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Showing posts from 2018

Once again YMCA felt like family by Ariana

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Being part of international training is something not everybody can be part of. I had the chance to participate in the YMCA Europe Leadership Academy. I’m always interested to know more about leadership so I was thrilled to get to be part of the Leadership Academy. The first session that was organized in Paris during April 2018 I learned a lot. 
It’s amazing how everything was prepared in the most perfect way possible, learning more about project management, about target groups, getting to know the different problems in different countries was a wonderful experience. It was one week that I meet different people with different jobs, different backgrounds that I couldn’t wait to meet again.

So before going back to meet these wonderful people again, it was time to do our homework, to share what we learned in the Academy with young people back home.
 It was finally time for the second session. This session was even more interesting. Human rights are a topic that affects society and somet…

A Country without a Camp - Frost Valley Article

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A COUNTRY WITHOUT A CAMP Frost Valley partners to help open the first summer camp in Kosovo



Typically, when a parent in the United States is deciding what their children should do for the summer, the question is: Which camp do we send them to? However, in some countries, parents don’t have a variety of wholesome, beneficial options at their disposal.
Kosovo is one such country at risk of lacking those enriching opportunities for its youngsters. Despite its vibrant and enthusiastic citizens, years of political unrest and devastating war have severely reduced the number of youth development opportunities in Kosovo. Unfortunately, prior to 2003, Kosovo was not included in the nearly 120 countries that are home to YMCAs.
Kosovo is a small, landlocked territory in the center of the Balkan Peninsula, where thousands of civilians were subjected to conflict of Serbian military forces, resulting in a long-standing war. The majority of the population in Kosovo today is under the age of 35 year…

I feel safe and not left out in RFR trainings by Nita

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As part of my job, international training is very important. This time I had the chance for the second time to be part of  YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation training. I was excited about this training because when I was in Berlin for the Peace Work institute we were separated in different tandem groups and the group that I was part of we wanted to do a  digital campaign for peace. After six months I was invited to be part of the P.E.A.C.E project in Budapest- which was my groups tandem idea.I was very happy that our project was chosen to be implemented. P.E.A.C.E project aimed to train different youth workers and leaders who work with young people and to spread peace-building through different online campaigns and build the participants knowledge of digital tools and platforms that can help them do this.

I feel safe and not left out in RFR training's and this time again it was a very good because I had the chance to present about what my YMCA does and how we do our digital vis…

I’ve come back inspired by Vesa

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International training's are always fun and interesting, which is why I said yes to going to the World YMCA Innovations Camp in Switzerland.

I left home very early September 20th, and somehow managed to spend the day on only 1.5 hrs of sleep. We arrived in Geneva, and it was lovely to look around. Geneva is quite pretty, I have to admit. We also visited the YMCA World Office. Being part and spending a lot of time in an organization and then getting the chance to visit its World office, is a great opportunity and a great feeling! That house is big and has a long history, the World Alliance has a small team working here and across the world. 


The actual training took place in Leysin, in a lovely hotel in the Swiss Alps. Speaking of the Swiss Alps they’re extremely beautiful to have as a morning view, which added on to my lovely experience there. The training had four different innovation workshops including Mental Health, Climate Change, Youth Empowerment, Mentoring (PlusOne) and T…

France... the highlight of my life! by Drilon

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Hello!I’m Drilon Rogova, an 18-year-old boy who has experienced a lot because of YMCA. I`m a part of YMCAfor 5 years now and each year was better than the other.YMCA have many
programs that I have participated such as “Move” (tensing), the first group I ever joined in YMCA, and then followed by Leadership program (4 levels), Y WoMan, Ten Sing (singing, dancing, drama, video making, painting ), Scouts, SDG training and much more.


I have been a leader of a leadership group for 3 levels which gave me knowledge on how to be a good leader and the first singing group on YMCA when we gave two successful performances at the Tensing showcase.
YMCA helped me gain my self-esteem, talking in public, giving speeches, making new friends etc. I also won the award for young volunteer of the year 2017.

YMCA also gives opportunities to young people for participating in international training. I was one of them too. My first travel was in Greece in Halkidiki summer camp. 
Greece was my first time outside t…

They will remember Kosovo through us by Lum

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I’m Lum Kuraja, and I’ve been participating in YMCA activities as a volunteer for several years now. I was part of the Kosovo team and went to represent my country in the Youth Engagement in Europe program held in France. Altogether, there were six teams from six countries, and we went there from August 22nd to August 31st. I have been a part of YMCA from 2015 as an active volunteer. This organization has had a major impact of shaping my character and personality. I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of new people, make new friends, and learn new things each time. This has given me a chance to improve my English, my communication and interpersonal skills, and to grow a lot as a person. And finally, YMCA gave me the chance to go to France to represent my country. It has been a wonderful experience being a part of this organization, and I intend to continue committing to it in the future as well.
First off, the journey to France was very exciting because several forms of transportation were…

PEACE is our gift to each other by Fiona

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This time for the Roots for Reconciliation project I headed to Budapest with 35 young people from 17 countries. A wonderful week full of study sessions, workshops and presentations from brighter minds which I'm thankful for. The main goal was to bring and find peace spreading it through a campaign and social media.


An old man once said: "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but building the new"... and that is what we did. Round-tables surrounded by minds thinking independently together, that I'm sure made all of us come to a solution "Peace is our gift to each other".


It was my second time training with RFR, and I'm honored to say 'It changed my way of thinking'. The skills we get to learn do not end there... with yourself, then pass it down and spread the message in our countries. That is how it will be expanded. I'm really grateful for this opportunity. 


The last thing I would like to say is 'Toget…

All of us need a place... by Erjona

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My name is Erjona Shala, I am 16 years old from Decan, I am in the second year at the gymnasium where I study natural science. 

