Posted by: thebluemusicblog | February 17, 2015



I welcomed  the  full group of National General Secretaries today formulating some hopes and expectations for the meeting and underlining the great strategic importance of this meetings as a platform for Participating, Consulting, Sharing and finding Agreement. Imagine that we agree on our plans for this year and next year we come together and report to one another about progress and evaluation. Then, when we come to World Council in 2018, we will together report to the World Council on the joint delivery of OUR WAY Strategy! We continued today with a beautiful devotion from Jørgen, NGS Denmark. IMG_7162


We opened the plenary conversation by setting the stage with a very constructive discussion around what Movement Strengthening means to us. We see Youth Empowerment as the integral part of Movement Strengthening, but not the only way or the only methodology. Movement Strengthening consists of so many different components, working on so many different levels of our operations. And we all agree that Movement Strengthening is on the top of our priority lists!


Then we welcomed the key note speaker of today, Mr Juan Carlos Rico from the Mexican Government, from the Ministry of Youth. He gave us a very competent overview on the situation for youth in general and related to unemployment especially. He also shared with us how the Mexican Government intends to partner with young people to create a better and more fair society. Shigeru and Kerry were our respondent to Juan Carlos and he gave us a final feedback and an appeal to continue our good work to empower young people. Waving goodbye to the Government, we went into smaller groups to discuss responses from the YMCA locally to this major issue. A most inspiring morning session.

We continued in plenary to evaluate and discuss the Change Agent programme. Romulo gave an inspired and engaged presentation of the results and the evaluation so far and explained how the next 200-300 Change Agents will be recruited. Ron from Australia gave the first response and told inspiring stories from Australia, where they have two Change Agents, one of them is now  full time advisor to a Government politician and the other one has been employed as a full time Youth Empowerment worker at the National YMCA office in Australia. Australia is now planning to increase the number of Change Agents from 2 to 20 in the next cohort. Ron underlined how important this programme has been for YMCA in Australia.


Kwabena from Ghana continued to give response and underlined how this project is rooted in the African S2C programme and how successful the Change Agent programme has been for Africa. After a group discussion a number of issues were


raised, but all agreed that the Change Agent programme is valuable and good and shall be continued, maybe with some changes in the way it will be implemented.


Look at the happy faces above as we are enjoying Mexican hospitality in the outside. Informal time is probably as important as the formal programme, and both elements work well together. The National Secretaries feel more and more as a well functioning team with growing friendship on all sides. It is a pleasure to move among smiling faces and happy voices and people who really engage in the programme and voice their opinions and questions and support. Excellent!


Gwenael from Haiti and Greg from Cayman Islands both made the point that the Caribbean subregion, represented by themselves, was always punctually ready for any programme items, and I promised them a certificate to confirm this very pleasant fact.


Romulo is the Executive Secretary for Youth Empowerment and leading the implementation of the Change Agent programme, and he gave a passionate input on the impact of the programme.


Jared from Kenya reports back to the plenary after a good group discussion.


Carlos from Africa Alliance and World YMCA giving an engaged input on the Change Agent programme.


Kwabena as respondent to Romulo’s input on Change Agents.


Ron from Australia responding to Romulo’s input in a most encouraging and inspirational way. And then we continued the programme to cover another item in OUR WAY Strategy, namely mobilizing 2 million new leaders for the YMCA in the next four years. We invited for a brainstorm with a following response given through the methodology of the famous Fish Bowl.

IMG_9618Do we have the courage to mobilize 2million young people? Or should we limit the ambitions and lower the number and go deeper? A good discussion among this fine group of international YMCA leaders. Now dinner and Mexican evening where our hosts will share culture and goodies from the Mexican realities. And remember that Tuesday is the highlight of the carnival!

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