SPITAK YMCA.

Our partner organisation.

Spitak YMCA's broad range of offers.
The agricultural pilot project.
Spitak YMCA offers a place to stay.
Become a member of Spitak YMCA.

The city of Spitak

Spitak is situated within Lori province in the north of Armenia, in the middle of the Gyjumri--Vanadzor axis. On 7 December 1988, Spitak experienced a magnitude 6.8 earthquake, which killed 25 000 people. The threat of earthquakes was constant, as Spitak was situated at the faultline between two tectonic plates. The destroyed city was then abandoned and rebuilt not far away. In 2009, around 19 000 people still lived in the city. The Spitak cemetery and its Iron Church became a place of memory for the many thousand lives claimed in the earthquake.

What is the YMCA?

The Young Men's and Women's Christian Associations (YMCA / YWCA) were founded in London on 6 June 1844. Today, there are YMCA groups in 130 countries aound the world -- as an organisation aiming to meet society's local needs. The YMCA and YWCA unite millions of members of many different ethnicities, genders, faiths and origins. The YMCA's official sign is an equilateral triangle with the tip pointed downwards.

The Armenian YMCA was founded in 1992. today, there are five local YMCA groups in Armenian cities. The Armenian YMCA groups have been internationally represented by the YMCA Armenian National Union since 1999.

The YMCA movement is a non-governmental organisation, which seeks to live out Christian values in the secular world. The YMCA aims to serve communities of all types, and is open to everyone.

Spitak YMCA

The Spitak YMCA unites young people to serve communities and actively live out Christan values.

The Spitak YMCA is an organisation with institutions and ongoing projects which have a fixed position within Spitak's public life.

The Spitak YMCA began offering its activities in 1994. Since 2001, they have worked together with the YMCA/YWCA Zurich. This cooperation became a long-term partnership, with the Spitak YMCA receiving financial support from Zurich, but also working together in order to develop human ressources and new activities in Spitak. Many friendships and mutual visits between Spitak and Zurich have also resulted from this partnership.

Thanks to the YMCA/YWCA Zurich's support, and that of other Swiss sponsors, the Spitak YMCA was able to begin construction of the "Home for Future", its new community centre, in 2008. This new centre has made it possible for the Spitak YMCA to expand its range of activities and serve even more people.

The Spitak YMCA's goals

  • To contribute to peaceful spiritual, mental and physical growth of adolescents. To hold events and activities which promote their individual skills and talents, contribute to thei relationship with the environment, and offer a meaningful way to spend free time.
  • To further develop the YMCA movement in and around Spitak. To promote active collaboration between members of society in order to solve societal problems, and to strengthen community
  • To help facilitate meetings of adolescents which are based on collective interests, desires and problems. To hold events and activities which allow adolescents to be creative and spiritual, to lead heathy lives and spend their free time in meaningful ways. To teach adolescents new interpersonal and public communication skills
  • To help adolescents learn professinal skills
  • To support families, to offer programs which contribute to education, healthcare and a social lifestyle, as well as offering families rest and leisure activities.
  • To play an actie role in public life and to support a democratic development of society

Activities at Spitak YMCA

The Spitak YMCA serves society's needs with a broad range of offers and programs.

The Spitak YMCA places great value on offering children and young adults a safe place to develop their personalities during meaningful leisure activities. Skills and knowledge they gain during YMCA activities can increase their chances of finding a job. This will have positive impacts on the next generation. The Spitak YMCA also seeks to reanimate Christian values which were lost during the soviet period.  The Spitak YMCA counts on the help of various partners in order to offer its activities.

YMCA Scouts

The foundational principle of scouting is living in nature, with nature and for nature. Scouts meet up once a week to go hiking and learn about nature and hoe to protect and care for it.

Children is scouts learn how to light a fire and cook meals over it. They learn about First Aid and orienteering with the help of a compass, or the sun or stars. They also practice deciphering morse code, reading maps, building bridges and making tables and chairs from wood. On hikes, children play interesting games which help them to develop mental and physical skills. Each scout meetup features a story from the Bible as an overarching topic. Scouts learn the value of accountability, honesty, kindness and respect towards others and nature. The Spitak YMCA also plans annual summer camps for scouts. Today, around 40 children take part in souts at the Spitak YMCA.

English language courses

The aim of these language courses for school-aged children is to improve their performance at school. The English Club offers adolescents the opportunity to learn to communicate in this language. Quality tutoring is provided by native English speakers in the club. A library of English works of literature is open to everyone year-round, containing classical literature, novels and grammar books.  Around 25 children per month visit the Spitak YMCA's English language courses.

Puppet theatre

This pogram is offered for two age groups: children aged 10 - 12 and older children. Participants meet three times a week. During this time, they learn how to craft puppets and decorations and how to use them, as well as rehearsing for performances.

