Sir Richard will spend a night sleeping rough in Norwich city centre in October
General Sir Richard Dannatt has been named president of YMCA Norfolk, taking over from Richard Jarrold.
"Serving an organization like the YMCA in order to lead others to a better opportunity in life is really important," said Sir Richard.
Mr Jarrold stood down after 40 years of service and was awarded the was awarded the highest honour possible from YMCA England, the Order of the Red Triangle.
"I care for the YMCA... it's been a privilege," he said.
Sir Dannatt, the former head of the British army, took over the role at the YMCA's annual general meeting on 18 October 2010.
"Young people deserve a chance, especially those who through no fault of their own have had a difficult start in life," he said.
"They need guidance and an opportunity to make the most of themselves and that is what the YMCA does," he added.
One of his first acts as YMCA Norfolk president will be to spend a night sleeping rough in Norwich, along with Norfolk High Sheriff Charles Barratt and Judge Phillip Curl, to raise money for the YMCA and other local charities.