Flourishing All Island Conference 2023

March 2023

It was amazing to see over 120 staff and volunteers from across the movement join us for our All Island Annual Conference in Greenhill.

We chose Flourishing as the conference theme, and with our national vision of a world where young people, their families and communities flourish in body, mind and spirit, it was a great opportunity to learn and reflect.

Very heavy snowfall on the day of the conference impacted in two significant ways:  

Many who had planned to attend were unable to make it physically, but fortunately were able to access the conference online thanks to the skill of our amazing teams;
Our international volunteers had an absolute ball and many of them experienced snow for the first time in their lives and to their delight.  This resulted in a clear demonstration of young people flourishing and engaging in a ‘flow’ activity, also known as a snowball fight, prior to the conference starting.
Fortunately many people did make it through the snow to hear Simon in person and take part in the group discussions.  Simon delivered 3 sessions; Well-being in Uncertain Times, Balancing Adversity with HOPE and Flourishing Forward into the Future.  Small group discussions took place after each session to further explore the frameworks shared and the learning gained.  Simon’s delivery, as always, was engaging, fun and very interesting.

Notes were taken from the sessions and the notes from the third session will be shared with local associations so they have a copy of the feedback given by staff and volunteers on how we can ‘flourish into the future’ to inform and direct the action plans for developing further as flourishing organisations. We now have flourishing integrated as part of our strategic plan and it is front and centre as one of the priorities for the YMCA.  The conference was simply a step in the journey to intentionally continuing to develop as a flourishing organisation and we will be keeping this goal on the agenda.

This was our first annual conference in Greenhill’s new Hub and the Greenhill team pulled out all the stops to ensure it was a great success.  Hospitality was excellent and the food was awesome.  The first of many events there I have no doubt.  Thank you to all who contributed to an amazing day and an amazing event.

Gillian McClay – National Training Officer