My duties as International President are soon coming to an end. «It has been a very good year» which is the title of one of the songs performed by Frank Sinatra about fifty years ago. Sinatra mentioned all the girls he had met. I like to change the subject and think about all the wonderful people I have met from all over the world on various occasions and visits through this year.
My IP year started last year in St Petersburg, Russia, where I attended the Russian Region conference on 1 July as well as celebrated the 25th year jubilee of the brother Club to my own local club. Having been an Area Europe Mentor for Russia for several years, this was a very symbolic way to stop my work as such as I started as IP on the same day. Later I have travelled South Korea, India, United States, Thailand and several places in Europe to mention some places my IP position has brought me.
Everywhere I have met dedicated Y’s Men, willing to serve, to work in their local community either as Y’s Men or in co operation with the local YMCA. I have been included in their local fellowship, and I established friendship all across the globe.
I feel we are all a part of a big family, where Friendship really exists across the borders, and where we, in spite of coming from different cultures, also are moving forward together.
To be an International President is not only travel, to represent and to celebrate. It also includes a lot of hard paperwork, day and night, sitting at the computer in online meetings and stay tuned with the various members across the globe. The position has given me big challenges, negotiations, even frustration, but mostly joy, excitement and thankfullness for being privileged to serve others through acknowledge the duty that accompanies every right.
Being an International President further means teamwork. As a member of the IP troika and the IEOs (International Executive Officers, I have been working very close with my collegaues in these positions during my IP term. We have really learnt to know each other well, and I must say that I regard them as close and personal friends. They stand up for each other when needed giving help and assistance when challenges appear. I am also very grateful for the good team work I have been able to share with the Area leaders and the ICM’s. Also thanks for all the encouragement I have received.
As our positions shall soon be taken over by others, I am happy to say that I have a local club where I belong and where I shall gradually return. It is crucial that we as international leaders remember where we started as Y’s Men, and that the clubs and their lives are the basic for the existence of the Y’s Men movement.
My motto as IP has been Let us walk in the Light- Together. It is my hope and my prayer that our wonderful movement globally shall continue to walk in the same direction, prepared to meet the rapidly approaching 2022, when our 100 years anniversary shall be celebrated. Time is running fast, and we are already making preparations for the anniversary, preparing ourselves for a Y’s Men movement which is going forward, being visible in the local community and attractive to new members, strenghten our relations to YMCA and also serve locally and globally to help those in need.
I have felt God’s blessing in my IP term, he has been walking besides me, and it is my prayer that God will keep his hand over my successor, Moon Sang Bong, when he soon takes my position.
Asker, Norway, June 2018
Henry J Grindheim