A busy month for YMCA Kyiv!

September has been a busy month for YMCA Kyiv! We have begun both Tensing and Art programs, and are planning our exchange with Volyn YMCA which will happen in November. This will be a chance for students from our local partner college to participate in trainings in social awareness building alongside students from Lutsk. They will also be able to see what a successful and developed YMCA can look like in Ukraine. A few weeks ago we began our floorball program. Despite quite a number of students deciding they wanted to join the team, the college decided to reconsider our access to space. At the moment, this program is pending their final decision. I found this quite demoralising, as so much effort went in to coordinating schedules, equipment, open houses, trainers, etc. However – we’re trying to take it in stride and look into other options for training space – one skill I have certainly developed while working in Ukraine is that of negotiation. The positive energy of our volunteers makes these experiences much easier – as we motivate each other and continue to find ways to bring YMCA to Kyiv!

Our Tensing (music and theatre) program got off to a fantastic start – so much energy from our leaders and participants! We will continue our weekly rehearsals with the goals of exploring social issues through performing arts and creating a place for youth to make friends and spend their time in creative ways. In February, the European Tensing Conference will be held in Kyiv – a great opportunity for our new team to perform!

Painting classes have also begun, and are a lovely way to spend these chilly Saturday afternoons in Kyiv. We’ve been enjoying listening to classical music and chatting while our “still-lifes” get progressively more “life-like”.

Today I will travel to Lutsk to visit our friends from YMCA Volyn. I’m looking forward to hearing Denys’ stories from his trip to Canada, spending time with old friends, and staying in Ivanna’s home in the village – the place where I first fell in love with Ukraine.

Students from the local college at our first Tensing rehearsal

YMCA Art Class