Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) and Young Men’s Leadership Project (YMLP) were an eight-day, multicultural leadership American style of summer camps for young women and man that promoted leadership, civic engagement, and friendship.
The camps provided learning experience that included personal development, environment, youth employability and youth empowerment. In addition, the camps provided opportunities for outdoor camping, teamwork, learning different sports and recreation, artistic expression and other useful and practical skills.
GLOW & YMLP were implemented by the YMCA Bitola in partnership with Peace Corps. The full staff was consisted by YMCA, Peace Corps Volunteers, and GLOW & YMLP alumni. GLOW was an annual summer program that has been held in Macedonia since 2002 in various locations until 2019. YMLP was an annual summer program that has been held in Macedonia since 2006 in various locations until 2019. Both camps empowered young leaders to create positive changes in their communities.
The impact of the camps was intensified through our volunteer clubs housed in diverse communities around the country. The clubs provided an outlet where GLOW and YMLP alumni could share what they’ve learned at camp with their community through monthly activities focused on leadership and local service. Clubs were developed and operated by YMCA with partnership from Peace Corps.
In this field we collaborate with World YMCA and YMCA Europe as part of few international program groups such as: Camping Program Group, with the non-formal network International Synergy Group as well as with other organizations.
In the past, we have been collaborating regionally in the Balkans. The Balkan Camp in Nymphaio, Greece YMCA allowed many regional youths to learn about camps, the outdoors and to fall in love with camping. This camp was held from 2002 until 2011 and was run by international team of campers alumni from the Balkan YMCAs.
Other opportunities for Youth
Since establishing the YMCA in Macedonia, we have been promoting youthwork as our central activity. We are glad that after many years, our country has taken steps to include and recognize the youthwork as a profession. Several steps are being taken to incorporate it in the state laws, but also to provide forms of education for the upcoming generations. This is done alongside our government initiative to open several Youth Centers across the country, where youthworkers can further develop their skills and know-how.
Bitola is one of the cities where such Youth Center should be open. We are cooperating with the local municipality and other youth NGOs to meet this goal. The network Union for Youthwork where we are members, is the umbrella organization that oversees these processes in the country.
Through different kinds of international opportunities such as personal and professional development trainings, youth exchanges and short and long term voluntary service, we enable our young people to gain and upgrade with necessary knowledge and skills to develop character so they can better answer to the nowadays challenges they face!
We are also actively involved in various projects through the Erasmus+ program of the European Union. All information and possibilities can be seen in the European Youth Portal. For Macedonians who would like to volunteer in the EU and the EU program countries, there is also the European Solidarity Corps .
The civil society with involvement and active contribution of all stakeholders in public policies and processes is crucial for the development of local communities in which we live in and the society in general.
In this direction YMCA Bitola besides youth work recognition, gets involved and gives contribution in the fields of development of relevant youth policies and strategies, implementation of youth programs in schools by empowering youth participation in the decision making, promotion of philanthropy by promoting volunteering and encouraging corporate and social responsibility among companies and citizens.
In that process beside with the above mentioned networks, we cooperate with other community stakeholders such as: Coalition of youth organizations SEGA, Network for financial sustainability of CSOs, primary and secondary schools, municipalities, companies, governmental and local institutions.
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