UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD AROUND US
YMCA Europe Festival
A group of nine, young, talented and determined staff members from the YMCA of San Diego County have been nominated and selected to attend the YMCA Europe Festival, August 4 – 11, 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic. This YMCA of San Diego County delegation will celebrate culture and diversity and develop leadership skills with more than 10,000 other YMCA members, volunteers, kids and staff from across the world.
The YMCA Europe Festival is the Y’s largest international event. It is held every four years and offers an opportunity for personal, professional and leadership development for all those in attendance.
“Through this experience, I know I will grow as a global leader personally and professionally,” said Emily Figueiredo, Director of Financial Development & Events, Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA. “I’ll learn what the Y looks like in other cultures and help to energize others to become involved with the international Y Movement.”
To make this trip a reality, the delegation has committed to raising nearly $10,000 as a group for their travel expenses and registration. With your help, this experience will assist in developing culturally competent, global leaders here in San Diego. To help send the delegation to the event, please make your donation here.
Your assistance will help better serve our communities as the Y is focused on understanding how to better understand the world around us.
This trip marks the beginning of the YMCA of San Diego County’s International Exchange Program. Designed to provide participants opportunities to develop their cultural competencies, the program develops critical leadership skills as well as a deeper commitment to the YMCA movement through international travel.
To follow our staff's journey to Prague, please check out their journal. To learn more about our International Exchange Program please contact Cristina Ballesteros, Association Director of Diversity, Inclusion & Recruitment at 858-292-9622 or [email protected].
Meet Our Travelers
Membership and Customer Service Director
East County Family YMCA, Cameron Family YMCA location
"As the daughter of parents who were born in Cuba and lived in Spain, Puerto Rico, and finally the United States, I know that travel changes people. This trip will undoubtedly change me and the way I see the world. It will help me to think BIG. I am so excited to learn more about the international community of Y’s and to bring a global perspective back to my branch - especially as we begin tackling diversity initiatives."
Mission Valley YMCA, Toby Wells YMCA location
"I am hoping to network with worldwide YMCA professionals, and also experience the culture of a new country. I would very much like to learn all about the Y and its influences on the world on a much more broad scope. I am very excited to experience the festival, and the leadership geared learning for the trip."
ASES Program Director
Mission Valley YMCA
"From this experience I hope to gain a better insight of how impactful the YMCA is globally and to develop ideas of how I can bring the international Y movement to San Diego. So often we live in the microcosm of our own reality, unaware of what is going on in the world around us. I want to adopt a global mindset and help bring communities from around the world closer together."
Financial Development & Events Director
Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA
"As a YMCA professional of Czech heritage with a degree in Global Studies from UCSB, I’m very excited for this trip and opportunity! Attending the Y Youth Festival in Prague will be amazing because I will be able to meet people within the YMCA organization that are accomplishing very unique things within their communities, serving their constituents in special ways, navigating different cultures of philanthropy and spreading the Y’s mission of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. I’ll learn what the Y looks like in other cultures and develop as a global leader for our efforts here in San Diego. Experiencing other cultures within the scope of the Y demonstrates that the Y is truly “for everybody” and that is something I’m very passionate about and love about our organization!"
Director of Administration
La Jolla YMCA
"I am most looking forward to networking with employees and volunteers of all ages from YMCAs across the globe. I find it unique and enriching to be able to be immersed into a cultural expanse that will help me shape the lives of the community I serve on a daily basis. I look forward to coming back to my Y, sharing my experiences and developing a service-learning program to help develop future global leaders from the San Diego area who will be able to share the message of the YMCA as a local charitable organization with global impact."
Membership and Customer Service Director
East County Family YMCA, McGrath Family YMCA location
Fitness & Firehouse Director
La Jolla YMCA
"I hope that the International Exchange program gives me the opportunity to experience YMCA programs and staff from all around the world. I look forward to meeting and talking with different individuals who serve their communities every day, just like I do. I want this program to help to strengthen my global awareness and understanding of other cultures. I know that my experience in Europe will help to create a successful exchange program here in San Diego County!"