Posted by: thebluemusicblog | January 29, 2014


Joseph from Gambia
January has been unusually busy and extremely constructive and inspirational. What a wonderful thing to be able to say about January? January normally comes as a shock after a peaceful Christmas. This year I am very satisfied with the month of January!
Jose from India
It included a three weeks executive staff meeting here in the John R. Mott House. Carlos from Africa and Jose from India and Ian from UK joined Selma, Romulo and myself. We plunged into the depths of the challenges ahead of us, the World Council, OUR WAY Strategy, One Million Voices Research, Change Agents and Youth Empowerment, Risk Management and World Challenge 6th of June 2014.
Annaclara from Uruguay
We are working in process, as a team. The advantage of this working method is that all parts of the globe are represented in the process and we can continuously test our ideas for cultural relevance and sensitivity. The other real advantage is that the process makes us all internalize the messages in the same way, often with the same language, terminology. That is why we as a staff team are able to communicate the different conceptualized visions in almost exactly the same way when we travel the world. This is important for clarity and simplicity and understanding. And it is a fascinating and exciting process to be a part of! It is the YMCA Change Model in function. We have SPACE for the process, we are TRANSFORMED with the help of colleagues and friends and it has an IMPACT on us and our messages and hopefully on the movement at large.
Elham from East Jerusalem
The most exciting part of January has been the work on the Big Narrative. What is the CHANGE we are talking about? What will we do with and together with and for the young people we are talking about? What is the more concrete role of Change Agents?  What does it mean that we are a Christian movement? Does it limit us in reaching ALL the young  people we want to reach? We have studied the  Biblical story about the Merciful Samaritan. And we have studied the real situation for young people out there.
Ian from England
We are going to share this Big Narrative with all of you at the World Council. This is not the story about the past, it is more the story of the present and the future. A story that will help us to achieve the change we need to go through. A story to travel home with after the World Council.
More to come!
January was also full of inspiring visitors and guests and very interesting meetings and even a training course. All of that helped the staff process immensely. Thank you to all our visitors! It started already on the 6th of January when Ian Luck from Norway and Pete Bürki from Switzerland came to help us prepare for the big performance at World Council.
Professor Fred Coalter, our fantastic advisor was the key trainer at the two days training session for One Million Voices Research.
And here the whole group for the training related to One Million Voices Research. We see here from the left Samuel (staff), Fred (Chief Consultant), Romulo (staff), Selma (staff), Jason (UK), Ian (staff), Joseph (Gambia), Hugo (Portugal), JV (staff), Annaclara (Uruguay), Jose (staff), Abraham, (Mexico) Misha (Russia) and Elham (East Jerusalem).
This photo is NOT from our research, by the way!
The Alliance of Youth CEOs or popularly called The Big 6, met today (17/1)  and yesterday at the World YMCA Headquarters. The theme for the meeting was Youth Empowerment and we had speakers from ILO and the YMCA and had excellent conversations. This is a most inspirational fellowships consisting of the CEOs of the 6 biggest youth organizations in the world, and we share experiences and learn from one another and have great fun together.
From left to right:
Nyaradzay Gumbonzvanda, YWCA, Johan Vilhelm Eltvik, George Williams (on photo behind), YMCA, Matthias Schmale, Red Cross& Crescent, John May, International Award Association, Mary McPhail, Girl Guides, Scott A. Teare,  Scouts Movement.
In-between intense meetings Jose, Ingunn, Misha and I went to the reopened Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
The Olympic Games are soon to be held in Sochi in Russia, and in this context Misha reminded me of how close the YMCA used to be to the International Olympic Committee.  The below photo is a diploma from the Olympic Committee, and the original is in our archive:
Olympic Cup

Misha received this letter from the Olympic Museum:

“• For the year 1929, the Olympic Cup was awarded to the Y.M.C.A. World Committee in recognition of its activities in favour of the development of universal sport.

(Source: Olympic Review, September-October 1974 no. 82-83 p. 443)

• The decision to award the Cup to the Y.M.C.A. World Committee was announced at the 1928 IOC Session in Amsterdam.


Research and Reference Service
IOC Olympic Studies Centre”


And if this was not enough about the Olympic Games, the house where our offices are, used to belong to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Movement in 1895.


The next meeting to take place was last Thursday and Friday when the International Secretaries from Iceland, UK, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany came for the annual meeting with the WAY. Intense conversation over Strategy, Research, Change Agents and sharing of experiences with common projects. A very good meeting.

And if you did not receive the latest version of OUR WAY strategy as we sent it out yesterday, just click on the photo below and you will come to the freshest version, hot from the printer!


And did you hear that we already have 850 people registered for the World Council? The Early Bird Price is still valid for 3 more days, so hurry up and register! The World Council is in Estes Park, Colorado, USA from June 29 to July 5 this summer.

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