Úvodní stránka
Clánky, úvahy, komentáre
Linky a kontakty

How Y's Men Began ...

Founded in Toledo, Ohio, USA in 1922 to support a local YMCA, Y's Men International is now oriented to serving the worldwide YMCA, the largest non-governmental youth organisation, and through it the communities in which it is present throughout the world. Since the YMCA is usually known as "the Y" in the USA, and as the Y's Men movement started there as a club of "men of and for the Y", it was named the "Y's Men's Club".
However, we who are members of a Y's Men's Club know well that women can be full members of our movement (and indeed many women are among its members and additionally family participation is encouraged in numerous activities) and this is a very important selling point in many communities. Since 1995 local affiliated clubs who wish to emphasize this openness can opt to call themselves "Y's Men and Women's Clubs" or "Y Service Clubs". Members are known as Y's Men or Y's Women.
... and today we have over 1,400 clubs with 27,000 members in 66 countries on all continents.
Our Vision to 2001

Y's Men International will be recognised globally as a service organisation promoting cultural awareness leading to brotherhood and world peace.
... or, paraphrased for a local club:
The Y's Men's Club of ............. will be recognized in ............ as a Service Club promoting cultural awareness leading to brotherhood and world peace.
Our Mission Statement
As Y's Men International is a worldwide fellowship of persons of all faiths working constructively together, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, in partnership with and supporting the YMCA, its mission is to strive through active service to develop, encourage and provide leadership to build a better world for all humankind.
Our Emblem

The Y's Men emblem consists first of a red triangle, the symbol long employed by the YMCA to denote its three-fold programme of spirit, mind and body building.
In the upper border of the triangle appears the word INTERNATIONAL, indicative of the scope of our purposes. Within the triangle a golden star sheds rays of light on the name, "Y'S MEN'S CLUB".
This star symbolises the Star of Bethlehem. Just as that star served as a guide to the Wise Men of the East, so shall this golden star, which also represents the ideals of our club, serve as a constant guide to the Y's Men of today and lead them to a true realisation of the nobility of unselfish service.
The YMCA Emblem
Y's Men Club Activities and Programmes
About 90% of local club support stays in the local community - either through support to the local YMCA or through direct community support (most often a combination of the two). Annually, such support is estimated at close to US$ 5 million - plus numerous hours of volunteer service work.
But local clubs also support international programmes, such as:
Alexander Scholarship Fund to support training of YMCA Staff persons. Named in honor of our founder, Judge Paul William Alexander. Every year, local clubs support training of YMCA Secretaries with about US$ 150,000. About US$ 15,000 (10% of the "local" support) is sent to the International headquarters (Geneva) and is used to support leadership training programmes mainly in Africa, Latin America and India, but in recent years also in Eastern/Central Europe.
Brotherhood Fund to allow travel of members to visit members in other countries. Every year, about US$ 200,000 is contributed through the sale of used stamps (about 15%) and from cash contributions (about 85%). This programme helps to increase understanding of different cultures - both for those travelling ("BF Delegates") and for those hosting them. International Brother Clubs to enhance international understanding. Links between Y's Men's Clubs in different countries through the exchange of letters, bulletins, photos, cassettes, videos, etc - and visits whenever possible.
Time of Fast. Money is raised through Y's Men "skipping" a meal or two and paying what the meal would have cost into the "TOF" programme. The funds thus contributed are used to support YMCA projects all over the world. The programme started about 20 years ago and shows a dramatic increase in contributions - and hence support to YMCAs.
Year Type of projects supported Average support
per year
1973-82 Various relief and development projects US$ 40,000
1982-85 World coordination of leadership development programme US$ 67,000
1985-91 Underprivileged children US$ 88,000
1991-99 Community development and family involvement US$ 197,000
Youth Involvement and Activities

Young people have been the focus of not just the YMCA but also Y's Men International. Below are the main programmes targeted at the youth.

* YEEP - Youth Educational Exchange Programme. Children (and grandchildren) of Y's Men - 16 to 18 years of age - can stay one year with a Y's Man family in another country and attend school.

