Coordinator, YMCA Community Action Network
Nicole Wry is a YMCA Community Action Network Coordinator from the YMCA of Greater Moncton and a member of the YMCA’s National Young Leaders Advisory Committee.
Think of a charity that works with youth, and it’s likely you’ll think of the YMCA. We’ve been mobilizing youth since our very beginning and it remains an essential part of who we are.
Young people look at the reality of today, imagine what could make a better tomorrow, and take action to make it happen. Every day, we see examples of youth energizing movements that address some of the biggest challenges we face. Can you think about climate change anymore without thinking about Greta Thunberg?
Often, the word “youth” is interpreted as “inexperienced.” At the Y, we know it’s not inexperience, it’s just new experience, providing a different take on the world. And this is a good thing, as youth offer perspectives with fresh eyes and open minds.
As one of Canada’s largest charities, the YMCA plays a role in youth empowerment, not only through our programs, but as an employer of young people. We know that the Y is stronger because we nurture opportunities for youth to grow, contribute, and take action.
We invest in our young leaders and employees. We provide opportunities for professional development, like the YMCA Young Ambassadors Program, equipping youth as leaders to take action and make change.
Across Canada, the YMCA Community Action Network engages youth to address community needs through local service projects that are meaningful to them. Youth are developing solutions and advocating for change that has lasting impact to combat pressing social issues.
Our challenge to you is to think about the role young people have in the spaces you occupy. Are they included in decision-making? Are they consulted? Are their innovations encouraged? Change starts with intention, and when you intentionally begin to empower youth, you’ll learn one essential truth: young people have value and young people have voices, and when they use them, the world shakes.
About YMCA Canada
The YMCA is a powerful association of people joined together by a shared passion to foster a sense of belonging for all. In an age of complex social challenges, the YMCA is steadfastly dedicated to building healthy communities by inviting and encouraging Canadians to join in, to give back, and to gain the connections, skills, and confidence they need to thrive.
YMCA Canada is a charity and the national office of the Canadian YMCA Federation, providing support to 39 YMCA Member Associations. For more than a century we’ve been at the heart of communities across the country, serving evolving needs and providing vital community services.