YMCA holds leadership conference

| 29/01/2019
CNS Local Life
Attendees and trainers at the Leaders for Youth conference (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

(CNS Local Life): About 150 YMCA staff, volunteers, teen leaders and community partners recently took part in the organisation’s fourth annual Leaders for Youth Conference, to learn from each other and grow as leaders in their community. The event, held 19-20 January, featured workshops led by the National Drug Council, Family Resource Centre and Alex Panton Foundation, as well as international partners the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg (Florida) and the Westfield Area Y (New Jersey). 

The theme of the conference was “Special Forces”, highlighting YMCA leaders as a carefully selected and highly trained group fighting a different kind of war each day, stated a YMCA press release.

The two-day conference kicked off with leadership training for YMCA programme coordinators and professional staff and overseas representatives also visited the Bodden Town, Clifton Hunter, East End and Edna. M. Moyle after-school sites.

The second day of the conference consisted of workshops under the theme “Special Forces”, focussing on training, organising and equipping participants to have a significant impact on the lives of the youth with which they engage.

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EASP coordinator for the Y Jennifer West with Joel Francis of the Ministry of Education (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Joel Francis, Acting Chief Officer for the Ministry of Education, welcomed participants on the opening day. “I trust that each of you will come away from this conference with your resolve strengthened, your enthusiasm stirred and your creativity increased as you sharpen the tools and skills you already have in order to launch a successful attack on those distractions and detractors that would try to steal what rightfully belongs to our children and youth: their future,” he said in the press release.

He also thanked the YMCA on behalf the ministry, noting the successful partnership between the two. The government’s Extended After-School Programme that the Y runs “is a great example of public and private entities coming together and making a meaningful impact”, he said.

Francis added that 100 Y staff reach more than 1,300 young people each year at nine sites serving 15 schools across Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. “The YMCA is on the front lines of the battle every day fighting for Cayman’s youth. Thank you to all of you – staff, volunteers, board members, teachers – for your hard work and commitment and answering the call. History will record the difference you have made in the lives of our children and you will have the thanks of a grateful nation.”

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YMCA leaders from Florida and New Jersey attended the conference (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Greg Smith, YMCA Cayman CEO, spoke of the importance of the yearly symposium, noting it “is always such an empowering event for all of us who have the privilege of serving our community. We all come with different backgrounds, cultures, worldviews and experiences but we are all united around the Y’s core values of honesty, caring, respect, responsibility and faith, and this realisation makes it so much easier to work together to make our country a better place,” he said.

“Our theme this year, ‘Special Forces’, was a powerful one. Each day we battle against destructive forces that steal opportunities from our children to reach their full potential. Just like military elite forces, we have to become militant, creative and single-minded in our efforts to capture the attention, engage the hearts, and inspire the minds of our youth so that they can fulfil their purpose on earth. I believe participants this year have come away with a renewed sense of commitment and determination to make a difference in the lives of Cayman’s children and youth and the general community,” Smith added.

For more information about the YMCA Cayman Islands, call 926-9622, go to its website or email the Y at info@ymcacayman.ky.

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Category: Community, Schools, Service Organisations, Youth

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