YMCA developing future community leaders

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The YMCA association was founded in the 19th century and was meant to help the youth specifically men in the UK develop Christianity values which would help them in spiritual development, this however changed as the association spread to other parts of the world and each nation sought to modify the roles of the association to meet the challenges facing the youth and especially young men at the time. This change also spread to accommodate the female gender and, and later on the whole family setup. This helped the association to get fully involved in development of leaders by ensuring all factors affecting an individual in the course of growth were addressed. It is this role of leader development that is the subject of this paper and which different aspects will be examined.

YMCA Developing Future Community Leaders


YMCA is an acronym for Young Men Christian Association, a movement that realized much of it growth in the nineteenth century and was began in the UK in the year 1844 with time it has realized an international status with the current enrollment going well beyond forty million people and covering the entire globe.

The movement is founded in certain [principles which shape the activities of the movement these are the following, responsibility, respect, honesty and caring. The association runs programs which are aimed at developing young families and their members into future and prosperous individuals in future, the main concentration is ensuring that in future we have an all rounded society founded by strong values introduced at the family level and cemented in the postulated Christian values. (Winter, 2002).

The association which is a global entity should be noted is founded on the same guidelines but various divisions which are mainly geographical may not run the same kind of programs which may also explain some differences in the administration of these associations, but then as indicated at the start they have the same goals and often congregate to c hart the way forward to share ideas and look for ways to adopt to the new requirements brought about by changes within the world systems.

The YMCA as indicated earlier on run programs which are aimed at modeling individuals to be independent and responsible beings in future, these are the foundations necessary to build strong leaders in future, thus it is quite sound to sum the overall objectives of the YMCA to be building future leaders, leaders in this context being a wider term representing leadership in all aspects from the family level to the societal and finally to the highest level which is the federal level. Thus for this reason this research will be aimed at determining the various programs ran by these associations and their role in developing leaders, how exactly these programs are modeled to suit and meet the requirements of future leaders at the very primal value and the impact they have in the subsequent growth off the individual. (Spanberg 2009).

YMCA Developing Future Community Leaders

Historical review of YMCA

Right from the inception of the association in 1844 there has been so much activity associated with the program but not all have been documented especially on the growth and development and how it got transformed from being a national association in the UK to what it is now.

This however does not mean that there lacks complete information on the developmental issues of the association e specially to do with leadership development. The information available indicates that the same values that are held by the current association were the same values held by the initial association only that with time the programs have been altered to meet the changes and requirements of the ever being transformed world.

These values just as the current ones were involved in every level of the family where they sought to make children and youth develop positive values, and become more community and work oriented, besides this they aimed at motivating young people to enroll in schools to ensure they learnt how to live with others and develop individual abilities.

At the family level the association encouraged family members to spend the maximum possible time together, build community consciousness and strengthen bonds between their members which would lead to a strong society. (Chrismeyers 2009).

For individuals the emphasis was on spiritual growth as well as physical and mental growth to ensure an all rounded person.

YMCA Developing Future Community Leaders

This literature just as is the requirement of this paper indicates the development of future strong society and strong individuals thus it is in regard to this that we realize that development of leadership traits through creating a friendly environment has always been a key objective of the YMCA since inception.

Situational analysis

Leadership development is a process that starts from a very early stage and the realization of a leader will be as a result of many factors that are brought together and which transpire along the life of this individual. To start with the very initial environment that an individual recognizes is very influential in what that person becomes in future, a family which is founded on strong relational values and encourage participation by all members in the entire activity base is likely to give an individual that sense of responsibility which is so essential in molding a leader.

As the individual grows and interacts with other people beyond the family members and gets to realize himself he needs to have the inner strength which is mainly dependent on the spiritual strength mainly associated with religious backgrounds, a spiritually mature person is likely to have a greater conviction to try bigger things than an individual who is spiritually inadequate. This is another aspect central to leaders that is ability and willingness to take that extra mile as well as testing waters not earlier on tested. . (Winter 2002).

Finally the society around an individual should have certain values which strengthen the character of an individual and in a positive way, they should be supporting they should be appreciative and posses qualities that nurture the leadership qualities in an individual l this goes a long way in ensuring that the leadership qualities are nurtured and in deed a great leader is raised with time.

