In October 2020, World YMCA launched the Youth-Led Solutions Initiative (YLSI) as a response to the YMCA’s ongoing commitment to amplify youth voices and youth-led solutions, and provide agency for young leaders around the world.
YLSI encouraged them to put forward solutions to tackle three of the greatest challenges facing young people today: the climate crisis, the employment crisis, and the mental health crisis.
Through three virtual global summits held in 2020-2021 – and periods of intense community project implementation in between – young people learned, innovated, connected, and took action to drive change in their communities.
After each Summit, the young participants and their mentors worked together in virtual teams to design solutions to local challenges and drive achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
30 climate action projects, 30 future of work projects and two prototype mental health projects were launched.
The Youth-Led Solutions Initiative wrapped up in July 2022 with an event at the 20th YMCA World Council Meeting in Aarhus, Denmark.
And yet ‘Youth Led Solutions’ remains core to what we do. It has marked a fundamental shift in YMCA’s approach, from providing services to young people, to empowering young people to provide solutions themselves.