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


26th May 2017

Harva Island, Finland, August 28th - September 3rd 2017

After the events organized by YMCA of Netherlands and YMCA Setubal, Portugal, the Finnish YMCA will host a training conference for camp leaders which will focus on camp management. All these events belong to a bigger YMCA Europe's Programme called "YMCA Camps in Europe".

The venue of the training a residential camp of the Finnish YMCA located on Havra Island, a unique, scenic place in the Finnish Archipelago, not very far from the city of Turku.

This project is funded mostly from the grant that YMCA Finland gained from Erasmus+ Programme and the training event is the main activity of the project that lasts from May 31st to Nov 29th 2017. The partners of the projects are YMCAs in Estonia, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, and the Netherlands. Additionally we will have trainers and participants from Georgia, Kosovo and The USA. We will have 40 people altogether and that's the limit related to the capacity of the venue. For that reason, unfortunately, we cannot propose participation to more YMCA movements this time.

In Europe there are many YMCA organizations with long camping tradition, which have elaborated high quality service, perform unique approach to children and young people, and their staff is trained within sophisticated systems. Most of the YMCA camps represent very high standards and as such are recognized by communities. However, in most cases the YMCA movements work separately and it's difficult to talk about common standards in organizing camps and training the staff. This project is the next, very important step for joining capacities: a group of camp present or future managers will be trained within a common system. In fact they will be shaping this system too.

Since 2016 "YMCA Camps in Europe " contributes to building World Programme Coalition at camping. That is thanks to closer cooperation with the leadership of The YMCA of USA. In Harva, we expect contribution of experts at camp management from American YMCA, continuing very good experience of the training in Portugal (read more about the event). This will give the event additional value.

The YMCA of Finland is well placed to be the host of this project: the have several good camping sites, experience at training volunteers and staff. Above all, however, they have committed young leaders who want to cooperate with their colleagues from other countries.

The programme of the training contains topics that are typical for camp management:

  • strategic planning,
  • administration,
  • marketing,
  • building a team of staff.

However, we will have workshops that are very relevant for contemporary issues that YMCA is involved in. One of them is diversity, which is also a matter of cam management in our case.

As the training is held in a unique place, the forms of several activities will take advantage on the local specifics. We will be building a raft (and using it), sailing a boat around the Archipelago, cooking and eating in an old mine and those who want can sleep outdoor in hammocks.

Also as Finnish special contribution, we will propose a form of support in a traditional Finnish way, which we want to apply to cooperation with YMCAs that are in the beginning of developing camp programmes. This is Camp "Talkoot" - support to YMCA camping sites in need.

We don't promise the participant conference with luxurious conditions, but definitely we can promise good learning, good fun and unforgettable experience.

Author/Source: Adam Rychlik – YMCA Europe Executive Secretary.