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YMCA of the Rockies partners with with Russian YMCA

The YMCA of Russia and YMCA of the Rockies have entered into a strategic partnership with the goals of learning from each other to help develop effective ways to positively impact the communities being served by each YMCA. By sharing information, training opportunities and resources related to camps and conference centers, both YMCAs will benefit from the partnership. It would also provide staff and volunteers with educational and leadership opportunities on each side of the globe.

Located on the Volga River, near the city of Yaroslavl, Russia’s sixth largest city with a population of 600,000, the YMCA of Russia operates a Dacha which is a small conference center that sleeps up to twenty guests. ‘Dacha’ is the Russian word for country home, of which many Russian families maintain to escape the city life for weekends and extended breaks when possible. The Russian YMCA’s Dacha has the goal of serving as a training and leadership center for the YMCA of Russia which is the similar to the mission that YMCA of the Rockies began with in 1907.

Several staff members from the Russian YMCAs have completed work exchange programs at YMCA of the Rockies locations: Estes Park Center, Snow Mountain Ranch and Camp Chief Ouray. And now, in 2016, two groups from YMCA of the Rockies will be visiting Russia over the next several months.

In July a group of teen campers and counselors from Camp Chief Ouray (The Y’s traditional overnight summer camp) will visit Russia for an educational and adventurous tour. These teens will tour sights in Moscow, Ivanovo and Yaroslavl. They will also have the opportunity to visit an international YMCA Camp and meet other young campers/travelers from England, Germany and Spain.

The second trip will be composed of adults who are Members and long time guests of YMCA of the Rockies and will be accompanied by two staff members. In 2015 a similar trip for adults took place which focused mainly on this history and architecture of Russia. This fall’s trip will focus on connecting with people and the culture of today’s Russia. Past participant Gates Vrooman, who is a Y Member and volunteer said, “I learned that people to people we have much to talk about. We need not be strangers, much less enemies.”