LONDON – On Thursday, 6 June YMCA will celebrate its 175th Founder’s Day. To mark this special anniversary, YMCA England & Wales will host a special thanksgiving service at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London presided by their President, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu.
“Throughout our 175 years, YMCA has remained a constant safe space for young people around the world,” said World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Madjri Sanvee. “We’re excited to celebrate our rich history in the city where it all began, but it’s important that we also take this time to look forward to the future and how our movement can adapt to the needs and concerns of young people today.”
Three former World YMCA Secretaries General will join Sanvee in attendance along with leaders and supporters from around YMCA England & Wales. The ceremony will be followed by a formal reception at the Houses of Parliament.
YMCA offers a range of programmes and services to empower young people to transform their communities for the better. As part of the anniversary celebration, YMCA has issued a World Challenge to people across the globe to volunteer 175 minutes of their time on Saturday, 8 June to better the communities they live in and to share their experience online under #YMCAChallenge.
The anniversary will culminate in YMCA175, a global youth event to be held at ExCeL London from 4-8 August. Here, thousands of YMCA youth delegations from around the world will gather to celebrate, build relationships, strengthen cross-cultural understanding and create solutions to address social challenges facing today’s young people.
“Our movement may have been started by a group of young men, but today women are taking full part as participants, volunteers, staff members and key decisions makers,” said Sanvee. “Therefore, in the run up to YMCA175, we will be sharing messages on our social media platforms from female leaders to reflect on their journey to encourage our young people and our partners to keep fighting for gender equality.”
On 6 June 1844, Sir George Williams, together with 11 Christian young men, established YMCA in London. From a small space above a drapery shop in St Paul’s Churchyard, YMCA has become an international youth movement, present in 120 countries and reaching more than 65 million people regardless of gender, religion or socio-economic background.