Posted by: thebluemusicblog | February 16, 2012


Ingunn, Michal, Selma and Kerry. Last week Kerry Reilly, chairperson of the planning committee for the YMCA Europe Festival in Prague 2013 and Michal Szymanczak, Senior Executive Secretary for YMCA Europe, visited us to discuss Youth Empowerment and how to  implement it at the Festival August 2013. An excellent meeting!

What will our Youth Empowerment vision mean in practice?  First of all this vision is rooted in already existing local YMCA realities. Furthermore the YMCA will collectively mobilise young people on all continents, opening up spaces to have young people share and express their visions and values, equiping more and more young people to have confidence, skills and competencies. This will lead to a cumulative impact in 2014 to transform the image and impact of the YMCA worldwide. This effort will be combined with a two year process of preparing young people for the next  World Council in Estes Park in 2014.

In each Area, WAY and the Global Staff Team (GST) will identify key events and actions for youth mobilisation, for example: Youth Festivals in Europe, S2C Ambassadors Events in Africa, Caravans, University YMCA conferences, Rio+20 events, Global Citizenship events, the World Challenge. The examples are endless.  These examples will be recognised as part of this model  and they will be accompanied with new elements of the change model to further strengthen and build on our collective Image and Impact.  Through this collective action on Youth Empowerment we willl gradually achieve both a new Image and a stronger Impact of the YMCA in the world.

Youth Empowerment in Action will be connecting and bringing the global YMCA movement together by linking young people and weaving together our practice and experience.

During the next two years, the Youth Empowerment in Action model  will give young people:

Leadership:  200 young people trained as change agents.  This first phase of the implementation process will engage Areas and National Movements to identify young leaders to be trained as trainers for a broader impact and reach to the grassroots—to create a multiplier effect .

S2C – Ambassadors at a recent celebration in Nairobi, Kenya.

Voice:  A survey of 1 million young people for a vision 2014. The survey will primarily be done through social media and will engage young people broadly in the vision and change process.

Evidence:  Facts and Knowledge will be gathered from scientific social research on issues of young people, with impact indicators of YMCA programmes – with an initial focus on civic engagement, jobs/employment, health, and sustainable development.

Collective Capacity: Mapping of existing YMCA programmes, practices, and experiences in youth empowerment. The mapping  process will give shape to the understanding of our capacity and reach.

Inspiration and Lifting up: Sharing the practice and experience of our member YMCAs and creating opportunities for learning and expansion.

As seen in the following graphic illustration, the Youth Empowerment in Action change process inside the YMCA will create a multiplier effect with young people generally, and thereby generate a positive youth focused effect on the world itself.  The YMCA will achieve this in collaboration with all our partners.

   The Outcome:


We anticipate that the results of these efforts will lead to more capacity, knowledge and strength in the YMCA globally. We believe it will become – A  Change Model for Young People – Worldwide.  The result will be a new opportunity to connect  local, national, and regional efforts of YMCAs.


The outcome will be a global community of young people fulfilling their potential and powered to make change. This will give the YMCA a new Image and a stronger Impact in the world.


  1. Hello Johan

    Thank you again for your writings. They empowers me! Have you any plan in the WAY to visit Finland? I have heard about an invitation made in Hong Kong to Ken Colloton to visit here. What about you?

    Jari Juhola, Tampere, Finland

    • Thank you, Jari! The answer is that I have not been invited yet, but times are very busy, so my travel schedule is full almost till the end of the year. I am very happy for your encouraging comments! All the best! Johan

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