It all began when I finished my studies and headed in search of volunteering. YMCA Bitola introduced me with a diverse offer of activities, among them the program Change Agent. I was most inspired by exactly that – being part of YMCA’s World project and becoming a Change Agent. The desire to be part of the YMCA family brought me on the road to Estes Park, Colorado in America where the YMCA World’s Council was held this year for the eighteenth time.
This assembly is the highest body for decision making in the YMCA World Alliance. The World Council which meets every four years is responsible for establishing policies and directions for the World Alliance and choosing its leadership including the Executive Committee. The work in the previous four years is evaluated and future priorities are reviewed.
For the first time in YMCA history young people were the focus of the assembly through the Change Agents program. This provided young people the opportunity to be directly involved in the program of this year’s Council. We were able to express our opinions on youth-related questions through many of the activities. I also had the opportunity to debate and talk to people with different opinions and attitudes about certain world questions. Throughout the week we demonstrated what we had learned as part of Change Agent in being youth leaders.
This assembly will activate YMCA’s work in the world by enabling youth to participate in the decision making process and demonstrating the leadership capacity of YMCA’s organizations throughout the world. The Change Agent will be part of the initiatives taken over on a global level for resolving global problems concerning today’s youth. We are the voice of young people which will first be heard through the initiative “One Million Voices”.
As part of the Change Agents, I had the honor and pleasure of visiting YMCA’s Ranch of the Rockies. I had the opportunity to understand how YMCAs work in America and to compare the experiences in other YMCA organizations throughout the world. I feel enriched by meeting different cultures through the 83 delegates from around the world where the YMCA movement motivates and inspires.
My engagement as a Change Agent for the last year and a half, ended with official ceremony in Colorado where we were awarded certificates. The program encouraged me to think about the participation of young people not just in YMCA, but also globally. We need to think about whether young people are aware of the power they own in resolving problems which we face on a daily basis, including unemployment, involvement in decision making, environmental protection, and many others.
Being part of the program means becoming aware of these problems and the ways through which young people can be influenced to be part of the solution. This was just a small encouragement for me to continue in the direction for improving young people’s lives and their place in society, for youth to be acknowledged, valued as people and their voice to be heard and acknowledged everywhere. I believe in this change and in the movement which will inspire generations of young people to fight for their voice.
Photo gallery of the event.