INTERNATIONAL CAMP COUNSELOR PROGRAM, Brazil
The YMCA OF GREATER OKLAHOMA CITY has hosted 10-14 International Camp Counselors each summer since 1994. These outstanding young men and women, who are usually students, commit to a year-long training program conducted by the Y in Brazil, then come and spend their summer working as counselors in our day and resident camping programs. This program has added a unique international experience for campers. We have also hosted several Youth Exchange Groups, who spend three weeks during the summer visiting our Ys, enjoying YMCA CAMP CLASSEN and visiting several Oklahoma attractions. In addition, we have hosted interns through the Multi-International Leadership Program, who spend their time learning various aspects of our Y that would develop their leadership skills and benefit their Y at home.
MEXICAN FEDERATION OF YS
This relationship started in 1994 when our YMCA conducted a penny drive to support the YMCA of Juarez, Mexico. In 1996, a group of Y directors from Oklahoma City visited Juarez to physically help restore a home for transient youth. The YMCA OF GREATER OKLAHOMA CITY has since joined the Border Initiative Coalition to help provide funding for these homes in Juarez and Piedras Negras, Mexico.
YMCA OF VALPARAISO, Chile
Volunteers and staff from the YMCA OF GREATER OKLAHOMA CITY made a trip to Valparaiso, Chile, in 1997, who already had a program in place. The result of that visit verified the mutual interest in developing a partnership between the two cities and an agreement was signed with the intent to improve communication between the two Ys, conduct staff and volunteer exchange activities and identify ways to support program and project development. Since that time, several other Ys have joined the partnership and have become the funding source for the George Williams School, which is run by the Y in a village near Valparaiso and is the only source of education for local children.
YMCA OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
The YMCA OF GREATER OKLAHOMA CITY began this partnership in 2005 when a member of our International Committee learned of the need for recreational and sports equipment for the Czech summer camp program. The Y had been given a conference center in Alberice located in the eastern Krkonose Mountains. They were offering summer camp and parent/child camping programs and are now offering family camps and conducting marriage seminars. Now almost one quarter of all their events take place at this location. However, there are still needs for further repairs and improvements to the building and grounds. Since that time, we have also helped fund the Tensing music program of the Prague YMCA and, in 2009, a staff member from the YMCA OF GREATER OKLAHOMA CITY traveled to the Czech Republic to conduct Adventure Guide training for their staff.
GENERAL CONVENTION OF SIOUX YMCAS
Native American Ys were first started in 1879. Today the Sioux Y is one of the two Ys remaining on reservations. The YMCA OF GREATER OKLAHOMA CITY first started supporting the Sioux Y financially in 1994. Since then, we have collected various sports equipment and program supplies to be used in their summer day camps and at their Camp Leslie Marrowbone. A group from the YMCA OF GREATER OKLAHOMA CITY has traveled to South Dakota three times in the past four years to help with construction projects. We're also providing two international camp counselors from Brazil to work in their camp program. Bill Townsend, International Committee member, has served on their Board of Trustees since the early 1990s, and educates our committee of their needs.
JERUSALEM INTERNATIONAL YMCA
The seeds for the Jerusalem International YMCA were sown in the 1920s as the brainchild of Dr. Archibald Harte. Harte worked tirelessly for his vision of an international YMCA branch in Jerusalem that would serve as a bridge between faiths and cultures in the increasingly divided city. The YMCA had been present in Jerusalem old city since 1878, then, less than a decade after Harte’s dream was born, the ‘new’ international YMCA building was dedicated in 1933 by Lord Edmund Allenby. Harte’s vision was captured in three inscriptions revealed at the dedication: “The Lord our God the Lord is One” in Hebrew, “I am the Way” in Aramaic and “There is no God but God” in Arabic. Indeed, the YMCA celebrates what unites us rather than what divides us.