I am pleased to report there is a lot of energy and excitement building about Plan Y!
From March 7-9th I had the pleasure of spending time with all 53 YMCA and YMCA-YWCA CEOs at our 2nd annual CEO Forum. Building on the incredible work started during our “Case for Change” CEO Forum one year ago, this meeting focused on having rich discussions regarding our ambitious plan for the future.
Leading up to the Forum, 95% of our associations held workshops with boards/senior staff and young leaders, welcoming feedback about the future of Canada’s YMCA. In total over 1000 people committed their time and effort by attending, with 1/3 of participants being 30 years of age or younger. This level of participation is remarkable and speaks volumes about our capacity to work together! Plan Y will be enriched as a result of the information that was collected.
Benefits of Collaboration
During the forum, I was pleased to hear Stephane Vaillancourt (CEO, YMCAs of Québec) share his thoughts about our vision to strengthen Canada’s YMCA. He stated that the Plan Y goals will require time and effort from all of us, but he believes the outcomes will be worthwhile. He noted how much his association has benefited from CEO colleagues in the recent past, and given the enthusiasm in the room during the forum I am confident we will all see many more benefits in the future.
Creating Lasting Change
Over the YMCA’s history we can identify times when our communities and country had great needs, and in turn, the YMCA responded. The creation of regional MRCs and the development and implementation of Priority SAM are two examples that come to mind readily. Both initiatives have proven to be methods of creating lasting change.
This group of YMCA leaders is experiencing one of these special times; I sense we are at a flex point that comes once in a generation. We have an opportunity to create an increased level of collaboration among Canadian YMCAs and the communities which we serve, which is so important as our regions are ever more interconnected.
Envisioning the Future
I was so impressed by the picture painted by Medhat Mahdy (CEO, YMCA of Greater Toronto) when he imagined looking back on the work we are considering today:
“A group of concerned and committed women and men leaders… led a renewal that had great impact and we see the results today. More children, youth and families live a life of quality filled with meaning and a sense of community… fulfilling their dreams and giving generously to others…. The work was not easy. It was difficult but it was worth it. It required courage, collaboration, commitment to a cause, risk taking and innovation. We know the organization today as Canada’s YMCA.”
The development of Plan Y will continue to be a collaborative process. Investments of time, effort and financial resources will be needed. The resulting plan will be one that is co-created, one that we all own, is sustainable and achievable. This innovative federation strategic plan will position the YMCA in alignment with what we say and what we do; we will truly be strengthening the foundations of community.
When thinking about our future, what excites you?