Wilmington, DE- In celebration of the YMCA’s 175th anniversary, 16 teens and young adults from YMCA branches in New Castle and Kent County will attend a major conference in London, the city where the organization was founded. The conference, called YMCA175, will take place from August 2-10. YMCA Delaware’s Global Teen Program is comprised of members ages 16-21 who are involved in various activities and jobs at the Y which include, among other things, lifeguards, members of Black Achievers program, and Youth in Government. All applied to be selected to attend the conference in London; many received scholarships to help pay for the $2,500 per person conference fee.
“A lot of our kids have never even been on an airplane, or traveled outside of Delaware, so this is their first-time doing things like applying for a passport, said Program Director, Anesha Truesdale.
Five thousand YMCA members from 100 countries, representing six continents will attend the conference. Truesdale says 600 attendees are expected to be from the US. She says the Delaware contingent will go armed with video cameras and their cell phones so they can interview young people from the US and other countries. Upon returning to Delaware the Global Teens will be expected to work together to create a video about their experience which will be unveiled at a movie premiere at a yet-to-be-determined YMCA branch.
“My goal is to have them embrace diversity and inclusion and to meet people from other cultures. Just exposing them to that will be a learning experience within itself,” she said.
This is the first time YMCA Delaware has formed a Global Teens group, and the first time the Y has taken young people abroad for a global conference, but Truesdale hopes it won’t be the last.
“We’re excited to see it (the program) grow. We’re already looking to take kids to another county next year.”
Truesdale says that the next country is likely to be Brazil. While the Global Teens will not be attending a structured conference, she hopes the cultural exchange and exposure will become an on-going part of YMCA Delaware’s mission to create educational, social, and civically driven opportunities for young members who are encouraged to become solution-focused leaders of tomorrow, thanks to programs at the Y.
For more information about the Global Teens upcoming adventure contact Julie Burns at Jburns@ymcade.org or call (302) 571-6997.
About the YMCA of Delaware
The YMCA of Delaware is Delaware’s largest non-profit organization committed to strengthening local citizens through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. With eight branches statewide and an overnight camp and conference center in Worton, Maryland, the Y has developed long-standing relationships and a physical presence in Delaware so it can deliver lasting personal and social change. We are committed to serving everyone – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of every child and teen, improve Delaware’s health and wellbeing and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. www.ymcade.org.