Dance classes

Dance classes are one of the Spitak YMCA's newest offers and are already enthusiastically attended by children. Classical dance is mixed with elements of gymnastics and Armenian folk dance. Lessons take place three times a week in two age groups, five to twelve and 13 to 17-year-olds. One lessons is 90 minutes long. If enough people are interested, the Spitak YMCA may also begin offering dance classes for adults.

Ten Sing

Ten Sing is a choir project for teenagers offered by YMCA's in various countries. Participants organise musicals where they sing in choirs, dance and perform drama. Teenagers learn to ask and answer the question, "who am I?". Ten Sing aims to connect young people to each other and teach them about fundamental Christian principles such as mutual respect, accountability, honesty and creativity and to support adolescents' development holistically. Ten Sing believes in the saying, "the process is more important than the end result". Ten Sing takes place twice weekly in two age groups, for ten to thirteen year olds and older adolescents.

Daycare centre

This program aims to prepare preschool-aged children for the start of school. Children are taught various subjects, such as Armenian (oral and written), Russian (oral), English (oral), arithmetics, music and dance.  Education is divided into age groups and children are taught with age-appropriate methods such as games to help children understand.

Gym

The Spitak YMCA also offers a gym with weights and equipment which men and women can use for strength training. An instructor also offers pre.workout warm-ups.

Volunteer club

The volunteer club started its activities in February of 2001. Its young members meet up in order to invest their free time into the Spitak YMCA, its development and its various offers.

Summer camp

As in many YMCA activities, children and adolescents in summer camps learn to develop their character, their skills and strengths and to make friends.  But few activities offer so many opportunities for this as camps do, where children can form a community, learn to be independent and use their skills for the benefit of a group. Activities in summer camps include campfires, horn signals, kayaking, archery, talent shows and many more.

Youth exchange

The Spitak YMCA often plays host to visiting Swiss adolescents in their summer camps. This is a fantastic opportunity to contribute to a summer camp and learn about a different culture at the same time!

Armenian guests are also invited to take part in Swiss YMCA summer camps in the Zurich region. We also offer Armenians the opportunity of a volunteer internship year at the YMCA/YWCA Zurich - find out more here!

The Spitak YMCA becomes a pioneer in education on ecological farming

The construction of solar panel on the roof of the "Home for Future" in 2013 was already a pioneer undertaking. Now, the Spitak YMCA is in the midst of their next ecological project.

The story goes on: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has granted our petition for partial funding of a one-year project: "Development of a training and production centre for agriculture and ecology". Young people living in and around Spitak are the target group for this training program. The project's main aim is to educate young people about innovative and climate-friendly agricultural practices. We would also like to promote ecologically and financially worthwhile usage of land in the Spitak region. This is to be achieved by using technologies and methods that aid the crop yield of high-quality cultivated plants.

 

 

The entire budget for the project is 75 184 USD, of which the UNDP has agreed to finance 44 793 USD. 12 650 USD were supplied by the YMCA/YWCA Zurich. The Spitak YMCA has invested 17 741 USD in material and monetary assets.

This new project has brought a fresh breeze to Spitak and to the YMCA. An active work process, which is desperately needed in Spitak, is setting in.

Completed tasks (March 2017 - April 2018)

  • Modernising 350 metres of automated irrigation systems with new solar-powered pumps. This serves as an impressive example for the efficacious reduction of water consumption.
  • Creating another 0.2 hectares of drip irrigation gardens, where high quality crops and new species of trees will be planted in order to improve global climate resilience. This also aids biodiversity in the region.
  • Constructing 200 m2 of greenhouses where sustainable, high-yield crops will grow   
  • The garden and greenhouses will ofer a place to hold practical training lessons, generating income for the training centre
  • Building 120m3 of lighted cold storage facilities for harvested produce
  • Teaching participants in our trainings about climate change, plot degradation and biodiversity and teaching sustainable gardening and land management skills
  • 50 school students in Spitak and 200 of the Spitak YMCA's beneficiaries have taken part in training courses

Spitak YMCA Garden 2018

Guest rooms at Spitak YMCA

Feel at home in Armenia! Make a stop in Spitak if you're planning a trip to Armenia. The Spitak YMCA will welcome you warmly with its guest rooms in the Home for Future, opened in 2010.

Read the Spitak YMCA's revies on TripAdvisor, or leave your own review if you've been there. This helps the Spitak YMCA to further expand their customer base. Find them on TripAdvisor here.

Guest rooms can be reserved directly with the Spitak YMCA . Contact them under spitak@ymca.am.

We can also help you to make a reservation: armenien@cevizuerich.ch

Membership with the Spitak YMCA

Are you interested in the Spitak YMCA's work? Would you like to support them directly?

Exclusively through us - join the Spitak YMCA as an international member! Join for only CHF 30.- per year and receive a membership card as well our newsletter "Hamamlezi" twice a year, if you wish. You will also benefit from discounted room rates if you choose to stay at the Spitak YMCA.

Register for membership with the YMCA Spitak

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