The YMCA is the oldest and most important worldwide youth movement with a permanent consultative status at the United Nations since 1947.
1844: In London, 23 year-old George Williams founded the first YMCA hostel to encourage help and solidarity among the youth coming to the city during the industrial revolution. From the beginning they grew very fast expanding all over the five continents.
1852: The first YMCA hostels (UCJG in French) opened in Paris, Nîmes and Strasbourg at the initiative of young Protestants.
1855: The World Alliance of YMCA was set up in Paris.
Although they were initially created for the youth, they have developed other programs for vulnerable adults. In France the YMCA is recognized as an organization for the general good of the community, with 23 federations working in two fields - tourism and educational activities (holiday centres, holidays for the youth and cultural activities) and social integration (accommodation, employment and training).
Above and beyond the diversity of the programme, the shared values build up solid relationships that federate the network.
YMCA empowering young people
The YMCA movement, through its social, intercultural and international development programmes, enables each individual to foster autonomy, to teach self-reliance, responsibility and solidarity for a better world.
The holistic approach and individualised support are represented in the triangle logo, which symbolises a balanced development of mental, spiritual and physical skills.
A positive and constructive vision of the world
The YMCA has an open-minded approach to the world, acknowledging that differences are enriching and encouraging dialogue in a constructive spirit. Autonomy and individual responsibility are placed at the heart of its programmes.
Some of the pioneering initiatives in matters of education and mutual assistance launched by the YMCA have been : - The first worldwide ecumenical meetings (Paris, 1855). - Unitarian scouting (1911) and camping. - Basketball (USA, 1891 and France, 1893) - Volley-ball (USA, 1895 and France, 1918)
Participation in the founding of : - The Cimade - National Association of Outdoor Sports Centres (UCPA) - Youth Department of the Protestant Federation of France - CNAJEP