Posted by: thebluemusicblog | November 13, 2013

WORLD URBAN NETWORK MELBOURNE 2013

bilde[5]Friends! I found a few minutes of really high speed internet. As soon as I found it, I grabbed it, put it in my newly acquired backpack from the Australian e-store, thanks to you guys! Then I ran back to my hotel room and pored this fine piece of high speed internet over my lap top and it smiled! It actually smiled for the first time in our relationship. A wonderful moment there. Then it started to upload photos, and this was what it found. It could have ben a whole lot of other snapshots from this great WUN conference in Melbourne, but this is what came out of this brilliant excess of high speed internet: A morning photo of Melbourne, after having pushed it through Photo Shop to change the rain and the dark clouds. Amazing what technology can do these days!

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My very good friend from Brisbane YMCA, CEO Alan Bray, is presenting the brilliant projects in Brisbane. Last year Alan showed all of it to me when I visited, and I even slept in the George Williams hotel. (George was not there that night.)bilde[3]In my circle of friends Peter Burns is very close to the centre, and he is our fabulous host here in Melbourne and CEO of the world’s biggest YMCA for the time being, Victoria YMCA. He is presenting a mix of house keeping, vague explanations of summer weather down under and inspirational messages about the achievements in Victoria YMCA. Thank you Peter for a wonderful experience inside and outside of the programme!

bildeAfter my praising of Alan, it seems that he grew one angel wing there, as he was talking!

bilde[5]Stephen Bendle has been my table mate the last couple of days, and he seems also to have joined the group of Aussie YMCA angels! He gave an inspirational message about Advocacy and Health and asked the very solid and important question: “How can we get rid of all sugary soft drinks from all YMCA facilities? That would mean a great service to the future of children all over the world!” We agree and support you, Stephen!

bilde[4]A few Aussies who all might not have grown wings of any kind, dark as their silhouettes are, but they certainly played Australian folk music so we forgot about the rain and the cold during the barbecue in the park, and they made all of us fly and swing and enjoy! Thank you guys, angels or not, we loved you!

bilde[3]My good friend Dave Ball from Romford gave us a very valuable moment one morning when he shared from a very deep going experience of seeing his  son through a motor bike accident and be with him and his own family during a miraculous recovery. One of the slides Dave gave us is this amazing message. Read it and smile and reflect and you have a devotion good enough for the next couple of months. What a great way to express our confusion and joy of being alive! Thank you, Dave, and thank you also for presenting the YMCA Global Digital Accelerator together with Sean Moffitt, a great idea for the future digital youth platform to support the Youth Empowerment agenda of the world movement of YMCAs – all of us!

bilde[2]Andrew McKenzie is another great friend from Melbourne, Peter Burns referred to him as “our branding genius, who helps us to understand why we are different!”. Andrew is a marathon runner and was participating in the Boston Marathon, passing the area which was bombed with a margin of twenty minutes. He has the absolutely most impressive presentation slide of the Sleeping Giant existing, and it is waking up with so much horror and scary images that the Village People for once will be forgotten and the YMCA will be remembered for something else than the song!

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This is one of Andrew’s products and one of his ways of explaining why the YMCA is more than gyms and pools and huge buildings – the YMCA is about open hearts and reaching out to people of all ages to meet their basic needs as good and plentiful as we can. I love it!

bilde[1]Alan Morton is the past President of YMCA Australia. His neighbor here is Kohei from APAY, and this evening his goal was together with the rest of us,  only not to be fed to the sharks! This was the joke going around the dinner tables, that if we did not behave close to our best, the sharks were very close to our dinner plates. The Chair of the Board, Sue O’Connor’s dinner was hosted in the Aquarium of Melbourne. Amazing experience!

bilde[7]Looking into the eyes of this guy, I made sure that he could see that there was a big, brown beef steak on my plate and nothing fishy about me at all!

BYtbu7xCMAA8sUr.jpg-largeAnd as the city of Melbourne is preparing for Christmas and  building the Christmas trees manually, we continue our conference to look for better ways of  bringing positive change to our local communities and to our world. A message like the one below is very meaningful:

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