Posted by: thebluemusicblog | October 17, 2014



Dear friends,

It is a strange feeling, maybe, but I have this friendship relationship with you as my readers. Some of you I may not know at all, but somehow you belong to my friends through the Blue Music Blog. And now I have missed you, and I am glad that I am back on familiar pages and actually sharing a blog post again.


Early autumn is a busy time in any organization. For us in the World YMCA this autumn has ben especially busy with lots of things to follow up after the 18th World Council. We developed a new strategic plan, called OUR WAY, and since the World Council we have been busy planning and preparing for the implementation of this plan. After NEW WAY, the last strategy, which was inward focused because we needed to wake up the sleeping giant, OUR WAY is looking outward, looking for new horizons, looking for the stars! That is why we use the metaphor of a space ship. The space ship is named YOUTH EMPOWERMENT and it has two engines to lift it up, one engine is about resource mobilization and funds development and the other is about knowledge base, research, leadership, communication and advocacy, impact assessment. And the launch pad is Movement Strengthening. This is what the space ship is all about. To make both YMCA and YMCAs strong and inclusive.


Selma has just summarized the evaluations from the 18th World Council, and I want to share parts of it. Later on you will be able to read the whole report on our website In so many ways the 18th World Council in Estes Park, Colorado, USA became a real mountain top experience, during the excursion most of us reached heights of 12000 feet in the Rocky Mountains National Park. It was beautiful and the fellowship was mesmerizing!


World Council Evaluation Report

More than 1,200 people gathered together in Estes Park for the 18th World Council Empowering Young People. Following the World Council, the World YMCA sent an online survey monkey evaluation to all participants. This report is a summary of the results of the survey.

The Overall Experience: Participants rated their overall experience at 90.63% Extremely Satisfied/Very Satisfied, for an average rating of 4.40 out of a scale of 5.


Here are a few general comments on the experience:

‘An outstanding World Council – congratulations to the staff team and to Johan for his leadership’


‘It was an amazing experience. I learned a lot and met people that I will be connected to for a long time. The setting was great’

 ‘A life changing event…thank you!….Absolutely the best experience of my YMCA career.’



‘I cannot imagine to get similar practical education and experience elsewhere, excellent program’


‘Great balance between group work, panels, plenary education’


‘Change Agents need to be more visible… not only within the YMCA but also outside the YMCA’


Thank you YMCA! I am blessed and refilled with power and motivation to work for our YMCA’


We are finally starting to have a World Movement, again!


‘An exceptional event. Thank you to the World Alliance team and all who made it possible…. Thank you for all your hard work, brilliant World Council….From now on, the World Councils will not be the same….Well done WAY, Y USA and Y Rockies.’


Jack Ahearn from England, Change Agent, and he gave a perfect speech at the President’s Reception at World Council.

A very interesting and important message from our delegates, was a strong voice almost demanding much more and much closer links between the local YMCAs and the global agenda. Do I welcome that? Absolutely! It is a fantastic message and I know that real sccess is written with u, so that it becomes success! Without the strength and implementation power of the local YMCAs we will not reach our goals. Listen to the voices of local YMCA leaders at World  Council:


  • Spread OUR WAY in our local YMCA
  • Strengthen the local implementation of global strategies
  • More influence to the local YMCA is needed
  • Share It More Locally
  • Work with my Local Y to identify additional opportunities to provide youth engagement/youth empowerment roles
  • More collaboration and resource sharing with those YMCAs who have already embarked on this strategy
  • We need a local plan and measurement system for youth empowerment
  • Makes so much sense! I would like to see a change agent from our association.
  • I want to implement a Youth Advisory Board and to put a youth member on our Board of Directors
  • Empower the youth of my local YMCA
  • I would like to be more of a voice in my association about the great works that the YMCA does worldwide and I would like to be an advocate to have our association become more involved in the worldwide initiative.
  • We will fully commit to and align our youth development program with the OUR WAY strategy.
  • The OUR WAY strategy must be reflected in national and local strategic plans as well. It cannot sit in isolation. Support greater alignment locally.
  • Find a way to include my YMCA in this strategy.
  • Try to involve more young people on decision-making bodies of my local YMCA.
  • To adopt the strategy at our local YMCA and have a similar focus in our programmes.


Thank you to all of you who helped making the World Council in Estes Park such a memorable and important event in our YMCA movement worldwide. We are empowering young people and we will be able to do much more because the family is coming much stronger together and we are willing to work together and to become a real caravan of love in this world.


A special thank you to a dear friend, Kent Mayer.


  1. It was great to meet you in Estes Park and so very exciting to feel the success and potential of such a glorious body of committed people towards goodwill and impactful action! I appreciated the opportunity to share with you my idea of a music advocacy component after one of your presentations, and have been looking forward to your blue music blog. Its delightful to Gain awareness of how great the ambition is in creating this movement, and the increasing cohesiveness, strength and eagerness to work together, marching towards health for all, and youth empowerment (at any age; and drawing on inter generational wisdom). Thank you for your leadership and enthusiasm!
    Your friend in deed,
    Laura Collins, Estes Park, CO
    Ps, that’s a very nice picture of you and our CEO!

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