About


We are non-profit, nongovernmental, nonreligious and an inclusive youth organization which aims to provide opportunities for local youth and to actively work with them in our community. YMCA is based in Bitola and run program activities all over Republic of Macedonia.

In Macedonia the first local YMCA was formed in March 1999 in Skopje. Today there are two local YMCA associations in Skopje and Bitola. YMCA Macedonia is member of YMCA Europe since 2008. YMCA is part of the big World YMCA family spread throughout 119 countries reaching over 58 million people.

Our MISSION is to empower the young people and develop the inherent potential they have by providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary to become active leaders in their communities. This is realized through experiential education that celebrates diversity, builds academic and social competencies.

MOTTO:
Empowering youth!

VALUES that we nurture and support: 
Caring              – To care for yourself, the others and the community.
Honesty           – To be truthful in what you say and do.
Respect            – To treat yourself, all people and your community with dignity and acceptance.
Responsibility – To be accountable for your promises and actions.
Courage           – To face challenges and lead.
Creativity         – To find new solutions to challenges.
Passion            – To find your inspiration to create change.

We welcome all people with a focus on youth.

We work in the field of non-formal education for young people, offering support for youth participation in the decision making processes, promotion of youth activism, volunteering, healthy lifestyles and building a society that encourages positive values and behaviors among young people. Check out our activities here.

The YMCA team with the Ambassador of the USA

Management Board:
Благојче Количоски - Член
Александар Георгиев - Член

Executive Office:
Viktor Iliev, President of YMCA, Director of GLOW-YMLP Youth Program
Jovche Krsteski, Coordinator of International Youth Program
Elena Ivanovska, Office Manager
Marcus Harris, Peace Corps Volunteer at YMCA, Operations Director of GLOW-YMLP Youth Program

And lots of motivated volunteers
We are grateful to receive support also from many other long and short term volunteers.

 

Our story

20022001 Starting as non-formal youth-led club building relations with YMCA Skopje and YMCA Europe.

2002-2003 Founding YMCA Bitola on 31.05.2002. We started with work on humble initiatives as was the case with taking mountain hiking trips, ping pong recreational competitions and similar. The Balkan Camp in Nymphaio, Greece allowed our participants to learn about camps and outdoor learning and to fall in love in camping. This camp was held for 10 years run by international team of campers alumni from the Balkan YMCAs. In 2003 in the National Park Pelister we organized camp for youth from Denmark and Macedonia.

2004-2006 Developed several youth programs involving local youth as volunteers such as: the Y-Movie, the fire juggling group Acid TripleY-Comics, NotifY newsletter. In this period we successfully organized the first larger international event Balkan Leadership Training #3 for 80 participants and the  Balkan Program Festival “Balkan Mosaics” with YMCA Europe with more than 130 participants from many countries from Europe.

2007-2009 2007-2We have joined in the international Synergy network for personal development trainings. Our YMCA team focused more on outdoor camps and training programs and began attending various outdoor type of workshops, personal development trainings and gained many active followers in the upcoming years. We organized the Balkan Leadership Trainings #5 and #6 in Macedonia together with YMCA Europe. In 2008 YMCA Macedonia become member of YMCA Europe.

2010-2012 In 2010 we started working with the European Voluntary Service, cooperation with Peace Corps and joined Coalition of Youth Associations SEGA, followed up by working on program on children rights and closer collaboration with the local schools. In 2011 YMCA Bitola became the national office of YMCA Macedonia, and this year along with Peace Corps, YMCA have begun working at the Young Men's Leadership Project. In 2012 we initiated a core group for development a YMCA Europe camp program which later in the years was realized.

2013-2015 In 2013 YMCA Bitola received the annual award for innovative practices in the work with volunteers. In 2014 and 2015 we organized and co-organized several international trainings as part of the EU youth program “Youth in Action”.2013 We became part of the World YMCA program for young leaders “Change Agents”, together with other twenty youth associations we founded the Union of Youth Work, in order to attain recognition of the youth workers and the youth work as a profession in the country. In 2015 as a result of the successful collaboration in the YMLP camp (Young Men's Leadership Project), YMCA Bitola expanded the collaboration with the Peace Corps on the GLOW camp (Girls Leading Our World). The camp program of YMCA Bitola offered numerous camp learning opportunities in several international camps in The Netherlands, France, Germany, etc.).

