This year’s World YMCA Change Agent Global Gathering goes Camp Alambre!! It’s an amazing natural environment, clean and serene for learning and fellowship. Agents from different YMCAs in 4 continents gather for this spectacular gathering of cultural diversity in a united vision and mission of youth empowerment.
It’s been 4 days into the event already and the highlights are worth spreading. The Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs, Rev Johan Vilhelm Eltvik in his opening address, communicated his passion and dedication to youth empowerment and development. He highlighted the world’s recognition of the YMCA as a strong youth movement (UN big six youth organisations) which is now tasked with spearheading Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programmes and projects all over the globe. Complimenting the World YMCA SG’s address, the Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports of Portugal’s commended the YMCAs efforts in training young leaders which to his government is a very important note of their administration. The opening ceremony was attended by 70 dignitaries of the Setúbal community in addition to over 140 change agents from around the globe.
Change Agents for this cohort have taken a natural responsibility in leading inspiring devotions, running workshops and capacity building sessions; including civic engagement and human rights, youth and health, injustice, poverty and sustainability. A very proud moment for us as African Change Agents was to part of a workshop facilitated by one of our own fellow Africans on sustainability as part of the SDGs. We were especially proud to note the impact it had on all who participated even affecting the entire camp (when participants committed to reducing the use of plastic water bottles by using their refillable bottles during dining).
More defining moments at this year’s 2017 gathering come as staff of the World Alliance and of the event engage agents in the safe space methodology, also considering the value statement of the World YMCA on inclusivity of all. Change Agents share ideals and views on what currently pertains in the YMCAs and continents in a safe space group discussion without prejudice or discrimination and judgement.
Volunteering as part of the DNA of the YMCA movement is not excluded as participants are immersed into the environment of the Alambre National Park and Climate Change Beach to clean and help reconstruct facilities.
An honourable mention in this piece about the global gathering camp experience is the food – a well-balanced array of local delicacies which even the Africans are well adjusted to.
It’s been an impactful experience with a sense of global significance and belonging so far …
Source: Linda Adzeoda, Change Agent – Ghana