The sun is rising over the Longs Peak and Upsilon and making Estes Park shine and glow, smiling people from everywhere are walking together to enter the breakfast rooms for some delicious bacon and eggs or for the more healthy ones, serials and yoghurt and orange juice. Coffee for all of us, if you are not Brittish or from Sri Lanka or India and really would prefer your cup of tea. In Estes Park there is a rich choice of delicious food, and today the menu is focusing on Danish cuisine. This is very good for my Change Agent mentee, Casper. Even if he is my mentee, I believe he prefers coffee to tea. If not, he would be mencoffee or something. He is a mentee.
Breakfast hall surrounded by beautiful mountains. (Much more mountains to come later in today’s blogpost!) Breakfast is a good experience here, and it is impressive how the system can handle 1300 people with a smile and everybody has eggs and bacon and fruits of all kinds. Compliments!
Three band members who are making life excellent for us all, here in full action at the morning devotion. The band is so important, and we have engaged very experienced Ten Sing people from Norway and a lady from Scotland and together they are giving the World Council rhythm and swing and sting and happy vibrations and sing a long and fellowship feelings. Some of these band members are second generation leaders I have worked with. When I was a leader of the Ten Sing Norway project in 1986-87 and we toured Germany for a year and lived together in a collective of 50 people, I worked with the parents of some of the band members here. At least three of these band members are daughters and sons of young people I worked with in 1986. It is a magnificent feeling of continuation and strength! Thank you to everybody in the World Council band!
The Longhouse plenary hall is full for morning devotion, the gospel choir from yesterday has made us want more – it is good! This is so impressive and encouraging – the hall is full for morning devotions! We have decided that we will use YMCA leaders to facilitate the devotions, and we have Carlos Sanvee and Roland Werner as leaders for this part of the programme. Excellent work, guys!
My good friend from London and India reads the Bible text in hindi while the English and Spanish texts are rolling over the screens.
Baron Hederlin-Doherty, CEO of San Diego YMCA in engaged sharing, fascinating all of us. His story about a severe traffic accident he went through, moved us all. This is a good example that we use our own people to lead the devotions, and that makes it so more interesting and important for us.
Baron on his bike.
Ashley Funk, Change Agent from USA tells her story and explains how it is to be a Change Agent. She spoke with authority and conviction and made a wonderful impression of the Change Agents. Ashley and her fellow Change Agents are super leaders and dedicated colleagues.
My good friend and Change Agent and mentee, Casper from Denmark, helping to lead the group meetings. Three Change Agents per working group and one leader from the movement are facilitating the groups. The groups consist of 20 members from different parts of the world, and they stay together for 150 minutes every morning. They deal with an agenda around Youth Empowerment and strategic development of the YMCA and will get to know one another really well and become friends for life.
Group meeting being organized.
Group activities to get to know one another.
Another group in activity. This looks promising!
Then a visit to the retirees, a group I enjoy to meet, because I have many good friends there!
One of these friends is Bob Masuda from Hawaii, former International Director, YMCA of the USA and a good partner from the opening YMCA work in Eastern Europe early 1990s.
And of course The Boss, Jerry Prado-Shaw from Chicago, also former International Director, YMCA of the USA, and life long friend.
Group photo in preparation.
It is Republic day in Ghana today, and that is celebrated!
It is also Canada Day, and that is also celebrated!
And the Chinese delegation is greeted especially, number 2 from the right is General Secretary Tu, a good friend!
Kent Meyer and I are becoming very close through all shared challenges over some years, he is the CEO of YMCA of the Rockies and we go for a great experience of the Rocky Mountain National Park. It is Excursion Day at World Council.
More mountains, as promised above!
This road was built from 1915, and in the years of crisis in the 1930s these walls were being built to give people jobs.
One of my hobbies is to collect pictures of traffic signs, and this is pretty obvious.
Breath taking and majestic!
Beautiful elks grassing on the highest mountain peaks, 14000 feet above sea level.
Colorado Blue Flowers. More mountains tomorrow. More YMCA friends tomorrow. More of the 18th World Council of World YMCA tomorrow!