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peace medalFrom November 17 – 24, during YMCA Peace Week, the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce, together with YMCAs across Canada, celebrate the presence of peace in our communities, and reflect on the peace-building work that happens all year both inside and outside the YMCA.

A special highlight of the week is the presentation of YMCA Peace Medals to individuals or groups who, without any special resources, demonstrate a commitment to the values of PEACE through contributions made within their local, national or global community. Peacemakers are recognized for promoting and inspiring Participation, Empathy, Advocacy, Community and Empowerment.

The YMCA Peace Medal was developed in 1987 by the International Committee at the YMCA of Fredericton. That year, this committee of volunteers and staff was tasked with developing Peace Week support materials for YMCAs across the country. Since 1987, more than 1,950 individuals and groups across Canada have been recognized with YMCA Peace Medals.

We invite the community to join YMCA staff, members, volunteers and local dignitaries at the YMCA Peace Medal Ceremony taking place Thursday November 22 at 12:00 PM. Held at the YMCA Health, Fitness & Aquatics Centre, we will honour a group who have made significant contributions towards peace-building.

This year’s recipients truly deserve to be recognized as they live and breath the values of peace every day. Visitors are asked to sign in with photo ID (part of our Child Protection Policy) at the Welcome Desk before heading to our program rooms for the one-hour ceremony and reception.

YMCA Peace Week offers activities that help children, youth and adults explore peace from personal, community and global perspectives. Collectively, YMCAs in Canada ask people to: Build community. Act for peace.

More than the absence of violence and conflict, peace is the ongoing work of building and maintaining conditions of fairness, inclusion, empathy, security, and respect for diversity. Peace-building is core to the YMCA’s commitment to strengthening the foundation of healthy communities and part of the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce’s year-round programs.

According to the 1981 World Alliance of YMCAs Statement on Peace,

“...Peace has many dimensions. It is not only a state of relationships among nations. We cannot expect to live in a world of peace if we are unable to live in peace with those close to us – even those who differ from us...The responsibility for peace begins with each person, in relationship with family and friends, and extends to community life and national activities...” This Statement is relevant today more than ever.

“It’s important that we work together to create peaceful communities where everyone feels that they belong” says Ellen Wallace, Communications Lead at the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce. “By celebrating YMCA Peace Week together we are taking a stand and creating the future we want for our community, country and world.”

When people act for peace, they build community by promoting a sense of belonging, fostering empathy and embracing diversity.

“We all have opportunities each day to choose to act for peace. They may be small actions, but they make a big difference and create a ripple effect through our community. By sharing our message of peace we are able to inspire others to become engaged in peaceful actions,” says Ellen Wallace, Communications Lead at the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce.

source: media release, YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce

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