The Young Men???s Christian Association (YMCA) needs to remain relevant as it continues to contribute to the positive development of Barbadian society.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, offered this advice as he addressed the organisation???s 136th Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, themed: Rebirth and Renewal, at the L.V. Harcourt Lewis Training Centre, Belmont Road, St. Michael.

Mr. Lashley noted that the annual meeting should provide a period of reflection and rebranding of the YMCA to confront both old and new challenges.

He encouraged the organisation to undertake a re-assessment as it sought to invest more in the youth and their future, and expressed his confidence in the members of the organisation to make the necessary steps to accomplishing the goals set.

???This will call for much sacrifice and as such, your vision must be in line with the ideas embodied in your development agenda, which this forum has been convened to endorse. Indeed, you must stand on the practices that have kept you in good stead over the many years of your existence,??? he advised.

Citing the prevalence of drug abuse and violence in some communities as among the major issues to be dealt with, Mr. Lashley urged the YMCA ???to be bold enough to confront some of the pressing issues affecting the youth of Barbados???.

He added that it was important that the issues be addressed from a preventative perspective, with more attention being paid to ???enhancing creativity and innovation while maintaining the core principles of the YMCA???s mandate???.

The Barbados YMCA is dedicated to the development of the spiritual, social, physical and intellectual well-being of the youth of Barbados.

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