* STEP - Short Term Exchange Programme. Youth 14 to 25 years of age can have a shorter stay of 2 - 11 weeks - without attending school.

* Youth World - Y's Men's Youth Newsletter on paper - and on line!
Click here to see the International Youth Report from Helsinki, Finland
Y's Menettes are not small men!

* Traditionally, a wife of a Y's Man was called a Y's Menette and they sometimes formed an auxiliary to the local Y's Men's Club. Today, Y's Menettes are women who have chosen to join a Y's Menettes' Club - and a Y's Menettes' Club today is no longer an auxiliary to a Y's Men's Club but has its own programme to support the local Y's Men's Club, YMCA and the community.

* Y's Menettes also support their own international projects. For 1996-98 these were:

AFRICA Gambia, Women's Development US$ 21,000
INDIA Women's Empowerment US$ 5,000
LAT AMERICA/CAR Costa Rica, Gender Development US$ 10,000
* ..... and for 1998-2000 Y's Menettes are supporting these two projects:

AFRICA Senegal, Adolescent Reproductive Health US$ 15,000
EUROPE Bulgaria, Gabrovo YMCA Community Development Centre US$ 10,400
"This is Your Opportunity"

Where are there Y's Men's Clubs and how can I become a Member?
Y's Men work is going on in 66 countries around the world (click here to see the summary of Affiliated Clubs). To become a member, contact your local or nearest Y's Men Club (click here to see "Other Y's Men's Websites"), or write to the International Headquarters in Geneva for the address of your nearest local club. If there is no Y's Men's Club in your area and you would like to start one, contact the International Headquarters again for an information kit on "How to Start a Y's Men's Club".
Come with us.....

We're the Y's Men, a group of men and women dedicated to serving the community and we have fun doing it. We can promise you the personal pleasure of fellowship and shared ideals plus the satisfaction you get from helping make your community a better place to live in.
The Y's Men's Club in your area is part of a worldwide organisation that works with YMCAs for community betterment in over 66 countries on all continents, offering international opportunities for contacts and projects.
We're a mixed group that thrives on the variety of qualities that each one of us contributes to the whole.
We are male and female of all ages, races, religions and socio-economic levels. But in common, as Y's Men, we enjoy our shared service and accomplishments.
And while we render all these services to others, we have fun and enjoy fellowship. And being active in a Y's Men's Club provides many opportunities for personal development. Through taking on responsibilities at Club, District, Region and higher levels, we develop various skills which are beneficial to us - also outside club life.

Our Motto....."To acknowledge the duty that accompanies every right"
Return to top of page

Click on the picture to read more about Y's Men

© Y's Men International Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland.
Last updated: 21 July, 2000

What It Means to be a Y's Man
"The dedication of the Ys Men and Women is just unreal. They are the backbone of our programs in terms of volunteers. They don’t turn down anything you ask them to do. They are a group that makes things happen."
- Charles Johnson, General Director Rowan County YMCA
The Y's Men's Clubs are community service clubs for both men and women. Their work centres on the YMCA but then what kind of work is it?
It is many things……

* It is volunteering at the front desk taking kids to asthma camps to patching leaks of all kinds.
* It is helping kids who can’t afford to go to camp. It is helping buy a new van for the local YMCA, a wheel chair for a needy person or building swimming pools to help make the 'YMCA' a fun place to be.
* It's getting cots for child care, cabinets for the offices, giving your small coats to more needy kids to getting cans and cans of paint and helping paint an old building.
* It is making the time to help marking the football field. It is scholarships for the young people who plan to pursue a YMCA career.
* It is volunteers who serve on YMCA boards and committees, who work as coaches, referees, and umpires, who rebuild cabin roofs, remodel rooms and who paint, clean and fix-up.
* It's eye clinics in India, teachers in Thailand, an educational centre in Papua New Guinea, and outreach to kids in Kenya. It's antique shows and auctions, book sales and breakfasts, Christmas tree sales and carnivals, dinners and dances, Easter breakfasts and everything in between to raise funds and lend support to the YMCAs and their immediate community.

