Posted by: thebluemusicblog | January 30, 2012



These are just the highlights of what we have achieved together under the umbrella of NEW WAY in 2011. It was a good year for NEW WAY, because so many of you embraced the new strategic directions.

For the world it was of course a difficult year, and many of you and your YMCA constituents faced struggles. For young people it was especially challenging, young people are on top of all the bad statistics, everything from health and violence to unemployment and poverty. NEW WAY wants to position YMCA as the main youth movement in the world – that means the main servant to young people in the world. We want to empower young people! We interviewed 70 key YMCA leaders from around the world and asked them for a definition of Youth Empowerment. Almost all of them gave us clear, good directions for Youth Empowerment. When we asked them for a definition of the YMCA change model, the answers became very unclear and divided. Do we have a change model in the YMCA, many asked. This is the crucial need for the world movement of YMCA – to develop a clear, easy to understand, change model for us to change and modernize our YMCA to become a better servant for young people in this difficult world.

This is what we want to focus on in the months and years to come, a change model for youth empowerment, a way to mobilize millions of young people through the YMCA, mobilize them for change and a better life, mobilize them for hope and a new future. Here it comes:


The YMCA is an empowering, creative and self determined space for young people to experience life, discover their potential and develop their talents.


The YMCA empowers young people by offering tools for self-development, training for life skills, education for increased knowledge and self-esteem, which leads to:


Young people have impact on their own life situation, their local society as well as the global world, individually as well as collectively.


The Stakeholders’ Meeting in Kenya in March this year will be the most important meeting for a very long time in the worldwide YMCA. It will bring movement leaders from all Areas and Regions together with our Executive Committee. We want to introduce the YMCA Change Model for Youth Empowerment in the Stakeholders’ Meeting. We want to suggest that the increased visibility and positioning of the YMCA worldwide will be fuelled by this change model.

We hope that you will recognise this simple model in most of what you do in the YMCA. We see it in programmes like Subjects2Citizen in Africa, Global Citizenship Education in Asia and Pacific, Ten Sing in Europe, Lideres in LACA, Peace Network in Canada, Youth in Government in the USA and vocational training programmes in the Middle East.

Through the NEW WAY we seek to offer facilitation and coordination so that this change model becomes a turning point for our movement. We see the YMCA becoming better positioned to not only serve young people inside the movement, but to mobilize big numbers of young people outside the YMCA.

In this way the YMCA will lead, coordinate and inspire change for the better around the world, through the voices and examples of empowered young leaders.

The YMCA is a Christian Youth Movement and this change model is built on our Christian values and principles. The change model and the youth empowerment is open for young people of all backgrounds, faith and cultures. The YMCA wants to serve all young people.

You will hear a lot about this in the coming months. We shall develop training material and concept papers and you will see examples of this Change Model for Youth Empowerment in Action.

At the Stakeholders’ Meeting we will continue to develop this vision and we invite all of you to come on board with all your programmes and experience to enrich this process towards a coordinated space for youth empowerment for change in this world, a place called YMCA.

Warm regards and God bless you all,


  1. It was a fruiful year for YMCA of LEBANON too. Best wishes to all YMCAs all over the world and towards more and more progress in serving and empowering our youth and communities.

    • Thank you, Riad! And your leaders Ghassan and Joe have both contributed to the success of NEW WAY, as well as the Lebanese YMCA. Greetings to everybody at YMCA Lebanon! Johan

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