What does love have to do with it?

Date: 01 May 2013

In April, 2013 NAYDO (North America YMCA Development Organisation)  held their annual conference under the theme ‘Bringing People Together’ in Vancouver, Canada. We were seventy-five international delegates from 29 countries participated in a group of more than 1,100 people who came together to learn and share best practices in philanthropy and resource mobilisation.

In one session, a volunteer of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina spoke about his personal journey. He said the YMCA gave him a sense of belonging. The YMCA was a welcoming environment – where people can come together to change and be changed. It is where you can experience the potential of the YMCA.  

“Love has much to do with it. It is when you speak from the heart. It is when you listen from the heart, and it is when you give from the heart”

Experience From Previous Naydo Meetings
We observed that NAYDO is a safe space to learn and to be challenged to do more. The final session with  the delegations from around the world showed that we, outside the North America region, have begun to measure the impact of several years of successive participation in the NAYDO conference.

•    We have developed and modeled new experiences of annual campaigns,
•    Some of us launched new marketing strategies, developed new policies and
      practices for recruiting and engaging volunteers,
•   We have ventured in to capital campaigns, and strengthened the capacity of
     their boards and professional staff.

Learning at NAYDO is not solely focused on participating in workshops and hearing keynote speakers – it takes place in the spaces where we sit next to each other and share stories and tell about our experiences. At Naydo we connect, learn and unit around common language of caring, giving, and belonging.

Beyond North America boundaries
On the last day, Secretary General Johan Vilhelm Eltvik participated in a panel on Impact Investing. He spoke passionately about young people and the difference YMCAs are making everyday working to reverse the trends that are affecting and harming young people. ‘Young people are on the top of all the bad statistics’, he said. ‘I have witnessed the YMCA work around the world – seeking to empower young people to bring hope and change for a better life’. He told the story of young prisoners in Togo who participated in a programme to develop their skills and empower them to look for a new and better future. These young people felt valued and found love through the YMCA – the unconditional love that every human being deserves. This is impact – the impact of the YMCA worldwide – it is part of our Christian commitment to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.  

Will you give from your heart to support young people to find their sense of belonging and be part of a change process for a better life for all?

Write to comment@ymca.int

Selma Zaidi
Senior Executive Secretary, World Alliance of YMCAs