The 46th General Assembly of the Liberia YMCA ended Monday in Monrovia with the election of a new National Board and National Youth Council.
The assembly began on March 31, 2017 with a colorful indoor program in the Eugene H. Cooper Conference Hall of the Liberia YMCA.
Delivering the keynote address, the Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Liberia, The Most Reverend Jonathan B. B. Hart, hailed the work of the YMCA in Liberia, reminiscing on the formation of the YMCA in England, to Liberia in 1881 by Bishop Samuel David Ferguson and the expansion of the YMCA to Monrovia and other areas.
He also highlighted the work of the Liberia YMCA from the areas of youth development to psychosocial health to partnership with international organizations, taking special notice of the YMCA’s intervention in the Ebola crisis.
“The YMCA is the oldest and largest youth movement in the world as it seeks to bring social justice and peace to communities and people regardless of religion, race and culture.” Bishop Hart told the assembly.
He reminded the gathering that many young people in various high schools in the past inclined to become members of the various High Y Clubs to participate in intellectual discourses such as the Mock UN Assembly and debate competitions, as well as attend YMCA sporting events.
Bishop Hart also reflected on the work of the Liberia YMCA in the areas of youth leadership, peacebuilding, advocacy, psychosocial counseling, among others, as well as the implementation of other community programs in various areas of the country.
Notably, Bishop Hart highlighted the YMCA’s role during the Ebola outbreak in which the YMCA reached out to over 45,000 people with Ebola messages and over 7,000 people with food support.
Concluding, Bishop Hart called on all politicians and people seeking positions to support the YMCA adding, “I call on all politicians and those seeking leadership positions in our country, cities and districts and those who plan to lead, to lend support to the YMCA so that we can train our many youth to learn the basic skills they so need to perform well in the development of Liberia.”
Earlier, the National General Secretary of the Liberia YMCA, E. Edward Gboe, welcomed the delegates and invited guests to the assembly and told them that the Liberia YMCA remains committed to the cause of young people for leadership and empowerment.
“This cause has led the YMCA to do a critical review of programs and organizational structure to ensure the relevance of the need of the YMCA to young people.”
He said the quest of the YMCA is to remain relevant and responsive to youth and communities. On the operations of the YMCA, Mr. Gboe said the Liberia YMCA operates in a strategic framework, spanning across a four-year period, 2014-2017. He said a successor plan to the 2013/2017 plan, which was the focus of his report, envisioned a YMCA that promotes good governance and an effective organization.
He named effective governance, oversight systems, adequate governance management systems, reasonably sound internal control systems, and effective system of program management as the focus of the YMCA for the last four years.
The second day of the assembly began with the presentation of an Interim Strategic Plan by the Development Secretary of the YMCA, E. Timotheus Kamaboakai.
Mr. Kamaboakai said the plan is to build on six pillars: effective organizational governance, delivering socially relevant program and services, investment in infrastructure and innovative and sustainable programs, investment in human resource capacity, membership and branch development and strengthening YMCA Community School System.
Meanwhile, the new National Board and local Board Members were installed by the veteran Liberian Diplomat, Ambassador Charles Minor. Those installed were Rep. Lester M. Paye, Chairman; Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie, Vice Chairman for Administration and Finance; Pastor Gabriel Briamiah, Vice President for Program; Madam Comfort Lloys Sammy, Secretary; and Madam Kolu Beyan, Chaplain. Other members of local YMCA Boards were also installed, including Judge James Jones of the Monrovia YMCA.