Behind this easy going headline there are 1000 very seriously working fund raisers and finance developers from many countries around the world belonging to NAYDO. The North American YMCA Development Organization (NAYDO) conference was founded in North America and the key players are the YMCAs of the USA, Canada and Mexico. They invite the rest of the world to come and participate, and this year we were almost 80 people from close to 30 countries and it was a great international atmosphere.
The Canadians were great hosts, as always, Scott Haldane from YMCA Canada, Stephen Butz from the local YMCA in Vancouver and Curt Hazelbaker from Winston-Salem, the Chair of the NAYDO council.
The first lunch speaker was Rick Hansen, a true Canadian hero. After a devastating truck accident as a teenager, Rick Hansen became an elite wheelchair athlete, winning nineteen international wheelchair marathons, including three world championships, and competing for Canada in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. In 1985, motivated by his success, and a desire to make a difference in how people with a disability were perceived, he embarked on the record-setting Man In Motion World Tour. Along the way, he inspired others to pursue their own dreams, raised the world’s awareness of the potential of people with disabilities, and became a testament to the remarkable potential that lies in the human spirit. His speech was a great inspiration.
This is a closeup of the new building of the Vancouver YMCA. The apartment tower and the YMCA were developed in the same project, in close cooperation with a local building developer, and it became a brilliant example of a win-win solution and a world class YMCA building. Bills Stewart and George Rodgers were the genius masters behind this scheme, It took them 10 years to develop it from idea to what we could see today! Congratulations!
Australia was well represented in Vancouver, and here we see Peter Burns, CEO Victoria YMCA, Melbourne. To the right Paul Custer VP for Property Development in New York YMCA. Also Sydney was there with the President, David Mayes and CEO Philip Hare. They gave a first class workshop on great experiences of local financial development with a potential to be used around the world. I attended the workshop and enjoyed it a lot. I still have a small kangaroo jumping around inside my heart after my visit to Australia a few months ago. See Philip Hare below:
The next lunch time speaker was none less than the Minister for Internal Cooperation, Mr Julian Fantino, from the Canadian Government. Before he spoke to the plenary, a few of us were invited by Scott and Mary Anne to have a meeting with him to inform him about the general YMCA activities around the world. See a blurred photo below of Mr Fantino, it was a difficult light that morning, and you do not push a Minister around to fit better with light!
At the same meeting were also two Change Agents from Canada, and I am still proud and very, very happy when I meet Change Agents around the world. Please welcome Colleen Bush to my right and Liia Vuur to my left!
The new building of the Vancouver YMCA, The Robert Lee YMCA, was presented by two of the brilliant minds behind it, George Rodger, a great friend from Canadian YMCA with a 46 years YMCA career behind him and Mr David R. Podmore, Chairman and CEO of Concert Properties Ltd, probably the most respected developer in Vancouver. when leaders from Non for Profit and Private go together in honesty and with services of excellence, the sky is the limit. See the two gentlemen below, David to the left, George to the right:
We were discussing some very important global issues at some side meetings and we had the valuable advise from two good friends, to the right below from Toronto YMCA, CEO Medhat Mahdy, and to the left from Seattle YMCA, CEO Bob Gilbertson:
I addition to those already on the photos, also NGS Edward Gboe from Liberia, NGS Sipho Sokhele from South Africa, Carlos from AAY and Jack Lund, CEO New York YMCA on conference telephone. It was a great meeting and I personally thank all of those who gave us their valuable time to advise a new and exciting cooperation between WUN and WAY.
The third lunch time speaker was Sean Moffit, Managing Director of Wikibrands. He is also invovled in a very exciting project together with World Urban Network and World Alliance in developing new ways of facilitating digital networking and leadership development. Sean has been called “Canada’s leading visionary for the intersection of business, brands and news media”. His speech was mesmerizing!
Whenever I have a few hours to myself, I always give first priority to the local Art Gallery, modern art being one of my real interests, and I enjoyed very much the exhibition opening the same day, “Grand Hotel – Redesigning Modern Life”.
But before that, early morning Saturday, I participated in a plenary presentation, a panel discussion covering the theme: “A Call to Action: Does Your YMCA Underestimate Its Value to Impact Investors?”
The panel was moderated by Kevin Trapani, President & CEO The Redwoods Group, an Insurance Company, and together with me was two very interesting personalities, Dr Diana Wells, World President Ashoka, pioneers of, and investors in, social innovation around the globe. Diana and I are in touch now to further develop perspectives for collaboration between our movements. Exciting. Bart Houlahan is the co-founder of B Lab, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. We spent an hour together discussing highly interesting and motivating issues relevant for the nonprofit sector.
Our good friend and communication consultant Pat Thompson is from Canada, but she was not at NAYDO, but this month we concluded a half year engagement with Pat where she has done a great job in advising us on how to go from printed versions of our communication to a modern, digital version. Pat has also helped us to write the research report on Youth and Employment and Youth and Health, two pieces which will soon be published and shared with all of you. In addition to all of this Pat has also guided us to a plan for general information sharing with delegates and participants at the upcoming World Council next summer. You will soon receive the first results of this work. And on our website you will also see the results of Pat’s work with us. Thank you very much for your excellent work, dear Pat!
After close to a week of the NAYDO conference plus side meetings, I discovered to my surprise that spring had arrived in Vancouver! A conference like this means meetings from morning till late night, it is very inspiring, but also time consuming and hard work. That is why it is good to have a few hours to visit the Art Gallery and time enough to take the Hop On Bus exactly one round to give myself an illusion that I really have been to Vancouver city!