I joined the Youth Leading change programme in February this year, this for me is and will continue to be my best experience otherwise "open-air home" which has offered me and many young people to engage in free activities and various games and events.

Group collaboration helps us greatly because we can discuss each and every one of the problems we face, conflict, and develop common perspectives. Our trainers at any time are willing to advise, accompany, chat with us, and support us regarding all the topics we have learned so far.

I want to be part of the YMCA because we are all equal. All of us need a place where we can express our thoughts freely, perhaps when we have a week of work overload a place like YMCA that lets us be ourselves.
"Volunteer work" has been the part where we would do something for the benefit of the community, along with…

There are no words I can describe, these feelings by Dea

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Everything started with an invitation from a friend of mine... "do you want to be part of a youth training?" 

I accepted without asking any questions, even though I didn't know what the activities were or what we would do there. He said to me that I can invite one of my friends too, so Eli was the one I invited. This is how all started, the beginning wasn’t that good, because one of our trainers left but the other part of my YMCA road was just incredible. I applied to be a trainer for a Leadership group, I got accepted, they choose my group members, I was terrified because I didn’t meet any of them before. But they were my inspiration, they believed in me, worked with me and because of them I continue, I got another group that was as wonderful as the first one.


 I got an invitation to go to Norway for the TT festival where I meet a lot of new young people, new cultures it was amazing, after a year the most inspirational person I have ever met Adi asked me to help him lead …

YMCA moving in another direction - Anniversary Review Part 9

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The scope of the YMCA's work was also moving in another direction - to include women and girls. The Young Women's  Christian Association, set up in 1855 was originally an alternative to the YMCA for women and has always been a separate organization. But by the 1960s women and girls were becoming involved with the YMCA - staying in hostels and joining mixed youth clubs. There were even some associations with clubs just for women. In response, in 1964 the national movement allowed women to become full members and encouraged local YMCAs to do the same.
The 1960s and early 1970s were generally a time of re-assessment for the YMCA, centered on a 1970 report, "Changing Needs and New Perspectives".
As a result of the report, it was decided to allow local YMCAs to have a single form of the membership, rather than full and associate membership if they wished. The conditions for this new membership did not stipulate that the member should be a Christian basis of the movement. A n…

YMCA after the second world war -Anniversary Review Part 8

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After the second world war, as in 1918, the YMCA helped restore normality after the chaos. As well as organizing trips to war graves abroad for bereaved, the relatives, the association also established hostels for refugees from Germany, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Yugoslavia.
The British YMCA helped 20,000 of these “European Volunteer Workers,” settle in Britain, Giving them a home while they worked in industry and farming.

Afterlife settles into a peacetime routine, this most recent period in YMCA history has seen ventures to inject Christianity into the industry, a rapidly expanding and changing hostel programme, and a concentration on youth work, health and fitness, and training.

Soon after the war ended, a whole new programme of work, focused on bringing Christian values into business and industry, began.

The programme - based at residential centers at Kingsgate in Kent, Cheshunt College at Cambridge, Rhoose Youth College in Wales and Dunford House Sussex -  aimed to provi…

The Second Time Around -Anniversary Review Part 7

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Tea Cars and Bombed-out Birthday Celebration Almost as soon as the second world war broke out in September 1939, the YMCA stepped in with a new idea for bringing comfort to the troops.  The first “Tea Car”, or mobile canteen, a second-hand van fitted out with a small kitchen and painted camouflage green, was in use on the streets of East London by September 23. By the end of 1940, there were 500 vans in service.

 As well as visiting isolated army outposts along the British coastline, these vans followed the troops into France and Flanders. As the German armies pushed the British back to the French coastline the vans raced alongside the withdrawing armies, serving tea and selling cigarettes, chocolate, cake, hair cream, tooth-paste, and stationery. The crews, many of the woman, stayed with the armies until the very last moment. As rowing boats arrived from Britain to evacuate the army from the beaches of Dunkirk the crews of three mobile canteens saw their vans and supplies burnt by ince…

The World-wide Movement -Anniversary Review Part 6

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It was 1851 and the whole world was in London for the Great Exhibition - a grand showcase of British industry held in the specially constructed Crystal Palace. For the YMCA it seemed the perfect chance to try to spread their ideas worldwide. More than 300,000 leaflets about the YMCA's work were handed out and as result, branches were set up in the U.S.A and Canada. In 1852 George Williams himself set up a YMCA in Paris, and associations were formed in Adelaide and Calcutta. Over the next few years, letters were sent and visits were made between the countries and in 1855 it was decided to hold a conference of the YMCA's.  By this time Holland, Switzerland, Germany, France, and Belgium were also involved. The delegates decided to form a confederation, soon to be named the World Alliance of YMCA's.

The resolution they made about the aims of the YMCA, which became known as the Paris Basis, is still at the core of the movement today. It said: " The Christian Associations …

The YMCA in Peace -Anniversary Review Part 5

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After the war, as Britain was changing so was the YMCA. The new programme used ideas and equipment left over from the war and adapted them to meet the needs of a country recovering economic recession.

At this time youth work, education and physical fitness became a more fundamental part of the YMCA’s work. Rather than just fringe activities.

In the aftermath of the war, the YMCA spent years picking up the pieces. From 1916 until 1927 its Employment Department for men discharged from the forces found jobs for 38,000 ex-servicemen. It was not until 1923 that the association began to settle down once more to peacetime work.

The thousands of huts which provided comfort for troops during the war were dismissed and put together in cities, towns, and villages as “Red Triangle Clubs”. In 1932 there were 406 of those across the country. They were centers for YMCA activities and provided a meeting place, with billiards or pool and bar serving tea. Some of them died out, others went to become fully-…