Rising to the Challenge

2021 Community Report

Aisha, Youth Worker at the TeenZone

To encourage and inspire all people to reach their full potential, thrive and contribute to their community

Message from the Presidents

This past year was another challenging one for all of us, as individuals, organizations, and as a society. It was a year of shuffling and reshuffling as programs and services shut down and reopened. 

Year 2 of the pandemic forced us all to become masters in the art of adaptation. If one thing was now clear, it was how fast the world around us could change. And, in turn, how we had to change to meet new needs, new habits, and new ways of living.

A few key milestones from our 170 years

1851
First YMCA in North America opens in Montreal.
1870
Night school classes open to all, including women and immigrants.
1890
Ahead of its time, the YMCA starts offering sports and fitness activities.
1894
Opening of Camp YMCA Kanawana, Quebec’s first overnight summer camp.
1910
Launch of the first national swimming instruction program.
1965
Opening of the International Language School.
1970s
Opening of daycares, preschools, and after-school programs to support working parents.
1980s
Creation of youth centres and employment services.
1984
YMCA Residence begins welcoming asylum seekers and refugees. Visionary and committed volunteers establish the YMCA Foundation.
1999
Alternative Suspension is created to help prevent at-risk students from dropping out of school.
2007
Camp YMCA Kanawana builds sustainable facilities and introduces programs to strengthen environmental education.
2008
The first Y to open in 20 years, the Cartierville YMCA is inaugurated, to the immense joy and pride of the community.
2015
Alternative Suspension is rolled out in three Cree communities, in partnership with local Cree authorities.
2020
COVID-19 pandemic hits Canada and YMCA springs into action with virtual programs, online support, emergency services and more.
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This year, we celebrated our 170th anniversary. 

As we look back, we see how our story has been shaped by constant transformation and by our desire to meet the needs of communities. 

As society evolved and social needs and issues changed, so did our programs and approach.

2021 at a Glance

In 2021, we also started to see some of the pandemic’s longer-term effects: disproportionate learning loss from school closures, increases in homelessness, food and financial insecurity, substance abuse and mental health issues, and domestic violence.

As society struggles to address current needs, we must look to the future and prepare for the aftermath as communities will rely more on organizations such as the Y. This means focusing our energy on where we have the most impact. It means finding ways to take services outside our centres to increase access and adapt to local needs.  

We can only achieve this if we are willing to change. So that the Y continues to be a place where people come to transform. As it has been for 170 years and as it is committed to being for the next 170!

Offered outdoor and virtual fitness classes to support members beyond our walls and during gym closures.
Provided 337 at-risk youth with the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities through the Bouge ton été project, helping them maintain healthy lifestyle habits and mitigating the impacts of the summer learning loss.
Supported close to 1,700 youth through engaging and empowering activities in our TeenZones.
Supported close to 1,700 youth through engaging and empowering activities in our TeenZones. Expanded our day camps to Pierrefonds-Roxboro, reaching some of the most underserved communities in Canada.
Signed an agreement with the City of Pointe-Claire to turn the YMCA building into a municipal sports and community centre with integrated YMCA programming.
Launched the innovative Web Walkers program to reach vulnerable youth online and be on the lookout for dangerous situations.
Provided 129 families with the tools to support their children in elementary school through the École-Famille-Communauté project.
Created our new Social Reintegration and Inclusion sector to better serve the most vulnerable members of society and those most impacted by the pandemic.
Offered basic services and psychosocial support to over 600 people experiencing homelessness in downtown Montreal and Québec.
Hosted the 2021 Peace Medals Gala celebrating diversity and social harmony.
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