YMT faces insolvency after losing major supporter

A member of the Youth Mission Team.
A member of the Youth Mission Team.

The team behind some of Australia’s most popular high school retreats could face insolvency in just four weeks unless new financial support can be found to offset the loss of a major benefactor.

Youth Mission Team Australia (YMT) has served the needs of Catholic teenagers for the past 30 years. Conducting contemporary and relevant high school retreats, reflection days and seminars, the team aims to restore hope and has touched the lives of more than 350,000 Australian teenagers.

In an era where more Australian teenagers take their own lives than are killed in car accidents, where one in four youth experience mental health issues, and where one in four young people state that they are unhappy with their lives, YMT’s ministry and message of hope is more important than ever.

But, with the loss of a major backer, the team is in need of new financial supporters.

As YMT relies heavily on donations and sponsors to fund operational costs, national director Steve Toohey is making an impassioned plea to anyone able to financially contribute to the team.

“For just $5 a week, you can make a difference to a young person’s life, by allowing us to present the Gospel in a format that is relevant and engaging to our youth.”

While individual supporters make a significant contribution to YMT, Steve is also seeking the support of foundations and businesses which may be in a position to help fund the work of the team.

Each team is comprised of young men and women aged 18-24 years who dedicate 12 months to volunteer as youth ministers in schools and parishes.

Teams are equipped to travel beyond their own cities, meaning that schools across 16 dioceses have access to the ministry.

Since commencing its ministry in 1986, YMT has helped to train more than 380 youth ministers.

Olivia Pannell, school captain of St Mary’s, Wollongong, is one of the 350,000 young people who have been influenced by the ministry.

In reflecting on her retreat day with the team, Olivia said: “Going to church and praying is often seen as weird among my peers, but YMT helped to normalise it and presented their message in a way that I could relate to, which enabled me to then go deeper with my faith.”

To support YMT, visit ymt.com.au or phone (02) 4284 6600.