.

Vision 2030 webpage

Vision 2030 ‘at a glance’ (31 August 2022)

YMCA stories from around the world linked to the four Vision 2030 Pillars of Impact here and here

The group included the following people:


Nirina Rakotomalala
General Secretary, Africa Alliance of YMCAs

Nam Boo-Won
General Secretary, Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs

Peter Dinsdale
President and Chief Executive Officer, YMCA Canada

Juan Simoes Iglesias
Secretary General, YMCA Europe

Antonio Merino
Secretary General, YMCA Latin America & Caribbean

Tom Valentine
Vice President, International Group – Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, YMCA of the USA

Kerry Reilly
Chief Executive & National General Secretary, YMCA Scotland

Jessica Nkongolo
Manager, Youth & Global Initiatives, YMCA Canada

Bertram Devadas
National General Secretary, The National Council of YMCAs of India

Marcus Van Wyk
Chief Executive Officer & National General Secretary, YMCA South Africa

Rocio Solis
National General Director, YMCA Peru

Kathi Lomas McGee
Vice President, Participant Experience, YMCA Canada

Loris Tarazi
Youth volunteer & Board member, East Jerusalem YMCA

Ana Clara Marti
Global Youth Mobilization consultant, YMCA Uruguay

Fredrik Glad Gjernes
International Director, Y Global Norway

Gerhard Wiebe
Director, International Department, YMCA Germany

Graeme Hodge
Chief Executive, All We Can, UK

Ianne Christine J. Aquino
General Secretary, YMCA of Albay, Philippines

Bethia NcNeil
CEO, YMCA George Williams College, UK

Renata Ferrari
Senior Director, Global Advancement – Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, YMCA of the USA

Rehana Merali
Head of Partnerships, Y Care International, UK

Daniel Galan Aguilar
Opportunity Inspirer, YMCA Latin America & Caribbean

Nico Gourdet
Director, Global Leadership – Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, YMCA of the USA

Jose Varghese
International Secretary General, Y’s Men International

Hannah Sauer
Youth, Advocacy & Project Assistant, YMCA Europe

Jan Owen
Principal, AdaptabilityQ, Australia

Caroline Chernov
Director, Apeirogon Advisory, Australia

Our Time. Our Moment. Ignite Change.