We are once again looking for inspiring young people from YMCAs across the country who are aged 18 to 30 to join our popular Youth Ambassador programme.
In 2017/18 we recruited over a dozen new ambassadors, bringing us to a total of 37 in our third year. Each represents our unique and diverse organisation while embracing life-enhancing opportunities, experiences and training and in turn making a tangible impact on the world around them.
Our ambassadors have a strong, visible presence at a number of major events, such as at this year’s YMCA World Council, and are given the chance to play a significant part in YMCA’s national campaigns. They have also engaged on our behalf at groups, forums, councils and summits around the world. This includes contributing to the United Nations Youth Forum in New York and representing World YMCA at the International Labour Organisation.
This year, we are asking YMCA CEOs and staff to consider young people who could benefit from being empowered as a result of this opportunity or who have a strong story to tell. For example, those who may have had first-hand experience of some of challenges affecting young people today, such as lack of employment opportunities, issues related to body image, housing and health, particularly mental health.
Alex Taylor, YMCA Youth Ambassador from Barnsley, said: “Since becoming a Youth Ambassador, I have taken part in numerous international visits and projects, including representing YMCA England & Wales and YMCA Europe at the UN in New York.
“Alongside this, I have been able to engage in many diverse opportunities, such as parliament and media training, public speaking, campaigning and many more. I have been able to support my YMCA in getting involved with national events and campaigns, such as #IAMWHOLE and National Democracy Week, and developing our youth leadership offer.
“I enjoy meeting other Youth Ambassadors, forging links and sharing learnings that enable me to develop the work I do back at my local YMCA, including facilitating young people to access the opportunities I have had.”
Ken Montgomery, YMCA England & Wales’s Head of International Affairs, said: “Our Youth Ambassadors programme has been running now for three years and during that time we have recruited and trained 51 young people from local YMCAs across England and Wales.
“It is fantastic to see our ambassadors engaging in local hustings for elections, speaking to potential fundraisers, being interviewed in the media and participating in shaping the campaigns we deliver on a national level.
“I would encourage all local YMCAs to seek out your young residents, volunteers and staff who would like to get more widely involved in what we do, put their names forward and see them take their engagement with our great movement to the next level.
“I would also encourage you to not just put forward your stars. Don’t set the bar too high, take a risk and let’s do what we do best – facilitate young people to become empowered.”
To find out more about the Youth Ambassador programme and the fantastic benefits it can offer to both young people and their YMCA, please email Ken Montgomery or call 020 7186 9576.