Spreading Awareness about YMCA International and Social Justice

Blog entry by Carmen Pedersen, International Committee Volunteer

This past Saturday, February 22, the Western Canadian Leadership Conference (WCLC) was held at YMCA’s Camp Chief Hector in Kananaskis Country, Alberta. Youth leaders from local YMCA’s throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan came together at Camp to participate in team strengthening and skill building activities.

The International Committee from YMCA Calgary presented a workshop concerning the international presence of YMCA and the diversity of the association’s global initiatives. The session included discussions about the enormity of YMCA international and the variety of issues YMCAs around the world address. Members of the committee shared stories from passed experiences at YMCA Ukraine and Colombia. Bringing to light how YMCAs around the world differ, however still maintain the same core values, with a reoccurring theme dedicated to defending social justice.

The youth leaders were asked to define social justice, sparking a discussion about the Universal Declaration of Human rights. The session concluded with the game “Acts of Peace Bingo” which revealed how one can contribute to the fight for social justice during everyday activities. The participants were left with an opportunity to volunteer with the International Committee during their upcoming event “Beyond Present: A Woman’s Journey Through Time” to celebrate International Women’s day on March 8th.

Overall the session was a success. Forty-five youth leaders were informed about the variety of opportunities available at international YMCAs, and hopefully leaving the participants with an increased desire to get involved with social justice movements in their community.

International Committee volunteers at Camp Chief Hector!

The team!