In early August, the YMCA of Delaware’s first cohort of Global Teens headed to London to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Y. Sixteen young people from Delaware YMCAs attended the YMCA 175 conference held in the city where the world-wide movement was founded. The Delaware contingent joined 600 young adults from across the United States, where a total of 3,200 YMCA members from 120 countries, representing six continents were in attendance.
“A lot of our young people have never even been on an airplane or traveled outside of Delaware, so this was their first time doing things like applying for a passport,” said Walnut Street Y Program Director Anesha Truesdale.
YMCA175’s dynamic Global Youth Event featured over 150 hours of workshops, seminars and panel sessions along with daily devotions and an opening plenary for the thousands of YMCA youth leaders, volunteers, and staff. The event aimed to connect the YMCA global movement, strengthen cross-cultural understanding, celebrate 175 years of the YMCA’s impact, and develop solutions to address today’s social challenges.
During the conference, our Global Teens learned about global challenges such as climate change, civic engagement, workforce development, public health and education. We also furthered partnerships with YMCAs across the globe and hope to send our second cohort of Global Teens to Sao Paolo, Brazil next summer!
“This was such a transformative experience. While at YMCA175, I met people from countries I’d always learned about. We were able to connect through similarities and create unforgettable friendships,” said Dorcas Olantunji, Global Teen participant. “My love and dedication to the Y have only grown since this trip and I am excited to continue to advocate and work with the Y this coming year.”
“YMCA175 taught me that the Y goes far beyond my Y story and the YMCA of Delaware,” said Talley Ridgeway, Global Teen participant. “With intentional collaboration, there is the possibility for change locally and globally.”
Throughout the trip, the Global teens used cameras and their cell phones to interview attendees at the conference. They are currently working together to produce a video about their experience with young people from around the world. Once complete, a premier night will be scheduled for viewing the YMCA175 video.
Many of our teens would not have been able to participate in this experience without the generous support of our donors. For more information on making a donation to the Global Teens program, contact Matt Clements at firstname.lastname@example.org.