In our staff team we travel a lot, and it is only in January that we are really all of us in Geneva at the same time. That is why a Christmas celebration is impossible before Christmas, but very possible just after. So early January we came together one evening in our apartment in Avenue Krieg. A few were ill, so it was not the whole team, but we enjoyed an evening with Swiss raclette. The evening started with Norwegian GLØGG, a hot, spicy drink that we make only for Christmas, so for us it tastes Christmas.
January is really very much like a Monday, gives you the same kind of feeling. It is a joyful weekend behind you and a long week of work in front of you. It is a good feeling, because you know that you will be able to accomplish a lot. January contains three full weeks of staff retreat, a retreat that takes place in the office. We sit together from morning till afternoon and work on the big visions, on concepts and projects, discuss, plan, build and internalize the concepts. In this way we can travel to different parts of the world and give the same messages wherever we go. It is an inspiring way to work, and we invest lot in this process.
This January we completed a concept paper for the next World Council, we drafted a discussion paper on the new strategy for 2018-22, we analyzed the Governance Policy Agreement and made a new draft paper for consultation with the whole movement, we evaluated the One Million Voices Research and made plan for the next research. We planned for the Property Development project, where we have concrete projects running in Nairobi and Accra. We evaluated the Change Agent project and planned for the next global gathering. We spent several days on creating the programme for the annual meeting of all the National General Secretaries mid February – we are going to meet in Chiangmai, Thailand. And finally we prepared the agenda and needed papers for the Executive Committee meeting which will take place in Lima, Peru, April 8-12.
So we achieved a lot during these three weeks of January, and finally it was again weekend at the end of the long work period.
During these weeks we also had several visitors, Professor Fred Coalter spent two days with us evaluating the One Million Voices research. We had Professor Marek from Warsaw University visiting us to plan for the next research, following a new method. Then we had Lori Swann and Tom Massey visiting us from the USA. Many of you will remember them as sponsors of the NAYDO conferences, working for the consulting company DAXCO. They had been sailing with us on the Peace boat from Venice to Barcelona in October and wanted to learn more about the visions and the work of the World YMCA and they offered help and assistance with the Youth Empowerment vision!
A sad moment was when we had to say goodbye to Ian Green on our staff team. He has been appointed CEO of the Terrence Higgins Trust, the largest and most influential UK NGO focused on Sexual Health Issues and HIV-AIDS. A very important position and we thank Ian for his outstanding work for us over the last two and a half years and wish him God’s Speed and lots of success in his new challenges!