All Y's Men clubs, across the globe, are partners with the YMCAs in their cities and towns. They serve the community together. This is what it means to be a Y's Man or Woman.
1. Service
Whether it's painting day care rooms, building storage cabinets, installing new floors, building swimming pool lane line-floats, or re-roofing cabins, the Y's Men and Women put in thousands of hours of labour at YMCAs. Some clubs sponsor monthly cleanups.
The members take on volunteer responsibilities as varied as serving on the board of directors to answering calls at the front desk. They bring their expertise and business and social skills to the "Y" (YMCA). That could mean easing the way for a
company-financed grant for youth work or providing the engineering know-how to repair a camp lodge or building. 2. Leadership
Many volunteers first begin to know the full extent of the YMCA through Y's Men. By working with the club at their own YMCA, they learn about our mission - helping children and families grow strong in communities around the world. Club leaders develop skills that make them prime candidates for committees and boards. Many go on to serve at regional, national, and international levels. They also play vital roles in membership campaigns and fundraising for both annual operating support and capital improvements.
3. International
Each club belongs to the International Association of Y's Men’s Clubs, based at the headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Over half the countries with YMCAs have Y's Men and Women service clubs. Nearly 28,000 Y's Men and Women are at work in 66 countries around the world.
Internationally, the Y's Men and Women support the Youth Educational Exchange Programme. It connects young people from clubs around the world with families in other countries for a year's stay abroad. The clubs also support the Brotherhood Fund, which provides funds for club members from one country to travel to meet clubs in another; Brother Clubs, which are partnerships formed between clubs in different countries; and the Time of Fast, the once-a-year fundraiser that is based on skipping a meal and paying the cost of that meal in one's country to help others internationally. Time of Fast has contributed more than $ 2 million to YMCA projects around the world. Its programs have included outreach to Tamil refugees in Sri Lanka, famine relief in Ethiopia, kindergarten classes in Burma, urban development in Uruguay, sewing classes in Bangladesh, and rural development in Papua New Guinea.
4. Fundraising
Y's Men & Women are volunteer fundraisers for the YMCA. Fundraising activities are as varied as all the different countries in which you will find Y's Men and Women; These include used book sales, cookouts, art auctions, food booths/stands, recycling, tournaments, dances, contests, flea markets, sports days, lotteries raffles, etc.
These funds help pay for youth programs, kids at camp, outreach programs, international work, training and scholarships for Y staff members, new additions and buildings and special equipment.
5. Community
As Y's Men and Women, we are a group that can be the eyes and ears of the Y and help it meet its greater needs of the community. We act as representatives for the Y in the community and any club that's out there in the community working positively for the YMCA is an asset.
A person-to-person approach is often the best public relations tool you can have. The Y's Men and Women give that personal touch by becoming the YMCA's ambassadors to their friends, business associates and neighbours. 6. Fellowship
Clubs usually meet twice a month, combining business and fellowship over a meal. The meetings often feature a speaker. Clubs also sponsor social events for the members. In communities across the world, the Y's Men and Women, united by the will to serve the community through the YMCA, work, grow as individuals and have fun together. And during Area and International conventions, life-long friendships are often formed, spanning the entire globe and are a source of great friendship and fellowship.
Y's Men in a Nutshell
Our Purpose
"The International Association of Ys Men’s Clubs is a worldwide fellowship of persons of all faiths working together in mutual respect and affection, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and with a common loyalty to the Young Men’s Christian Association, striving through active service to develop, encourage and provide leadership to build a better world for all mankind. "
This is an organisation which works, thinks and plays in an atmosphere of SERVICE IN ACTION.
Service which the Y's Men's Club gives arises from six objectives-.

* To function primarily as service clubs for the YMCA.
* To support other worthy organisations.

* To encourage justice in civic and international affairs, abstaining always from party politics.

* To keep members informed on and actively involved in religions, civic, economic, social and international matters. * To cultivate good fellowship.
* To support International, Area and Regional projects of the Association.
.©1999 Y's Men International Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland
Last updated: Friday, 11 March 1999