The Promise and Power of Young People

The Promise and Power of Young People

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Young people can accomplish anything.

We know this to be true in the Y. In fact, it was the basis for our founding. George Williams, at 22 years old, created a youth development organization 174 years ago. The Y has nurtured and witnessed the promise and power of young people every day since.

Like many, I have spent time reflecting on the meaning of the school walkouts that happened this past week and the March for Our Lives, which will take place tomorrow. I keep coming back to one idea: youth development.

We are watching youth development in action, with young people finding their voices, activating their beliefs and joining -- even driving -- the democratic process. More than leaders, they have become changemakers, spurring legislation and organizing a nationwide march that now has become worldwide -- all in just six weeks. Setting politics aside, I believe initiative and passion like this from young people should be celebrated.

I recently came across a quote from Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children’s activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, that I think is particularly relevant to our times. He said: "The power of youth is the common wealth for the entire world. The faces of young people are the faces of our past, our present and our future. No segment in society can match with the power, idealism, enthusiasm and courage of young people."

The future of our communities, our country and our world rests in the hands of young people. I am convinced we are in good hands.


Kevin Washington
President and CEO
YMCA of the USA

Friday, March 23, 2018