Posted by: thebluemusicblog | January 6, 2012


First of all a Very Happy New Year to all my friends on the blog! Thank you for traveling together with me since June last year. I have had a lot of fun and pleasure in writing this blog, and it helps me both to reflect on my experiences and to remember the great moments of my travels – the meetings with you, good friends. Let this small group of close friends represent you all, the farewell delegation when I left the airport in Durban late November.

My good friend Ken Colloton asked me just before Christmas what the highlight had been for me in 2011. And I answered that the most important impression for me is the many excellent people I have met, partly old friends whom I have got to know even better, but also hundreds of new friends. That, and the experience that what binds us together in this movement is deeper and broader than ever, the diversity is also great, that is for sure, but the visions, the values, the faith and the hopes in a good future are what we have in common and they are stronger than any differences, it is a good glue and makes our movement a solid and strong one. Thank you for friendship and collaboration. Let us use our strength to reach new goals.

The above picture shows the sad situation leading to the purchase of new shoes in Bethlehem, as you may recall from my Christmas message. The shoes I bought are certainly not meant for climbing. My boots are made for walking….. Therefore the travels will continue in this new year, and in my new boots I will move to different places in the world and I shall keep you updated on all what happens. So please keep traveling with me along the NEW WAY.

It was a fabulous year. We climbed high. We set some really hairy goals and gave ourselves some really heavy ambitions to stretch for. The peak of the mountain was always ahead of us, and it still is. We keep climbing. We want change. We want to climb over the mountains and see new horizons. We want to follow the Blue Music, the wind of creativity and imagination. We want to follow the path to renewal, even if it takes some steep climbing!

We are putting wheels to our visions so that they can roll. We wanted to equip the Area organisations with funds to build capacity for Income generation, fund raising. During the year we collected money from within the movement, and the day before Christmas we reached our goal of 1 million US Dollars. Countries and individual YMCA leaders are lining up to pledge more support to this campaign, which we call the Investors Circle. We have not reached the mountain top – we need more funds. But the wheels are now attached to this vision and it is rolling along the NEW WAY.

Roses to all of you who generously have supported the Investors Circle! Together with our friends in WUN, the World Urban Network, NAYDO, the North American YMCA Development Organization and Y’sMen International we are implementing projects in different parts of the world to build capacity for more and better income generation.

We have had some great examples of YOUTH EMPOWERMENT during the previous year. Ten Sing Festivals rocked all over Europe. The big Youth Conference of Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs in September in Penang, Malaysia, gave voice to so many strong and well prepared young leaders from around Asia and Pacific. I was taken back and was really impressed by their eloquent speech and strong initiatives. The Climate Justice Caravan filled me with admiration and inspiration, 160 young people traveling through the African continent sharing messages on Climate Justice. We shall see more caravans in the name of the YMCA! The S2C programme of Africa Alliance gives promise of that!
The youth conference of the Middle East committee in Alexandria, Egypt, was like a reflection of the Arab Spring, and I loved sharing time with young YMCA leaders from all over the Middle East and afterwards visiting them at home in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine and Israel. The Youth Institute of Long Beach YMCA in California stands out as a brilliant example of Youth Empowerment and my visit there is still alive in my heart and in my brain and continues to inspire me in my work. The Peace conferences in Canada and in Prague also stand out as excellent examples of relevant youth work in our time, and the Lideres programme in Latin America and Caribbean continues to grow the best leadership out of the young members of our YMCAs in LACA. We have more to do, some of our visions and ambitions are waiting to spread their wings and fly, like the World Challenge October 13, 2012. You wait and see, this bird is ready to take off!

And here is a vision of the world wide YMCA, with local YMCAs, National And Area Organisations and the World Alliance of YMCAs, flying like a fairytale dragon on the NEW WAY, colorful, visible, young, fun, focused and in good speed. Flying towards a better future, carrying loads of commitment, love and consideration. It is nice to fly high and enjoy great visions. It is even better to land and start walking, walking the second mile. Then we need boots, boots made for walking. New boots from Bethlehem. See you next week!


  1. Thanks for your update and thoughts! Would you mind telling me the name of the mountain on the picture in this blog entry? It looks a bit like the Rochers de Naye;-)

    Have a great 2012!

    • The photo of the mountain was taken just outside Vevey, close to Montreux, I cannot tell you the name of it, but now you probably can tell me? This is Merita’s blog, by the way, hereby warmly recommended:

  2. Hello Johan Vilhelm.
    Yes for sure, it is the Rochers de Naye! 😉 If you once have time and need a break, you can use our nice and small hut just below this imposant “rock” at 1400m above sealevel.

    Have a nice time

    • Thanks! That sounds very much like an offer I should not reject! All the best and see you in March!

  3. Happy New Year to you also. Thank you for all the information that you gave as last year. we reaffirm our commitment to accompany you during your future travel.

    • Dear friend, I am so happy to have Madagascar in my company on the NEW WAY, I hope my boots will bring me to your beautiful island one day. Have a blessed weekend!

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