YMCA, Who Are We?
At YMCA in N. Macedonia we are a small team of 3 experiential education specialists and 1 Peace Corps Volunteer who works closely with us, in the main office in Bitola. But that’s not all – with us are also 10 more mentors who support the clubs around the country and 35 more camper alumni and Peace Corps volunteers to secure each camp implementation during the summer. We work to develop our Youth Development Program GLOW-YMLP consisting of two premiere leadership summer camps and follow up camper alumni community service clubs in many cities around the country who continue implementing learned activities at the camp.
Unfortunately, many young people often don’t feel compelled to actively participate in their community. In fact, many initiatives focused on youth engagement such as volunteering projects, local community events, or local civic organizations often struggle to maintain and recruit participants.
What Are We Doing Differently?
Our approach starts by first identifying the most passionate service-minded youth from every community. The 2019 program had representation from 34 municipalities!
Starting in July, these select student leaders join us in Krushevo to learn about their unique leadership style and the fundamentals of project design and community service. In addition to the classroom lessons at camp, students are fully immersed in English language and build long-lasting relationships with other service-minded leaders from their community. After camp, its these relationships that keep our youth enthusiastically engaged in the GLOW-YMLP clubs.
The GLOW-YMLP clubs program is an initiative that started in 2015 to allow camper alumni to apply their leadership and service training within their own community. Each club has a dedicated mentor to provide coaching and leadership training to build upon lessons from the camp experience. In addition, each club has the opportunity to design and submit a project proposal to receive funding from YMCA to purchase the materials they need to implement their localized community service project. For more about this year service projects, see here.
What is Our Impact?
Last year alone, 16 different GLOW-YMLP clubs dedicated in sum 1000 hours to community service across 22 unique service projects. In collaboration with their dedicated mentors, our youth clubs completed needs assessments across their communities and designed projects focused on: special needs youth, environmentalism, food security, life skills education, and city beautification. Rather than wait for opportunities, our youth create their own opportunities, but they need your help and contributions to support their service!
How Can You Help?
This year, we initiated the crowdfunding campaign to add at: providing best camp experience by buying new tents, supporting more campers by covering a camper fee or cover the full cost of a camper attending camp; and supporting our clubs program by covering the costs for community service project Covering the costs of one service project will allow additional service projects in one or more of our current clubs, and the donation will be to offset the materials cost associated with this new project. Previous service projects have used their grants to purchase: gardening equipment, paint, trash bags, gloves, construction materials, and office stationery among other items. Your donation now will ensure that the clubs program continues to thrive and grow! Let us know if you have a specific club you would like to support, and we’d be happy to direct your funds to that club!
How much we need?
For this crowdfunding campaign we have set goal of 6% [3.000 $USD] from our annual budget for the program. Campers support the program with contribution of 11%. For the rest of the budget we work on corporate fundraising by building relationships with corporate donors which are mainly national social responsible companies with vision to invest in the country youth leaders.
Every dollar helps! We are looking forward to your partnership in empowering the youth of Macedonia!