Former YCW leader, Bill Armstrong, and current Australian YCW president, Marilyn Bellett, shared their experience of the movement during a special webinar commemorating the 80th anniversary of the founding of the movement in 1941.
Australian YCW 80th anniversary
On 23 November, the Australian YCW, the Cardijn Community and ACI will present a webinar to commemorate and celebrate the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the movement in 1941.
Keynote speaker will be Bill Armstrong AO, former YCW leader from Victoria, who later had a distinguished career in international development
Responding to Bill will be Marilyn Bellett, current president of the Australian YCW.
Register for the event here:
Bill Armstrong AO
Bill grew up on a sheep farm in Alexandra, central Victoria. He studied at St Bede’s College Mentone before taking up an apprenticeship in Fitting and Turning.
From 1958 till 1963 he worked for the YCW and also managed to play two AFL league games for Carlton Football Club.
In 1964 he began a career in international development with the newly formed OSB (Overseas Service Bureau, later to change its’ name to Australian Volunteers International).
In the 1970s Bill was National Co-ordinator of the Churches International Development Education Program, Action for World Development (AWD).
In 1982 he returned to AVI as CEO, a position he held till 2002, managing the growth of the organisation from a staff of 12 to a total of 130 people nationally and an annual budget of A$400,000 to over A$20 million. In 2001 AVI managed 1000 volunteers in 45 countries.
He was also a member of the ACFOA (Now ACFID) Executive for 20 years and was its president from 1993-1997.
Since his retirement in 2002 Bill has served on a variety of boards including Caritas Australia (2002-2009), ActionAid Australia (2003-2012), Indigenous Community Volunteers (Now Community First Development) 2000-2019, Friends of Suai/Covalima (Timor Leste) 2003-2017,and YCW Holdings (Melbourne) 2003-present.
He is a life member of AVI, ACFID and Action Aid Australia.
In 1995 Bill was presented with a Friendship Award by the State Bureau of Foreign Experts, People’s Republic of China and in 2000 he was the recipient of the Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Asia Medal, “In recognition of his significant contribution to forging stronger relations between Australia and Asia.”
In 2003 Bill was made an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) “For service to the international community—-“
Marilyn is from Sydney where she obtained a Bachelors Degree in Biodiversity and Conservation from Macquarie University.
While in high school, she belonged to the YCS in Parramatta Diocese before later joining the YCW. In 2018, she worked for the Australian YCW as a youth engagement officer in Melbourne and later in her home diocese of Parramatta. She has also worked for Catholic Mission.
Currently, she is national president of the movement.
Marilyn Bellett, The work of the YCW in light of the Synod on Young People