A YMCA Global Partner creates global awareness, builds peace and discovers the true YMCA spirit.

Yana, a volunteer with one of our global partners, YMCA Ukraine, participated in the three-month YMCA Youth Peace Network program this summer. Now in Calgary on the last part of her journey, we’ve learned about Yana’s incredible experience.  Here biggest take-away from her time in the program?  “The caring, giving, and dedicated YMCA Spirit was as prevalent in the people from Canada and participating countries as it is in the Ukraine”

The YMCA Youth Peace network program brings youth (ages 19 – 30) together from all corners of the globe to help create global awareness, understanding of other cultures, and to build peace.   Successful YMCA applicants (both volunteers and employees) converge in Vancouver for a summer dedicated to developing leadership, intercultural communication and conflict resolution skills.

As part of the program, participants work as camp counsellors at the local camp. One of Yana’s roles was to teach campers about her country, its traditions, and guide discussions and learning on the differences and challenges in both communities. The goal is to help Canadian youth and families better understand the world and become more effective global citizens.

As part of the program, participants work as camp counsellors at the local camp. One of Yana’s roles was to teach campers about her country, its traditions, and guide discussions and learning on the differences and challenges in both communities. The goal is to help Canadian youth and families better understand the world and become more effective global citizens.

“I was scared when I first arrived at camp. My English was not where I wanted it to be and I didn’t know how the kids would react to me or if they would understand or accept me.”  Yana was surprised to find the opposite reaction.  “The kids were curious, interested, accepting, compassionate and caring.”  “They took care of me and took a leadership role by helping me learn, communicate and feel comfortable at camp.”  Their cultural and language differences only added to the interest and depth of the experience.

After two weeks spent at camp, the balance of Yana’s time was spent in Vancouver at Global Week. A week of participant-lead sessions brought youth together to learn how other YMCA organizations operate, to learn about other cultures, and to promote respect and peace.

Youth Peace Network participants are expected to apply their learning within their own YMCA and home communities by developing a concrete action plan for use upon return to their respective countries.

Yana is already shown that she is a dedicated citizen responding to the needs of the global community –we know she will continue to make a difference in her community when she returns.

Our biggest takeaway from Yana’s visit?  Yana too embodies the true YMCA Spirit.

 


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