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


4th August 2020

One year ago we had the opening ceremony of YMCA175 at London ExCeL.

More than 3,000 persons – most of them young people – from all continents gathered and were ready to live a unique experience celebrating 175 years of the YMCA and to reaffirm the role of young people in our movement and in society.

The event was a success with a diverse and relevant programme. It contributed to strengthen the YMCA at all levels and to raise the organization´s profile like never before.

YMCA Europe as organizing body made an outstanding effort in partnership with YMCA England & Wales, YMCA USA, World YMCA and the World Urban Network.

As we continue to be thankful to all our stakeholders, national YMCAs and the committed teams that worked at YMCA175, we also realize that the investments made at the event were worth it.

Young people were at the center of YMCA175. In fact the outcomes of our gathering in London show that positive change was achieved and it is having an impact on national, regional and global strategies.

Today, exactly one year later, Europe and the whole world have changed in an unexpected way. Nobody could imagine that in such a short period of time, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic would have such an impact on the heath, the social life and the economy of humanity.

Observing today´s global situation, we can say that our event in London was organized and delivered in the right time.

Somehow, it helped our movement to prepare and equip for a future in which social relevance, inclusion and institutional strengthening will be more needed than ever.

Society needs references and we can provide those. Just like it happened during our long and fruitful history, the YMCA continues responding to an unprecedented contemporary challenge by creating new and innovative spaces, programmes and opportunities to grow. Just like we experienced in London one year ago, also young people are our focus.

At the opening ceremony on August 4th 2019, our President Mike Will reminded us that “God inspired George Williams as the young man that founded the YMCA”. Today we continue expressing our gratitude for all the support that we experienced at YMCA175 as we keep in our thoughts and prayers each local and national YMCA in our continent and globally in their mission driven journey.

In the horizon we have the 50 years of the European Alliance of YMCAs in 2023. Our strategic direction after YMCA175 is set and from YMCA Europe we encourage all our members and partners to contribute to shape the vision and action of a platform that has been crucial in building unity, peace and understanding among communities.

Thank you!

YMCA175 - Day 2 - August 5