YMCA Armenia Partner Group Meeting

1On October 1-3rd YMCA Armenia Partners’ Group Meeting took place. Ararat Harutyunyan, YMCA Armenia Board President, Hayk Khachatryan, YMCA Armenia Secretary General and Haykuhi Karapetyan, YMCA Armenia Exchange Programs’ Coordinator together with representatives of YMCA Armenia Partner organizations, Rebekah McCluskey and Chris Wellens (Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA, MA, USA), Mark Yeager with his wife Corinna Yeager and  John Loussararian with his wife Jennipher Malagon Loussararian (Foothills YMCA, CA, USA), Kam Kobeissi (Frost Valley YMCA, NY, USA), Ian Luck, (KFUK/KFUM Norway) and Vardan Hambardzumyan (YMCA Europe) came together to discuss current issues related with the existing partnership and possibilities to make them even stronger with the facilitation of Vince Corsaro, YMCA Armenia organization development expert from the USA.

In the scope of the program the Partners' group travelled to some of the local Ys with stops at historical and cultural sights. In Vardenis and Vanadzor YMCA Community Centers they met the YMCAs’ Board and staff members and leadership and discussed the current situations in the local Ys, their achievements and issues they face in their work. The Partners’ group arrived at the Vanadzor YMCA Community Center right when the “Youth for Change” TenSing Festival organized by young leaders of YMCA Armenia local organizations together with KFUK/KFUM Norway was being run. Everyone was really impressed by the huge work these young people had done within a very short time frame. Here the partners had a chance to meet some of the young leaders of the Syrian Armenian YMCA Youth Initiative Group and speak about the work they are doing with the Syrian Armenian kids, their engagement with the YMCA movement as well as the needs and challenges they face.

On October 3rd several meeting sessions in Spitak YMCA “Home for Future” Community Center  were held. All the projects, especially youth exchange projects with all the partner organization and “Building Leaders for Armenia” project supported by KFUK/KFUM Norway  were presented and discussed. The Youth Exchange Project with Prattville YMCA, Al, USA was presented alongside with the others by Haykuhi Karapetyan  though there was no delegate from Prattville Y in the meeting. Vardan Hambardzumyan spoke about YMCA Europe “Roots for Reconciliation” project and the upcoming Armenian-Turkish youth exchange in Istanbul at the end of October. Foothills YMCA based on the positive experience of the Youth Exchanges held by YMCA Armenia with the other partners is initiating a new Youth Exchange with YMAC Armenia for 2015.

At the end of the working day Vince Corsaro introduced the Indiegogo online fundraising campaign for YMCA Armenia “Building Leaders for Armenia” project to be run for the second year. The 2-month campaign was re-launched on November 1st, 2014. The partners were invited to be actively involved in promoting the campaign and supporting YMCA Armenia in raising funds to stay committed to its mission and continue working in the direction of the youth engagement and empowerment.
2