Liberia YMCA Concludes General Assembly -Elects New National Board.
The 46th General Assembly of the Liberia YMCA has ended 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 was the Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Liberia, The Most Reverend Jonathan B. B. Hart.
Bishop Hart hailed the work of the YMCA in Liberia reminiscing on the formation of the YMCA in England and 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 in 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 in order to participate in intellectual discourses, Mock UN Assembly, compete in debates 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 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 delegates and invited guests to the assembly. In his report to the assembly, Mr. Gboe said 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 operated in the framework of a strategic plan spanning across a four-year period 2017-2017. 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 being 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 Liberia YMCA, E. Timotheus Kamaboakai.
Mr. Kamaboakai said the plan is built on six pillars which are Effective Organizational Governance, Delivering Socially Relevant program and Services, Investment in Infrastructure and Innovative and sustainable Programs, Investment in Human Resource Capacity, Membership & Branch Development and the the Strengthening of the YMCA Community School System. Following the presentation of the Interim Strategic Plan, the assembly elected a new National Board following which, the new National Board and local board were installed by the veteran Liberian Diplomat, Ambassador Charles Minor.
In his installation message to the new board, Ambassador Minor said leaders like him and others who have benefited from the YMCA need to do everything possible to keep the YMCA alive to produce quality individuals. “The responsibilities rest therefore in the hands of all of us, but squarely in the hand of leadership strategic planning and actions of the strategic board.”
Ambassador Minor challenged the new board to ensure that the YMCA revised and reinvigorates its membership drive citing this this should not be an impediment as in his words “there is now no gender bias in the YMCA.”
Additionally, the former Liberian Diplomat called for the reinvigoration or strengthening of voluntary services in the YMCA , citing volunteering of time through a respectable member of an organization or family adding, “voluntarism is a very unique way of getting to help people and feel good about the time God has given you on earth, to do something for somebody less fortunate.” He concluded.
Speaking on behalf of the new National Board, Hon. Lester Paye said the time has now come for the YMCA board to engage in more work and under his leadership this will be their focus.
“This is not a rubber stamp board, and in order to be effective this board will make as its first priority a board training for effective governance.” he said. He thanked all for the work during the years in the YMCA also hailing the good work of Ambassador Minor in many sectors of the Liberia society.
Those elected and installed were Hon. 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 lacal YMCA boards were also installed incuding Judge James Jones of the Monrovia YMCA among others.
The National General Assembly of the Liberia YMCA is held once every four years, and convenes to review and amend policies, by-laws and constitution of the Liberia YMCA, as well as elect a new corp of officers for a four- year term.
In similar development, the National Youth Council of the Liberia YMCA also elected a new Youth Council for a 4 year term. The council is headed by Newon Suah. The National Youth Council is the decision- making structure of the YMCA that grooms young leaders for leadership and service to their communities.
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