Posted by: thebluemusicblog | June 14, 2012


Do you hear the Blue Music of the mountains? Or at least see it? These beautiful blue mountains are the Rocky Mountains surrounding Estes Park, Colorado. We were there this week to prepare the World Council in 2014. Before that we landed in Chicago where Jerry Prado Shaw and Martha picked us up and took us to their wonderful place in Naperville outside Chicago. Next morning Selma and I came to 101 North Wacker Drive, the address of YMCA of the USA, where we met with Tom Valentine and his people in the International Group, Kate and her staff in the communication department and later on we met with Neil Nickol, The President and CEO of YMCA of the USA. All very constructive meetings focusing on the upcoming World Council meeting in Estes Park 2014. In the evening we all met for a very friendly dinner at an Argentinian Steak House, where we were joined by Sue Knox, a dear friend. You can see us all in the photo below, together with another great friend, Michael Weill, former Canadian National CEO, now Vice President of the YMCA of the USA.

Next day our meetings continued followed by a great lunch with the International Group and then we met with the Financial Development department and continued to prepare for the World Council. Next day we entered the plane to Denver, and at the airport Midway we met some other good friends from one of the first blog posts last year, the Blues Brothers. Somehow I feel that they belong to my blog, and today they show their energy with the back to us. Today is the one year anniversary for the Blue Music Blog, and in this year I have posted 47 blog posts. I use this opportunity to thank all of you who follow my blog and my travels and also say thank you for all good and encouraging comments I have received. Please continue to join me on my travels on the NEW WAY.



Estes Park receives us with the same hospitality as last year and the mountains are majestic and beautiful. We get adjusted to the very high altitude after a couple of days and we start our work together with the CEO of the YMCA of the Rockies, Kent Meyer and his competent staff. We walk around the camp and visit all the impressive buildings, the Arts and Crafts Center, the cabins and hotels, the three big assembly halls, the swimming pool, the roller skating arena, the dinner hall, the three chapels, the interesting shop and cafeteria and the horse stable. Tennis, mini golf and basket ball are just a few of all the programme offers there.

Above you can see one of the outdoor chapels where nature itself plays an important role.


Above you can see staff of Estes Park and members from the Planning Oversight Committee, the Host Committee and the Planning Committee.

Here the beautiful hall that was built for the last World Council in 1981, and it is still available for us in 2014 with all technical equipment needed for a successful event.


The Blue Music is playing again, as the sun sets over Estes Park and we enjoy the great hospitality of Kent and his people, serving us a superb dinner on the top of a 9000 feet high mountain!


Can you see the Y written in snow down the mountain below? That was the sight that decided where the founders of Estes Park should build the new YMCA camp back in 1910.

And here another photo of Kent Meyer, a great friend and a great YMCA leader. He has worked in these mountains for the last 25 years or so, and has built an impressive operation for thousands and thousands of grateful people who come back again and again to enjoy the nature, the hospitality and the spiritual inspiration you can find at Estes Park and YMCA of the Rockies. Thank you, Kent, for being such an inspirational YMCA leader – we all look forward to come back and to continue to work with you and your people.

Below you can meet Bob Cabeza, Vice President at YMCA of Greater Long Beach and leader of the Youth Institute there. He is member of the planning committee for the World Council and he is the leader of our  World Alliance Resource Team for Youth Empowerment.  He is creative and innovative and has a deep insight in Youth Empowerment and is a great partner in delivering NEW WAY and Youth Empowerment in Action.

Even the road signs are beautiful in Colorado!

On my way to a horse riding excursion I just fell for this little fellow, and soon it became an inside joke to suggest that I should ride this pony into the sunset. Fortunately for me and the pony there was an age limit of five years and a weight limit of fifty pounds!

From Estes Park we left for Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we met with our good friends Bob and Colleen Tobin. Bob and I had very constructive meetings developing strategies for our communication work related to World Council and the NEW WAY Strategy, and we met with old and new friends from Grand Rapids. As I am writing this anniversary blog post, we are sitting at the shore of Lake Michigan and waiting for the sunset, salmon from the lake on the grill, friends coming in and life is just brilliant! If you look carefully at the photo below, where you see Bob and Colleen and Ingunn, you will also notice that there is a photo, the only one so far, of the Sleeping Giant. We will cover the Sleeping Giant in many blogposts to come the next year!


  1. Congratulations for all your inspiring messages all over the year !
    the sleeping giant is awakening….

    • Great, Claude-Alain! You have your part in all of this! See you in Geneva next week! Johan

  2. Congratulations in this first year ! I really appreciate you share with us all your wonderful experiences, testimonies and sigths of the YMCA Movement. It´s really motivating and inspirational. Thanks for your visit to our YMCA too! Blessings. From Santiago, Chile. Alejandra Moliné

    • Dear Alejandra! It was great to see you in both Valparaiso and at your home YMCA in Santiago – the whole visit was a great inspiration – an thank you for your kind words! Greetings Johan

  3. Congratulations Johan¡ we expect you can continue writing your blog and inspiring us to look forward.

  4. I always love your visits, Johan, and I look forward to your next one. Hope to see you and Ingunn soon.

    • Sharon – thank you! I love to meet the Knox-clan every single time! Lockport here I come! We come!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: