Launched in January 2018 by the YMCA of Greater Toronto in partnership with nine YMCA Member Associations, the successful YMCA Community Action Network (YCAN) has been extended by an additional year, to March 31, 2021, and has expanded to include five new YMCA Member Associations.
The innovative national program is part of the Canada Service Corps, a federal program that enables young leaders to respond to community needs through service projects. Some of the service projects completed to date have included creating an awareness video about teenage harassment, initiating a backpack drive for those experiencing homelessness, planning an international cooking workshop to bring communities together, organizing activities at a local nursing home, and serving a meal to over 200 community members in need.
In December, the national YCAN leadership team met in Toronto to further develop an employee orientation program, followed by a two-day meeting for all YCAN staff. The program is seeing strong results, with participants reporting significant growth in their skills and confidence. One of the program’s highlights for participants is the annual YCAN National Youth Conference, which offers opportunities for youth from across the country to share ideas and experiences. The third YCAN conference is scheduled for March 2020.