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change agents


​​​​Be a YMCA Change Agent

The YMCA Change Agent Program is an International Leadership Development Program to empower young people and grow the ability of the YMCA movement, with special emphasis on local associations to positively impact the life situation of young people in the world based on the YMCA Change Model of

The program is coordinated by the World YMCA, and will engage 300 young leaders in training opportunities (on line and face-to-face), projects and initiatives on local and global level and will provide a mentorship service for continuous support.​

Collectively Change Agents are a resource for action. They are champions for change and impact within the YMCA Change Model framework. All participants of the program are expected to implement at least one project during 2017-2018.

What Does a Change Agent do within the YMCA Change Model Framework?

• Engages with and uses Space as a convener, connecting point, place for belonging and building of character and self-esteem. Promotes and uses YMCA Spaces for young people to act, realise, and fulfil their potential.

• Takes part in Transformation as learners themselves and as promoters of learning and sharing. Learning involves sharing best practices and broadening the understanding of the untold story of young people – where young people have critical concerns about issues of health, employment, civic engagement, and the environment.

• Focuses on Impact and takes action to engage in local realities as programme leaders, advocates, and voice for improved access to opportunities and impact for youth empowerment.​

Who are the current YMCA Global Change Agents?

Georgie Nichol

YMCA Australia

Georgie Nichol.jpgOne of the happiest childhood memories I remember is at my local YMCA pool. I was learning how to swim laps with my dad, when I was only about eight or nine years old. Fifteen years later, I still use this pool regularly for triathlon training and to maintain my overall wellbeing. 

I began employment with the YMCA Australia National Office in October 2015, during which I decided to take a break from studying a masters of teaching.

I had just been through some very difficult personal challenges and the Y quickly became a place to have a fresh start with new beginnings in a very supportive environment. I was quick to realise that YMCA values were in alignment with my own. This was a very welcome change in my life, I started to find my feet in the YMCA Australia office.

Whilst I initially began part time in an administration assistant role, I have developed project management skills, and have now become full time as the administration coordinator. I believe this demonstrates the organisation's faith in me as well as their commitment to empowering young people. I work across a range of areas in our office acting to support the executive managers in advocacy, finance, youth empowerment, communications and safeguarding children. 

Whilst I do not work directly with any young people (as I am the youngest), I am lucky to be exposed to the fast paced environment at YMCA Australia where work goes on in varied capacities to support our 22 Associations and the greater movement. In my new role this year, I will work alongside our movement leaders and act to support leadership teams in child safety and safeguarding children.

Shane Simmons



Shane Simmons.jpgI began my Y journey in 2008 as a casual pool lifeguard in Sydney, Australia. Within two years I took on the role of Operations Coordinator and three years later was promoted to an Assistant Manager.

For the last four years I have been a Centre Manager for YMCA NSW overseeing two operations in Broken Hill, NSW, employing more than 60 staff with annual turnover of more than $1.7m.

Throughout my time at the Y, I have travelled across NSW via many opportunities and have worked in many different communities. More recently, I have worked on establishing a Youth Council in our local community. With YMCA's new strategic vision of believing in the power of inspired young people, there has never been a better time to further support youth in reaching their full potential.

​Navin Dhillon

YMCA Whittlesea


Navin Dhillon.jpg​I worked with young people in Singapore with a non-profit for about four years before deciding to embark on a new challenge in Australia. I applied for the role of a Youth Advocate/Coordinator at the YMCA Whittlesea because this role afforded me the flexibility to design new programs for the youth in Whittlesea. My two most successful programs were Speak Up! (Public Speaking, influencing 200 young people) and Community Entrepreneurs (Social enterprise program, influencing 150 young people).

18 months into the role, my manager saw huge potential in me and decided to challenge me to take on the Community Engagement portfolio as well which was a result of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). I worked closely with three schools, the state government and YMCA Victoria and YMCA Geelong to ensure that our sporting facilities were inviting and beneficial for the local community.

Juggling two portfolios has been challenging and rewarding. I am now looking to further challenge myself by being a Change Agent. I am excited to share ideas with other Change Agents and also implement some innovative ideas back home in Whittlesea.

