Healthy CommunitiesYCANYMCA Youth Programs

YMCA Community Action Network: Supporting youth leaders across Canada

02 August 2018 - by Natalia Gonzalez
Version Française

The YMCA Community Action Network (YCAN) is an innovative national program that engages leaders ages 15 to 30 across Canada to address a community need through service projects. The program, part of the Canada Service Corps initiative, supports youth with opportunities to identify and execute a local service project that is meaningful to them.

“YCAN is a great leadership program at the Y,” says Cedric, a Toronto leader who took part in the YCAN program this past spring. “I learned that every community has a different need and must be helped soon. YCAN has inspired me to help people more.”

Ten YMCA associations from coast to coast are working together to make YCAN a national (and local!) success in 12 different communities — including Greater Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, the Greater Toronto Area, Sudbury, Montréal, Québec City, Greater Halifax/Dartmouth, St. John’s, Moncton, and Charlottetown. YCAN youth work together locally and nationally to make a mark in their communities, all while building skills that support their personal and professional development.

At a recent national youth conference, hosted by YCAN, representatives from each community came together to connect, share their experiences, and gain new perspectives and strategies for community service and development.

“I am a naturally shy person, so joining YCAN was a big deal,” says Cherish from YCAN Halifax. “Presenting at the conference was an even bigger deal. I am so happy to all of those who have made us feel welcomed as soon as we entered the doors.”

In addition to local YMCA associations supporting service projects, other local community partners and stakeholders are also getting involved. Bringing in more community organizations and service providers helps create a culture of service that will directly benefit the local community. In Winnipeg, for example, the YCAN program has been working closely with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) to deliver supports to youth who are new to Canada.

For more information and to learn how your community can participate in a service project near you, visit our website today


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