Posted by: thebluemusicblog | November 1, 2016


For the opening plenary yesterday Andrew had written a short version of the history of the YMCA movement and as I read the text he made drawings to illustrate the history. The result was really inspiring!

The way ahead may look straight and easy, but there are plenty of challenges and tasks to complete. To help deliver OUR WAY Strategy we have assembled more than 50 YMCA practitioners from all corners of the world in beautiful Litomysl in Czech Republic, at the YMCA Europe Training Centre.

We came in yesterday and shall work together for  three full working days until Friday morning. We need to have meetings of the Refugee Initiative, the Research Team, the Property Development Group, a team to work on the new strategy from 2018-22 and the Resource Groups and the International Secretaries. Why not holding all those meetings in one place at the same time so that we can have interesting plenaries together all of us when we are not in work group sessions?

That became the YMCA OUR WAY Strategy Delivery Summit, and we organized it for the second time now.

Ghassan Sayah from Lebanon is an experienced worker from the YMCA refugee scene.

Here Jared Musima at the front, NGS from Kenya and active in the Property Group.

Nirina Rakotomalala, NGS from Madagascar and leader of the Unemployment Group. She gave us the devotion this morning.

Alexei Kostyakov, NGS from Russia together with Nirina and also Ken Montgomery from England gave feedback to my presentation of the OUR WAY Strategy delivery.

The plenary in the main hall of the Training Centre.

Alexandra Box, NGS from France and active in Strategy development.

Peter Burns, with new Job title as Chief Spacemake at Victoria YMCA in Melbourne, Australia, gave a superb key note speech this morning, mesmerizing us all with deep insight in the global YMCA movement and the need for us to become much more of a social movement.

“Lessons learned implementing change strategy at a large YMCA,” was the theme for Peter’s speech.

“If we are not becoming more like a social movement we will loose the young people.

We need to be a little crazy in this movement to have things done!”

He said that his 6000 employees and 1200 volunteers all could say without doubt what Victoria YMCA stands for: Youth Empowerment!

Dr Philip Kwok from Hong Kong, active in the Property Group. Philip is former long term President of APAY.

Jason Stacey, England, and active in the Communication team.

Powerful statements from Peter’s outstanding speech. He inspired and lifted us up.

After the key note questions and comments came rolling like sand on the beach, and Peter filled two hours with shining words and deep wisdom. I was thoroughly impressed and enthusiastic.

Below the key lessons from Peter.

And below wisdom from two fish….

If something looks to good to be true, it is often exactly that!

As Peter concluded his speech the four guys underneath participated in one of Peter’s group excercises.

In the afternoon all the workgroups met for two different sessions and now we are going for supper and then follows the evening plenary with reports from the Refugee Group and the Research Team. The atmosphere is great here!

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