‘YMCA feeds body, mind and spirit’: Joachim Schmutz, CVJM München

Joachim Schmutz, head of YMCA/CVJM München, visited the World YMCA headquarters in Geneva today. ‘Thank you, all of you at World YMCA, for the service you provide the global YMCA Movement: we really appreciate what you do’, he said.

He spoke about the work of Munich YMCA with its 600 volunteers (the largest cohort in Germany) and its various programmes for young people, not least in supporting those with drug and other problems, and in offering summer camps to the most vulnerable in the community. He cited a summer camp for Ukrainian refugees which is just coming to an end.

YMCA Munich also runs a hostel and basketball camps, at which there is always a moment to feed the spiritual side of the young people present.

‘We as humans are body, mind and spirit’, said Joachim, ‘and many young people have never even had the opportunity to know the love of God. So when an American basketball player just talks to them about the difference God has made in his life, they listen.’

Joachim spoke about the 20th World Council in Aarhus in July 2022 as ‘a chance to breathe, and a chance to meet people – I loved it’. He especially appreciated the 3 days’ and 8 hours’ worth of discussion of the Co-Lab debates, as his Co-Lab group of 15 people mapped out practical responses to the four key pillars of impact of Vision 2030.

YMCA Munich is in contact with Christliches Jugenddorfwerk, CJD, Germany’s largest organisation providing vocational training for young people, and directly linked with the Vision 2030 pillar of Meaningful Work. ‘I especially like that word ‘meaningful’ said Joachim. ‘It means making a difference, and doing something good’.

He cited a well-known former Bavarian state governor, Gunther Beckstein, who was recently quoted as saying that he learned his leadership skills when as a young boy of 14 he attended YMCA youth camps and was given the responsibility – with the help of adults – to shape the lives of even younger children. ‘I will always thank the YMCA for that.’

‘Let’s have a photograph with our YMCA Founder, George Williams’, he said to World YMCA Secretary-General Carlos Sanvee. ‘Our Movement was founded by George and others on the principle of trying to meet all our human needs, by nurturing body, mind and spirit.’