„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


27th January 2020

Last December 31st YMCA Europe´s agreement with the City of Litomysl formally finalized. After good discussions with representatives of the City, YMCA Europe’s Executive Committee and the City Council have decided that the co-operation among both institutions should come to an end in a very positive and friendly way.

The reality and future perspectives of this joint work suggested a decision that was studied carefully over the past year through several meetings attended by YMCA Europe´s representatives at the Training Centre Board : Jan Nissen, Ed Eggink and Juan Simoes Iglesias. It was an unanimous decision by the Board overcoming many mixed feelings. It is a fact that everyone involved in this process contributed personally to the development of the Centre for almost 20 years.

The co-operation between YMCA Europe and the City of Litomysl started at the beginning of this century with the idea of establishing an European Training Centre in the brewery next to the Castle, after its restoration. At that time the vison of YMCA Europe´s team led by Secretary General Johan Vilhelm Eltvik and President Jan Nissen was to provide a space for trainings, events and  gatherings with a strong international dimension which would strengthen the YMCA work in Europe and globally. The initiative was immediately recognized and supported by the City Hall of Litomysl. Mayor Mr. Brydl, members of the City Council, representatives from the Czech YMCA at that time like Jana Vohralikova and many others were crucial in those first steps of the project.

In 2006 after years of planning and some governance and training events already taking place in Litomysl, the co-operation between both institutions was agreed by signing the Deed of Foundation. The list of private donors, families, YMCAs and other organizations was long and we want to recognize an effort that contributed to provide wonderful experiences to young people, leaders, volunteers and staff from across Europe and beyond. We especially refer to Paul V. Thomsen from Y´s Men, an organization that cooperates with the YMCA. He was a hero fundraising for this project together with colleagues like Paul-Henrik Hove Jakobsen and many others. The names of the donors are still at the entrance of the Training Centre as a tribute to their outstanding support. 

 The Training Centre was often used as venue for YMCA Europe´s General Assemblies and different seminars. In more recent years new conditions were agreed by the Training Centre Board (3 representatives of the City and 3 from YMCA Europe are the constituency of the Board). Those conditions would facilitate a wider participation from our member YMCAs and working groups. However it became clear that YMCAs and young people have an increased number of offers to gather across Europe and limited time. We realized that the interest to travel Litomysl decreased. The structure of the governance body would also change in the near future. These fact together with the unclarity of the final outcome and benefit for YMCA Europe, made the two parties agree that our ways would separate.

However, even if the YMCA has no longer representation or responsibility within the Centre, the final agreement signed still includes a 30 % discount for any individual or YMCA group that is identified as member of our movement in Europe. We continue encouraging everyone to travel to Litomysl, enjoy this unique town, use the accommodation facilities and meeting rooms upon request and reservation at the Centre.

YMCA Europe is grateful to a number of persons that were involved in the reflections, discussions and negotiations. We start with our current President Mike Will and Vice President Stepan Cerny who also has served at the Advisory Board of the TC in an outstanding way. Former presidents Peter Posner and Ed Eggink who were part of the TC Board together with Eva Tschornova and Radek Hlavsa. The final agreement would have not been possible without the commitment and capacities of Ed Eggink with the full support and contributions of Jan Nissen and Juan Simoes Iglesias, Secretary General of YMCA Europe.  YMCA Europe is also grateful to Zuzana Vanzurova, the current Director of the Training Centre, her staff and her predecessor, Jana Mackova who did an excellent job in the reconstruction phase of the brewery.

We are grateful for the open discussions which we had in the Board with the representatives of Litomysl : Mr. Daniel Brydl as current Mayor, Mr. Radek Kaspar immediate past Mayor and Mr. Jan Pikna. They were crucial and very generous by creating the atmosphere, trust and conditions under which we can leave the project in good harmony.

Litomysl will always be in the hearts of many of our members, volunteers and staff. It is part of YMCA Europe´s history and legacy. It is also the legacy of each person and institution that contributed as the Training Centre will continue existing and serving the community. It is a place to always return if you have been there. And it is a place to visit if you still have not had that privilege.