CAGAYAN de Oro City (BEN BALCE / Golden Journal) - BDO Velez Branch manager Gonzalo “Al” Gesta assumed the presidency of the Young Men’s Christian Association, Inc. (YMCA) after Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma installed him into office with new other officers and board of directors at Dynasty Court hotel here on Feb 12, Saturday.
Ledesma serves as the guest of honor and speaker and the chief inducting officer with four other government officials in northern Mindanao.
Commonly known as YMCA or simply the Y is a worldwide organization based in Geneva, Switzerland with more than 57 million beneficiaries from 125 national associations.
In his message, Archbishop Ledesma reminded the installed set of officers for 2016 to put Christian principles into practice by developing a healthy “body, mind, and spirit.”
The three angles are reflected by the different sides of the (red) triangle—part of all YMCA logos.
From its inception, it grew rapidly and ultimately became a worldwide movement founded on the principles of Muscular Christianity.
Meanwhile, Gesta in his acceptance speech explained that local YMCAs engage in a wide variety of charitable activities, including providing athletic facilities, holding classes for a wide variety of skills, proselytizing Christianity, and humanitarian work.
“YMCAs remain religious organizations,” said Gesta.
Many national or local organizations de-emphasize this aspect, while others choose to prioritize its religious mission above all others.
The different local YMCAs are voluntarily affiliated through their national organizations, according to Gesta.
The national organizations in turn are part of both an Area Alliance and the World Alliance of YMCAs.
The World Alliance’s main motto is “empowering young people”, and it is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
With regard to the history and purpose of the founding, this “organization and its female counterpart (YWCA) were established to provide low-cost housing in a safe Christian environment for rural young men and women journeying to the cities.
It was associated with industrialization and the movement of young people to cities to work.
The YMCA “combined preaching in the streets and the distribution of religious tracts with a social ministry.
Philanthropists saw them as places for wholesome recreation that would preserve youth from the temptations of alcohol, gambling, and prostitution and that would promote good citizenship.”