So, as most of you will know after finishing my year as local President I had a complete life overhaul including setting up a new business, relocating to Wigan and getting cats! All of which has been amazing but has meant I have not been able to be as active locally in JCI as I would like.
Luckily, the JCI Scotland national conference, hosted by JCI Aberdeen, came at just the right time to get me fully back into the swing of things. Here are just a few of my highlights from a truly epic weekend…
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of debating (less so of those cheeky Scots who always beat us….) so I was really honoured to be asked to judge both the Members v Senators and Edinburgh v Aberdeen competitions. Both debates were of such a high quality that my job was very tough! It’s safe to say that Scotland will be going into Europe and World competitions as the ones to beat.
Extempore is always a fun competition, tinged with a fair few nerves once Mr Oli Hyde gets on stage… I’m pleased to say he kept (just) on the right side of appropriate! The UK kept up their high standard with our very own President and crazy cat lady, Mark, making the winning speech.
The public speaking competition was another tough call, between Elaine from Aberdeen and Katy from Edinburgh. Katy collected the trophy for a very brave and inspiring speech on mental health and a fab organisation called Time to Change. Go look them up now - or, actually, finish reading this, then look them up.
Food & Drink
I’ll be honest. I’m pretty greedy at the best of times. And I have been known to like a drink (or four… I blame Tracy). So imagine how excited I was to learn the theme for the keynote speakers was Scotland’s Year of Food & Drink! The panel shared their stories of setting up World Whisky Day, renovating bars with snooker balls and creating a multimillion pound catering company. We certainly left feeling inspired!
It wasn’t just the speakers that showcased the best of Scotland’s food & drink though; the Aberdeen conference team provided us with free cocktails (thanks 10 Dollar Shake), late night mac n cheese, and a gorgeous gala dinner. They even thought ahead enough to provide Berocca in the mornings!
Awards, ceilidh and a wee dram of whisky!
The gala dinner saw awards being handed out to the Scottish chambers in recognition of their projects and members’ development. I was also thrilled to witness Leeanne and Patrick (my debating nemeses) speechless for the first time ever as they picked up senatorships for their outstanding contribution to JCI. Thoroughly well deserved.
Post dinner, it was time to kick off the heels and risk my life on the dancefloor. If you’ve not been involved in a ceilidh before, let’s just say it is a VERY energetic, dizzy spell inducing, crazy form of country dancing. Oh, and you will definitely come away with bruised arms and broken toes!
The rest of the evening was spent doing what we jaycees do best: catching up with our friends from across the country and around Europe. For me it was also my first opportunity this year to catch up with my Yorkshire buddies, something I’ll be sure to be doing more of without travelling quite so far.
All that remains to be said is… if this sounds like your kind of weekend then get yourself booked on for the JCI UK National Conference hosted by our friends at JCI Barnsley in November. I’ve been guaranteed it will be even better!!
Ilona Alcock - Immediate Past President
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11 Jun 2023