Our partner organisation.
The Armenian YMCA was founded in 1992. Today, there are five local YMCA groups in Armenian cities, as well as one in Nagorno-Karabakh. 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 secular life. The YMCA aims to serve communities of all types, and is open to everyone.
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
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 a positive impact on the next generation. The Spitak YMCA also seeks to revive Christian values which were lost during the Soviet period. Besides its own resources, the Spitak YMCA counts on the help of various partners in order to offer its activities.
"Summer School" is a three-month program, which aims to take school-age children off the streets, to make their day more interesting and at the same time useful. Here children get a lot of interesting knowledge from different fields, learn to sing, dance, make handicrafts. Training videos and discussions are organized. They develop logic through logic games and, of course, entertaining games are an integral part of all that.
Mental arithmetic is a unique program for training the brain, developing the right and left hemispheres of the brain at the same time. It builds skills such as fast counting from calculator and computer, providing continuous development of auditory-visual memory, concentration, analytical thinking, logic. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division without calculator. All this only with mental arithmetic. This method of Japanese calculation is also widespread in Armenia.
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 how to protect and care for it.
Children in 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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)
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