These are the foundations and tenets that the YMCA has all along operated around as they

YMCA Developing Future Community Leaders

have with time realized that the traits exhibited by an individual once old are mainly a reflection of what values or conditions that these people grew up with. Thus the association has found the need to cater for the individual by developing him from the family level to the societal level to ensure an environment suitable to nurture a leader is present. (Macleod, 2004).

To ensure this the association has the following programs to help develop the various dimensions of an individual. It should however be noted that the following programs are not synonymous to all YMCA associations but are borrowed from the American association, other nations may have different programs tailored to suit their different social and cultural needs.

YMCA adventure guide-This program is tailored to help parents and their guides in their discovery routes and to the parents particularly it helps learn the interests of their kids which become easier later on in developing an already identified ability. This program also helps improve communication between the entire family and the associate family as the program involves several families forming a circle this is essential in developing communication, and discovery abilities in a kid.

Teen leadership program-This program is tailored to help individuals develop the courage to address people and to generally learn how to express themselves. The program also has other activities such as leadership study and examination of various political systems and persons. This helps the participants identify strong leaders whom they relate with and are role models throughout their lives setting examples of what they want to be. (Chrismeyers, 2009).

Sports- these are generally part of the associations program to steer young people of negative activity as they channel their energy in sports this helps them develop physically and keep off negative peers this keeps them on course for future and better opportunities. Besides this sport help nurture individual’s team spirit and in future one is able to relate positively with others and better ideas will be developed through this. It also develops an individual’s ability to handle criticism and to build on it which are desirable qualities exhibited by leaders.

YMCA Developing Future Community Leaders

Community development-This helps individuals associate with each other and help keep the community orderly by joining hands to help eradicate gangs, drugs and such society ills. This helps provide a calm, peaceful and friendly environment for growth of strong leaders or people of great personality.

These are not the only programs run by YMCA but are the major ones which help in ensuring development of an all rounded person who is fit to be a leader in any context. Other programs are also aimed at developing an individual but the highlighted once are the once chosen to explain the subject of this study. (Spanberg 2009).

Importance of the Issue

Leadership development is a central issue as it determines where the society will be in the next few years, this is because of the fact the society is built in progression today’s molds tomorrow’s society and the kind of leaders that result from the current society will determine the kind of society that exists at their time.

Besides in the face of changing values and the highbred culture due to increased community interactions and the highly degenerating morals there need to be institutions that fight to retain the values and structure that once resulted to great leaders who now hold the world. Through them we get the assurance that great people will still emerge from our systems people who will better the current standards and retain the very values that they were founded or brought up with. (Winter 2002).

YMCA Developing Future Community Leaders

Contribution to research

This study provides the bases for subsequent researchers on leadership development, it gives a clear picture of where to begin and the institutions to look at that are involved in development of leaders.

Besides the researchers it provides the administrators of YMCA with a chance to look at the success of their association or the ability of the programs to achieve the postulated desires. Furthermore it will help determine whether modification of these programs is necessary to meet the needs of the ever changing society, and the highly integrative society which has seen springing of new neighborhoods which need to be incorporated into the society.

YMCA Developing Future Community Leaders


About the YMCA, . Retrieved September 29, 2009.

YMCA Developing Future Community Leaders

Chrismyers, J. (2009). Wall Street picks up on YMCA story, vol 846 p. 56-66.

YMCA programs, . Retrieved September 29, 2009.

YMCA of the USA. (1999).The volunteer champion Guide. Maximizing your people power, YMCA. Human Kinetics Publishers.

YMCA of the USA. (1998). Principles of YMCA Youth Work: Working with teens 12 to 17.

Human Kinetics Publishers.

Macleod, D. (2004). Building Character in the American Boy: The Boy Scouts, YMCA and their Fore runners, 1870-1920. . University of Wisconsin Press.

Spanberg, E. (2009).Keeping Charlotte’s YMCA fit for the future. Charlotte Business Journal vol 1068 p. 652.

Winter, T (2002). Making men, making class: The YMCA and working men, 1877-1920.University of Chicago Press