The YMCA always has, and always will be ambitious. Yesterday at the Secretary General Report, as a part of the 19th World Council, Johan Vilhelm Eltvik shared the findings from the YMCA Blue Book of World YMCA Movement Statistics but also his thoughts and memories of his time in the role.
“Young people from all around the world need us more than ever,” Johan said.
Holding up The YMCA Blue Book he reminded delegates that this is not a single body of work but an achievement by thousands of people unifying as one YMCA. Implementing the Our Way strategy meant that all YMCAs must live by the values and the three turning cogs of young people, empowerment and the world.
There are 1.8 billion young people aged 10 – 24 years old in the world. This is 25% of the worldwide population. Currently the YMCA reach 2% of these young people.
Did we reach our goals? Have we been successful? Jonan asked the representatives.
Yes, we reach 65 million people across 120 countries.
Yes, we have increased our reach of young people from 28 million in 2012 to 42 million young people in 2018.
Yes, the YMCA Change Agent program has created 700 young leaders across the globe.
Yes, we have given a voice and a platform to young people by investing in global research like One Million Voices and further embedded our four strategic directions in our movement as well as adding a 5th one: safe space, ensuring we are inclusive to all people of all nationalities, cultures and religions.
And yes, most importantly we have, perhaps for the first time in our history, stopped talking and started listening to young people.
But change still needs to continue, we are still falling short. There is more work to be done as we head into the new and unknown future.
The ultimate goal as a social movement would be when we can support and empower the 1.8 billion young people of the world.
Ambitious isn’t it? But as long as young people continue to face injustice, the YMCA will continue to exist.
As Johan told the crowd: The YMCA is changing for good.