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  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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YMCA Fellowship of Honour Investiture Ceremony

Ottawa, Ontario, Thursday, June 8, 2017


I’m delighted to join you here for this investiture ceremony of the YMCA Fellowship of Honour.

Today, we recognize those who have given so much not just to the YMCA, but also to their communities and this country.

But they would be the first to tell you that they didn’t get here on their own.

After all, it takes a lot of people working together to make great things happen at the community level.

This is what the YMCA does so well. It builds communities of caring. This is but one reason that governors general have been patron of the YMCA for more than 70 years, a tradition I’ve been proud to continue.

And what a tradition you have! Consider the facts:

  • The first YMCA in North America opened in Montréal in 1851—which makes the YMCA older than Confederation itself!
  • Today, the YMCA community serves more than 2 million people in over 1 700 locations across Canada.
  • 23 600 volunteers give more than one million volunteer hours.
  • 60 700 donors gave more than $16 million to the YMCA’s annual giving campaign last year.

These numbers demonstrate what we can accomplish when we pool our talents, resources and goodwill.

An example of this would be when Canadians, including the supporters of the YMCA, helped welcome thousands of refugees to Canada. I’m so pleased to see the YMCA continue to take up the call to action.

I know how hard each of you has worked, not just on this issue, but on many others. You make our country a better place.

It’s what you do.

It’s what makes you worthy of this prestigious award.

You exemplify the motto of Sir George Williams, founder of the YMCA: “It is not how little but how much we can do for others.”

And you have done so much.

Thanks to you, Canadians—especially young Canadians—are able to access programs and services they need. Your focus on families, physical fitness and early childhood education makes sure that Canadians are stronger, in mind, body and spirit.

With this investiture as officers and companions of the Fellowship, we have the opportunity to say thank you.

Thank you for your volunteerism and philanthropy.

Thank you for putting others first. 

And thank you for all that you do for Canada.

Congratulations to all of you.