2016-2019 We have become part of the non-formal Outdoor as a Tool Network, Network for NGO financial sustainability and in 2017 we expanded our Youth Development Program GLOW-YMLP by start working on a network of youth led clubs of campers alumni.

 

General about YMCA

red-triangleThe YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) is one of the oldest and largest Movements for youth in the world. Founded in 1844, it now operates in 119 countries in 11.220 locations, involving 725.483 volunteers and reaching 58 million people. The YMCA works to bring social justice and peace to young people and their communities, regardless of religion, race, gender or culture.

The World Alliance of YMCAs is based in Geneva, Switzerland and YMCA Europe is based in Prague, Czech Republic. YMCA in different countries is known by different names depending on the domestic languages: YMCA, IMKA, CVJM, UCJG, KFUK, NMKY, CEVI, HANTH, ACM, ACJ, etc. In Macedonia and other countries in South Eastern Europe, the YMCA is known as IMKA. The sign of the YMCA is a red triangle indicating the main goals of the YMCA: harmonious development of people's spirit, mind and body.

 

Field of work

Local and National YMCA Associations are strongly rooted in their communities. Depending on the local context and priority issues affecting young people, YMCAs operate in a wide range of program areas including: sustainable development, education & vocational training, gender equality, climate change, health & HIV/AIDS, prevention, inter-faith dialogue, food security, leadership development,

change-en

migration, civic engagement & human rights education, emergency response, peace-building.

Through these actions, YMCAs are creating long-lasting change in the lives of millions of youth and the communities of which they are part. In all activities, strong emphasis is given to youth leadership and youth participation.

The model of CHANGE

At all continents of the world, the YMCA is working to empower young people and to transform communities with an embedded change model of SPACE-TRANSFORMATION-IMPACT. This model is a common DNA in our activities and that’s why being part of the YMCA is a life changing experience.

 

History of YMCA

1844 In London, England, George Williams (23 years old) together with 12 young people founded YMCA. This was a reaction to the great changes in society that had occurred after the Industrial Revolution like: onslaught of vices of every kind, immorality, atheism, gambling, worsening life conditions, loss of values and the deterioration of social relations, but also to provide activities to help people spend their free time in a valuable way.

1844+ The YMCA idea had popularized. In Great Britain there were over 2 700 members in 24 associations, but also in Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia and Canada. The YMCA was established in the USA. The YMCA opened many fitness centers, gym halls and other sport centers.

1852 The first Secretary General of YMCA in Geneva was Henri Dunant. He was the future founder of the Red Cross. In 1901 he received the Nobel Prize for peace.

1891 James Nesmith, instructor of the YMCA Training College in Springfield, Massachusetts (USA), created basketball, which expanded through all colleges and camps in the YMCA of USA and worldwide later.

1894 (50 years from the YMCA foundation). George Williams received the title “Sir” for lifetime achievement from the British Queen Victoria.

1895 William G. Morgan, a gym instructor in Massachusetts, USA, created volleyball as a game for recreation in the YMCA camps which later expanded all around the world.

1914-1945 YMCA was actively involved in World War One and Two in working with refugees and displaced persons as volunteer organization financed by public donations, distinguishing itself from other organizations financed by governmental resources. For its work during the two World Wars, the President of the YMCA John R. Mott received the Nobel Prize for Peace.

1948-1960 YMCA played a leading role in developing youth and social programs all around the world. The YMCA is actively involved in working with youth and protecting the rights of children, the handicapped, elderly and feeble people, homeless, people with special needs, support for families and parents etc.

1980's YMCA focused on the fight for children's rights, children’s camps, etc. which are still a priority today.

1982 For help in refugee programs YMCA received a special recognition from the United Nations (UN).

1990's After the fall of the socialism there was a massive rebirth of YMCA in South East Europe. In the second half of the '90s the new YMCAs of South-East Europe, became an engine for the YMCA in Europe bringing lots of new members, new ideas, new approaches and new programs.

The 21st century is period with increased dynamic of activities in order to empower the young people from all over the world. Going down the right path, the YMCA continues to write the history.

More on the YMCA history

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