Youth Innovating for Social Impact

Date: 13 October 2016

The first ever Youth Workers Innovation Hub – World YMCA Innovations camp took place in St. Gall, from 13-17 September 2017, Switzerland hosting 70 individuals from 23 countries around the world. This ‘scout-style’ camp utilised the beautiful outdoor environment to run unique reflective sessions and engaging workshops with the participants.  The campfires and hikes were a real highlight.

The camp focused on four innovation programmes; Ten Sing, a YMCA flagship programme for leadership development through performing arts. Youth Parliament, a programme based on the American YMCA ‘Youth in Governance’ concept this programme runs successfully in Australia with the goal of the programme as creating opportunity for the YMCA to strengthen partnerships and relationships in the political sphere.  Savings & Investments (SIGs), this programme takes a ‘learning by doing’ approach to community focused ‘self help groups’ that provide skill development in income generating opportunities and community support. And Environment, led by the YMCA Resource Group on the Environment this innovation focuses on empowering young people through training in environmental advocacy.

 Each of these fantastic innovations was led by facilitator with vast experience and knowledge within their programme. Innovation workshops took place each morning with the afternoon spent exploring  cross cutting themes like evaluation, project management and resource allocation.
This 4 day event gave participants an opportunity to learn about their chosen innovation and has started a journey that aims to see long term impact in local and national YMCAs.   Each participant will now head home to implement their innovation in their community and country, many participants have already committed to a pilot project and others are now set to meet with the leaders of their YMCA to discuss the next steps.

The World YMCA is committed to supporting participants through this journey by offering mentoring, sourcing funding and by providing resources and support where needed. The overall goal to empower more young people in local communities.

“These days everybody and everything needs innovation. As a member of the Environment Innovation group, I got inspired about what has already been done in this field and got lots of motivation for what I am going to do back home” -Mariela, Albania

This project was only possible with the support from Foundation CH, Switzerland, sponsoring 50 of the participants from Europe and the Middle East.

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