Posted by: thebluemusicblog | March 22, 2018


It has always been clear to us that young people need empowerment. It was equally clear to us that the small and medium size National YMCAs also needed empowerment – they needed a place around the tables of power and influence. To give them that, we needed to see them every year at least once.


Michal presenting the refugee project

We knew that it would take time, but we believed that the regularity of the annual NGS-meetings would help change the situation in a good way.


Denise from England and Wales

It was very interesting to listen to the opinions of the National General Secretaries from five continents. The first meeting in Dunford House in England was very positively evaluated – it was obviously meeting a strong need for people working lonely jobs.


Alexei from Russia

At the end of the first NGS meeting it was unanimously declared that annual meetings were needed to strengthen the unity in the movement and to give all of us the necessary feeling of belonging to the larger context of YMCA in the world.



Nikos Bibiris from Greece

The principle was going to be the same: A host movement would pay for the meeting cost together with WAY and making the meeting free of cost for the participants.


What is building up in our garden?

Travel was to be paid by the participants, but bursaries were given according to the travel policy of the WAY. Lack of funds should not make participation in the NGS meetings impossible. These meetings were regarded top priority and therefore given a line in the budget.



A hamburger shop!

In 2014 the NGS meeting met in Kassel, Germany, hosted by the German YMCA. We also met at the World Council in Estes Park, Colorado, in the summer of 2014.



Ernesto from Mexico

In 2015 we met in Mexico, hosted by Ernesto (picture above!), in 2016 in Thailand, Chiang Mai and in 2017 in Tanzania, at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Every year the meeting grew larger.


Michal and Selma from our staff

These meetings have been instrumental in bringing NEW WAY and OUR WAY strategies through to implementation in the national movements around the world and also to bringing us a huge group of fabulous Change Agents.


The whole group (almost) of National Secretaries

A growing number of National YMCAs have decided to align their National Strategies with the World strategies, thereby strongly strengthening the unity of the movement! None of these important developments would have happened without the annual NGS meetings.


Gwenael from Haiti

In 2018 we met in Leysin in the Swiss mountains just above Montreux. A record breaking number of 60 leaders of National Movements, Area Movements and the World Alliance first met at the headquarter of the World YMCA in Clos Belmont 12, Geneva, for a welcome party in our offices.




Peter Dinsdale from Canada

Since our office would be too small for a dinner party for 60 people, we hired the only hamburger wagon in Geneva to come to our garden and they served burgers and soft drinks until we had fed YMCA leaders from 5 continents.



Antonio from LACA

From there we went into the beautiful, mighty mountains of Switzerland to celebrate our achievements together and to prepare for the 19th World Council in Chiang Mai, Thailand, July 8-14, 2018.



Jared from Kenya

In the middle of that conference we took the cable cars to the top of the mountains and had a spectacular view of the Swiss Alps in splendid sunshine. It was a mountain top experience in more ways than one!



During the NGS meeting we prepared for the collective story of all the National Secretaries: Our joint travel through Youth Empowerment. It will the performed at the World Council in Chiang Mai July 8-14 this summer, all the National Secretaries on stage at the same time!


Romulo and Carlos from our staff, and I am proud and very happy to introduce Carlos Sanvee as my follower as Secretary General! Great news!

A few of us made an extra excursion to the Ice Cathedral in Leysin to estimate if it would be large enough to host one of the devotions during the meting.


It was very special and vey beautiful, even if it was one of the coldest churches I have ever visited.


Unfortunately it was too small to host 60 people at the same time, but many others from the group made a visit to this excellent place of worship. It is rebuilt every winter!


Carlos, Romulo, Humbly Yours, Jose and Andrew from our staff team

Having been to church, all of us fell for the temptation to use the ice glider down from the mountain top. We rented a rubber wheel to slide on and went for the adventures!


It was great fun, after the first feeling of panic had left our body, mind and spirit and we were just gliding beautifully down the ice in warm afternoon sunshine.


More preparations for the collective story of the Journey through Youth Empowerment!


Enjoying the mountain top experience and good friendship together with Jose!XH7iqNcLSs+JsQ22EWiiOA

Christian Kamara from Sierra Leone. Together with colleagues listening to the wisdom of Jørgen Kvist from Denmark.

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