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


13th September 2018

Planning meeting: YMCA Russia`s Outdoor Center “Dacha” August 31st - September 2nd 2018

A new project of YMCAs of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine “The Impulse for Cross-border Dialogue”, which has been recently funded by YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation Local Capacities for Peace Seed Grant Tool, focuses on extension of cross-border dialogue, exchange of program and cultural experiences, and setting a solid foundation for long-term collaboration between young people from the three national movements.

The main event of the project – International Youth Summit – will be held in Belarus in the end of November and bring together 40 participants motivated for strong youth activism in the spheres of peacebuilding and international youth cooperation. “The Impulse” may serve as a good example of youth empowerment: it was elaborated and is implemented by youth leaders - graduates of Roots for Reconciliation and Leadership Academy courses.

In the beginning of September 2018, a preparatory meeting was held at the Russia YMCA Outdoor Center “Dacha” in Yaroslavl region. Youth leaders and staff from YMCAs of Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Scotland met to outline the program and profile of participants of the November Summit.

Important contributions to the planning meeting program were made by YMCA Europe Executive Secretary and RFR manager Vardan Hambardzumyan, who helped to make an insight into philosophy of the “Roots” during a Skype video conference with the planning team, and Chair of the Board of YMCA Scotland Jamie Lockhart, who presented the “Do No Harm” approach, which is to be actively used in the Impulse.

Jamie also presented the Scottish Full Board strategic training program for youth leaders, which focuses on the skills required to contribute to local YMCA boards and covers needs assessments, strategic planning, finances, and the YMCA youth policy. 

Everyone in the planning team highlighted the open and friendly atmosphere of the meeting, which surely contributed to its positive results:

  • we now have a clear understanding of the participant profile and can start recruitment process in YMCAs of the three countries;
  • we fixed clear aims and objectives of the project;
  • we finalized the project schedule and distributed tasks between planning team members;
  • we became even better friends and YMCA partners!

On Sunday we were given a great chance to participate in a master-class on Church bell ringing in a local Orthodox church, which, by the way, was built in 1844! This was another good "impulse" for a continued communication and cooperation!

Author/Source: Marina Martynenko, project coordinator from YMCA Russia / Alexei Kostyakov, YMCA Russia General Secretary