YMCA Youth Unify Leadership Camp

Ukraine, 21st – 27th August 2016

UNIFY is a platform for European YMCAs to share and explore about the Christian Mission of the YMCA.

Unify has gathered together young leaders from across Europe for a leadership camp in Verhovyna, Ukraine.

At the moment amazing young people from all over Europe (and one American) who want to put #Jesus first in their ##YMCAs are attending #youthUnify16 in #Ukraine. We're having a wonderful time here, with lots of inspiring ukrainian culture, sharing of different #leadership experiences and worshiptime. Our hosts do a brilliant job here and enable us to spend an unforgettable experience this week.

Y. from Switzerland

In my opinion YouthUnify 2016 was an amazing and fruitful experience. Especially some conversations were really important for me. I was built by a few testimonies and happy to listen to people saying about their life of faith. I was made sure that there are YMCA’s people for whom being believer is a crucial thing & that they truly want to return YMCA to Christian roots. Also it was wonderful relax time – hiking, breathing mountain’s air and watching at beautiful forests was great part of vacation. Thanks a lot to YMCA Ukraine for choosing this gorgeous place!

A. from Poland

What I took most from Unify 2016 is the true power of togetherness. Geographically we are distant, culturally we are diverse, but we are unified in our love for Christ. Furthermore, our desire to see that love spread at global capacity through our work at our perspective YMCAS. This year we focused on leadership and cultural competencies that will help drive our cause. Through collaboration in small groups, we were able to unpack challenges and underdeveloped areas of leadership within ourselves, and formulate strategies to improve and break barriers. We gained a great deal of cultural awareness through emergence in many aspects; local churches, business, people, food, traditional dancing, and the list goes on! We also celebrated Independence Day of Ukraine with a local YMCA group. In addition to this, we had our fair share of recreational fun! I went zip-lining and river rafting (which were both a first for me.) The day to day camaraderie with fellow participants also contributes to the great experience. I have made what will undoubtedly be lifelong friends through Unify; whose valuable contribution to my personal, spiritual, and work life has led to much inspiration and growth! When I hit the lifeguard stand in 2013 at my local YMCA, never did I think three years later I would be sitting on a mountaintop in Ukraine, strategizing how to change the world! Glory be to god for it all!

A. from USA

The days spent at the Youth Unify conference were the most unforgettable and inspirational days I’ve experienced. From the first moment I met with the participants, I felt like I had known them forever; it was like a big family. The conference was very well organized; I really enjoyed the discussions about religion and about other YMCAs' connection with churches.

One of my favourite parts were the talks in the small groups. Our group had an amazing leader, Adam Moris, who led us in wonderful conversations. Another favourite part of the conference was spending time in wonderful nature, where I felt so close to God.The atmosphere was easy going. It was so inspirational to feel that all of us were unified around one idea: we were all worshiping Jesus and we all had His light in our hearts. I received priceless knowledge about leadership, which I will use in my YMCA, in Armenia.

We said at the Unify conference in Switzerland that the conference was like a charger. We were being charged with the Holy Spirit, and it would motivate and inspire us till the next Unify. Now I can say that I am lucky as I have received an extra charged. I want to express my gratitude to the organizers, to the Ukrainians, and to those who gave me to opportunity to receive this extra charge.

One thing is obvious about the Youth Unify: words are not enough to express everything I experienced. One just has to feel it.

A. from Armenia

How do I begin to describe such an amazing phenomenon such as Unify? I don't think words can do it justice. As a leader, this collective of brilliant people have been a part of my life for the past two years and with each passing year, it has been more of an honour and a privilege to share my faith with each and every person. I've said it once and I'll say it again: God is at the centre of what we do, but to grow alongside everyone at Unify as well is something special. Ukraine this year has been mind-blowing for these same reasons. It is wonderful to see familiar faces, but to meet new people and get to know them just as well is an extra bonus. Even now, I can't help but smile whenever I think back on that exhausting, eventful and life-affirming week in the mountains. As for best bits, I'm genuinely struggling to pick one. I loved having the opportunity to work in small groups this year - especially since Denys, Ani, Roza, Kayla and Timon are just incredible people - and the hiking is also something I'll remember with fondness. And whenever colleagues at work ask me about Ukraine, I always think back to the generous and inspiring people I was able to meet, and hope to meet again in the future.

A. from England


What was the YMCA Youth Unify Leadership Camp 2016?

Ukraine, 21st – 27th August 2016

UNIFY is a platform for European YMCAs to share and explore about the Christian Mission of the YMCA.

Unify is gathering together young leaders from across Europe for a leadership camp in Verhovyna, Ukraine.


·       Continue dialogue and initiate practice that enables the development of Christian mission in local YMCA contexts

·       Grow as disciples of Christ

Delegate criteria

·       Some responsibility at a local YMCA level

·       Some leadership experience

·       A desire to see Christian mission developed through the YMCA

·       An understanding of, and commitment to the Christian faith

·       Aimed at young people aged 18-30.


The programme is still being planned.  There will be plentiful opportunities for:

· Teaching on leadership and mission

· Worship together that expresses the different Christian traditions

· Small Group discussions

· Visit to a local YMCA

· Recreation activities both on and offsite, including opportunities for hiking and river swimming


The location of the camp is pleasant but remote.  You will need to choose whether you wish to camp or stay in a shared room.  Bedding is provided in the shared rooms. Bedding is not provided in the tents.

Planning Group

The planning group is made up of representatives from Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Iceland and England.