Several key leaders from YMCAs that are part of the US Mission Network were present at the recent EXPO-DITION 2015 at the Disneyland Hotel sponsored by YUSA. The them of the week was, “TRANSFORM WITH US – The Journey from Transaction to Transformation”. It was encouraging to see the excitement and passion of the 1100+ Y leaders who had gathered from all over the country, many of whom share our desire to see the “C” lifted up in their YMCAs. It was evident, even from some of the statements made from the platform, that the element of faith is still very important to many in the YMCA.
Keynote presentations were given by new YUSA President Kevin Washington, Sarah L. Sladek, Founder and CEO of XYZ University, Jorge Perez – Vice President of Youth Development, Family Enrichment and Social Responsibility, Kent Johnson –Senior VP of Administration & Operations for YUSA, Andrea Lee & Malik Moore – technical advisors for Social Responsibility, and Eric Boles – former NFL player and President of The Game Changers. In addition, a series of 6 breakout “Circle Talks” and a number of hands-on activities were included in the schedule over the 3 days of the conference.
It was especially encouraging to see scripture used in most of the devotional thoughts, and things of Christ lifted up in a few of the specific “Circle talks”. One group of attendees went on a field trip to the Foothills YMCA just north of LA on Friday. There they heard the story of how CEO Tyler Wright and his team are trying to return their association back to the Y’s original purpose of “saving lives” — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Another group headed to the Orange Family YMCA, another big “C” YMCA, to work on a “Togetherhood” project, putting their hands, feet and muscles to help the local volunteers transform a rundown facility into a usable space to provide badly needed childcare services in their local community.
The conference was well run and jammed-packed with opportunities to make meaningful connections. If we, as Christians, are to have an impact on the larger YMCA movement, we will need to get involved and stay involved in such events. Jesus said, if you light a candle you need to put it on a candlestick to share the light. Check out the highlights on
the wrap up video and be encouraged about what is happening in the YMCA and the role we all might be able to play to help keep this great organization founded upon the One who came to serve us all.