Posted by: thebluemusicblog | April 20, 2013



Sunday morning we woke up to an early morning Eucharist, strongly wished for by members of the Executive Committee. It was a moment of ecumenical unity. Having visited the holy places from Jesus’ life and death the day before, this was a good way of meditating and diving deeper into the roots of our faith.


Sunday morning we started the process of strategizing for the future, for the time between 2014 and 2018. We have outlined a brand new process for this strategizing, and we believe this will be more inclusive and open for the whole movement to participate more actively.


This is the primary responsibility for our Governance, to set the big lines and directions for the future, to analyze the situation today, find out where we are and then set the direction to achieve an improved future. We want to start with the EXCOM and their deliberations, then we will make a draft paper based on these ideas and distribute it widely to all our stakeholders, member movement and outside partners and ask them for their feedback and proposals. Then, when we have received feedback from the movement, we will summarize all of this and make a next paper, a proposal for a new strategy, which will go forward to the World Council for discussion and hopefully decision making.


The NEW WAY strategy is an integrated one, often symbolized by a capital Y. The foundation is Movement Strengthening. To do successful Movement Strengthening we have learnt that we need more resources, so that goes up in to one of the arms of the Y and is called Resource Mobilization. It is all about learning the art of fundraising, finding ways of asking people and institutions for their generous donations. NAYDO has been a source of knowledge and training for many of us, NAYDO is The North American YMCA Development Organization, which meets once a year with more than 1000 participants. In my next blog post I will report from this years NAYDO conference in Vancouver, Canada. We also learnt that to be able to do good fundraising, we need an increased visibility and collective presence in this world. We need to tell the story, and do it in a compelling, convincing way. We need a unifying message, a flag we can sail under and be recognized for. AS we all know, we have unified our movement around the message “YMCA Empowering Young People”. We have developed the YMCA Change Model: Space, Transformation, Impact.

bilde 4

The Sleeping Giant is waking up. We hope that we shall be able to celebrate the wakening up of the Sleeping Giant during our upcoming World Council in Estes Park 2014. Then we do hope that the NEW WAY strategy changes into OUR WAY strategy for the next 4 years. Be prepared, friends, for strategic thinking already now. You will soon receive a draft paper, and we warmly welcome your feedback, your thoughts and dreams and vision for our great YMCA movement.

bildeLet us look into the future with open eyes, well equipped for cold weather, but still preparing ourselves for a long and warm summer. And we should be able to put smiles upon the face of this great organization. Our strategy needs to create smiles, give happiness and joy and make hopes grow in this world!


To the left Ismail Hamdan, Director at the YMCA Vocational Training Centre in Jericho, talking with Past President Martin Meissner.

During lunch we were able to cross the street and pay a visit to the YMCA Vocational Training Centre in Jericho, as always a very impressive place to visit! It was a day off for the students and teachers, but they all turned up just for our sake and to show us how the centre is working. 5500 students have been trained here during the years!


Young girls learning modern Information Technology, a training which will help them tremendously to find work. Between 85 and 90% of the students here find jobs immediately after training is finished.


And the same is valid for the young guys in training to become car mechanics, carpenters or plumbers or copy machine service people, like above.


An exchange student from the USA in eager work on some metal construction! 🙂

IMG_1281Our hosts from East Jerusalem YMCA together with President Ken, from the left, Wassef, Andre’ and Simon. We are all full of praise for the excellent way they organized our visit to their land. Everything went smooth and elegant, we felt very safe and the hotel gave us super service and gave us the feeling that we were visiting somebody’s home, fully surrounded by hospitality and friendship.


The Strategy session was followed by the report from the Investment Committee. Patrick Geiser from Switzerland is the chair of that committee and gave an inspiring report leading to a decision by the Executive Committee that one legitimate way of investment would be to invest in a concrete Real Estate in Geneva, and work is proceeding to prepare for that. Geneva has a very “hot” market, but due diligence was done and expert advise collected from  several places.

Then it was time for Committee meetings, Image and Impact, Finance and Governance.

IMG_1283All committee chairs were shadowed by a young co-leader. Here from Image and Impact with Patricia and Sofia.

Finance was dealing with budgets, a policy for travel subsidies and the purchase of an apartment in Geneva. Image and Impact had a consultant talking to us from Canada on the phone, at the same time as we watched a power point presentation on the branding process in Red Cross of Canada. Governance was primarily occupied with a language modernization of the text of the Constitution.

IMG_1287The reports from the committees started with an exciting overview from the Oversight Committee for the World Council, on the programme and preparation of this great event next summer. The report was ably presented by the co-chairs Courtney and James, and followed up by the staff responsible for this planning process, Selma:


The meeting slowly came to an end and some very deep-felt words of thanks were shared with our great hosts from East Jerusalem YMCA and a silver plate with inscriptions handed over to commemorate this historic event. Then we were on the road again, heading back from Jericho to Tel Aviv to fly out for new adventures, which for me meant onwards travel to Vancouver, Canada. More about that very soon.


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