​Ashlee Carter

YMCA Brisbane

ashlee carter 2.jpg​I started off as a placement student (Bachelor of Human Services) at North Lakes in 2015, and after completing this I stayed on to volunteer and was very quickly offered part time employment. Within a month, this turned into full time employment and has gotten better ever since. I've been able to support, with the team, to engage young people and see bold transformations. I've had the opportunity to participate in National Youth Week activities, Film clubs, Australian Skate League events and much more.

​Matt Shaw

YMCA Victoria


Matt Shaw.jpg​After moving to Australia from the US, I wanted to use the opportunity to establish my career in the design field after having spent the previous six years working within the youth development field for other NPOs, including the YMCA of Chicago. I saw this role within the Y as a chance to use my design skills to continue to advance a Mission and message I whole-heartedly support.

Since beginning my role, I have taken many opportunities to advance beyond my initial remit of design execution. Over the last year I have participated within internal and external leadership programs, including YMCA Victoria's Future Leaders, project management courses, and professional certificate courses in Innovation at Melbourne University's Business School. Each step along the way has allowed me to develop my knowledge and apply those skills back into the YMCA.

While my main role is still executing design projects, I can often be found problem solving with co-workers, mentoring peers in presentation and public speaking skills, project managing, or playing a part in a new innovation or initiative.

​Jayden Parsons

YMCA Brisbane

jayden Parson.jpgI began my involvement with the YMCA as a participant in the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament.

I then progressed to be a volunteer facilitating that program along with other programs such as Inspired Leaders run by the YMCA Brisbane and then progressed into my role which involves both of these programs and many more.

​Rebecca Sobels

YMCA South Australia

Rebecca Sobels 2.jpgMy involvement with the YMCA started a few years ago, I was turning 20 and still didn't know how to swim, so I started adult lessons within my local Y, and that lead me to a passion for swimming. Before long I was sitting the Austswim course to become a swimming instructor. I did all of my experience hours within the Y and earned a job teaching swimming. I loved this so I started to become more involved within the Y, taking on roles in birthday parties and the play club and also in other OHSC branches.

This all happened before I decided to change centers, and now I am happily at the parks with much experience under my belt.

​Amanda Gailiss

YMCA Victoria


Amanda Gailiss.jpg​I began with the YMCA as a participant on the Youth Parliament Program. I then applied to be a facilitator on that program and was successful. I have since volunteered with Youth Parliament and other Youth Development camps, which I have been doing for the past five years.

I have been a leader on numerous camps every year. I have also worked with the YMCA running leadership sessions in schools.

Samuel Reibel

YMCA Hobart

sam reibel.png​Approximately six and a half years ago I started work at the YMCA as a lifeguard and CSO. Within a few years I took a leadership role as a duty manager/lifeguard.

While still completing my duty manager work I managed to get more work across two different YMCA pools and within a YMCA gym.

Approximately a year and a half ago I got regular work within the YMCA gym and made studying my qualifications in fitness my goal.

Over six months ago now I applied for my current role as a Senior Customer Service and Operations Coordinator which I was successful in getting. I have been in this unique and rewarding position which is a part of the senior management team of the YMCA of Hobart for over six months and am loving the opportunities it brings.

​Tia Sandhu


Tia Sandhu.JPG​I commenced working for the YMCA as a cafe attendant aged 15 in 2011, from then on I worked in various positions at the same YMCA service as a creche attendant, facility officer and bookings coordinator.

In early 2016, after previous management left the centre, I was offered the opportunity to step up to a full time role as Centre Coordinator aged 19, and have been working in this role since. I am now starting to branch out my involvement in the YMCA WA to include long term development projects and also kickstarting my career working as a Youth Engagement Officer at the Belmont Youth Centre.

​Gabrielle Young

YMCA Canberra

Gabrielle Yooung.jpg​It was almost by accident that I started working with the YMCA in Canberra. I wanted to do something different and had thought Outside of School Hours Care (OSHC) could be the change I needed. I jumped at the opportunity to teach and care for a diverse group of children.

I enjoyed working within the The National Quality Framework (NQF) and within the values of the YMCA. I was very quickly was presented with an opportunity to coordinate my own service. I had thought my work shake up would be a short-lived, but 3 years later I am still with the Y.  I am lucky enough to have been presented with so many wonderful opportunities to grow both professionally and personally within the YMCA.


​​If you are interested in becoming a change agent, please contact our National office at admin@ymca.org.au. 

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