Members of the US YMCA delegation being honored.
The Liberia YMCA has honored four staff for long and dedicated service to the institution. The program was held over the weekend during and appreciation and fund-raising dinner at the National Headquarters of the Liberia YMCA on Broad Street in Monrovia.
During the program three members of the US International Group of YMCAs who were in the country were also honored for their support towards the capacity of the Liberia YMCA.
Staff who were honored during the program were: Mrs. Vida Bracewell, outgoing Finance Manager, Mrs Elizabeth Varney, Former Executive Director of the Yekepa YMCA, Mr. Emmanuel S. King, Sr, Former Senior Accountant and the late John Arku who served the Liberia YMCA in several capacities ranging from Executive Director of the Yekepa YMCA to Development Secretary to Administrator and Consultant before passing away in November 2018.
Members of the International Group of US YMCAs who were appreciated are: Tom Valentine of the Chicago YMCA, Curt Hazelbaker of the Dallas YMCA and La Veda Howell of the Indianapolis YMCA.
Speaking during the honoring program, the Chairman of the National Board of the Liberia YMCA, Honorable Lester M. Paye said the program was special, given the honor and recognition of the staff and US YMCA delegation.
“We are here to recognize staff who have worked between 10-40 years and also recognize our friend from the US YMCA who have helped in strengthening our YMCA over the years.” Honorable Paye said.
The National General Secretary in explaining the sustainability goal of the YMCA said following his ascendancy to the post as National General Secretary, stakeholders were called together and asked five key questions in order to drive the YMCA forward. Those questions are: Who and Where is the YMCA? Where does the YMCA want to go and how does it get there and how do we know the YMCA has arrived?
Mr. Kamaboakai said after a year of consultation and brainstorming the answers they came up with were found with the YMCA recognizing its true identity as a youth organization, dedicated to youth empowerment, empowering young people with skills and knowledge to be change agents in their communities for the African Renaissance.
“The YMCA is a membership organization as membership forms the bedrock of the YMCA.” Mr. Kamaboakai said. He noted that the YMCA has a very strong program impact in the communities in which it serves, implementing high profile grants from high profile donors.
“Given the fact that the YMCA implements high profile programs with grants from high profile donors, there is a gap, as the YMCA is not a sustainable organization.” The YMCA CEO said. He said the YMCA survives on grants as donor grants constitute nearly 90% of the institutions budget.
On the direction of the YMCA, Mr. Kamaboakai said the YMCA wants to be a sustainable organization with diverse income flow that will be resilient whether there is a donor draw down, an epidemic or anything that affects the natural movement of the organization, so as to have resources at its disposal to implement what it wants to do.
On the goals for a sustainable YMCA, Mr. Kamaboakai said that the YMCA has identified three key legs to address the challenges of sustainability. He named social enterprise, which are of three forms, integrate, imbeded and optional approaches.
On the direction of the YMCA, he said given what the YMCA has to its advantage, the YMCA Community School System, YMCA Information Technology System which has been extended to five new centers and Agriculture. On Asset development, the YMCA CEO said YMCA Assets around the country need to be developed and upgraded and areas with land need to be developed and earn income so as to support YMCA programs.
On fund raising and capital campaign he said the YMCA now has a fund raising and marketing manager who is working on fund raising for the YMCA.
“Based on what we have done so far, we can safely say our forward drive is solid and in the coming years we are going to start laying up the steps on these three legs.” He said.
He also noted that in 2031, the YMCA should be a strong and resilient YMCA, that is self-sustaining and producing quality and relevant social programs, a goal he said has been set as ‘Vision 2031’.
One of the honorees Mrs Elizabeth Varney who spoke to the gathering via mobile phone said she has passion and commitment to the YMCA and during her years of service her commitment has always been to the young people.
A member of the US delegation, Mr. Tom Valentine speaking at the program said he sees the passion, query and excitement of the young people in Liberia and the change the YMCA has created in these young people. He noted that all of the good things in Liberia today with the young people are connected with the YMCA.
“We all want to build a team today that will contribute to the success of the young people of Liberia.” Mr Valentine said. He thanked the YMCA for the appreciation.
The Swedish Ambassador accredited near Monrovia Ambassador Ingrid Wetterqvist expressed appreciation to the YMCA for inviting her. She noted that her country has a very strong policy of inclusiveness for women and and noted that Liberia women are strong, citing the difference they made during the civil war. She also said Liberian women need the support of the Liberian men.
She described the presentation by the YMCA CEO on the future of the institution as ‘very SMART’. Ambassador Ingrid Wetterqvist said the YMCA has done its homework on the way forward for the institution.
The program was attended by the Chairman and members of the National Board of the YMCA, the former National General Secretary of the Liberia YMCA, Mr. Peter Kamei representative from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. And Mrs Charles Ananaba, staff of the YMCA as well families and friend of the honorees.
Story: Emmanuel S. King, Jr