I had the awesome opportunity to attend the YMCA General Assembly in Philadelphia, PA last week. This gathering happens every 3 years and was attended by over 4,000 indivduals, of which, 1,000 were Y volunteers. In addition to a wealth of professional development opportunities, the event laid out the forthcoming nationwide Y campaign and development of the national strategic plan for Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.
I was especially struck by author and social scientist Malcolm Gladwell’s comments which said that the Y is the most important vehicle for “human capitalization” in the nation, meaning the Y has the ability to help individuals reach their full potential. When we don’t educate children well, fail to keep our population healthy, and don’t engage communities in meaningful service, we leave talent, potential, and opportunity on the table. The crtical social issues of our time require us to maximize this potential.