A month has passed since the European Conference
in Riga, Latvia, yet we can still hear the inspiring keynote speakers, see the spectacular midsummer bonfires and feel the excitement from the gala dinner.
Our JCI Journeys
usually focus on the experiences of 1 member. However, as Riga far exceeded our expectations (which were already pretty high), we have 3 wonderful guest bloggers
for this article:
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Sophie Delaporte (JCI Southampton)[/caption]
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Zoe Toseland (JCI Southampton)[/caption]
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Mark Cheret (JCI London)[/caption]
Unsurprisingly, Sophie, Zoe and Mark found it difficult to choose only 1 event highlight...
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Our bloggers enjoying the midsummer festivities at Jurmala Beach[/caption]
JCI's European Conferences are always good fun and Riga seemed particularly well organised. Even though I only attended the last 2 days of this conference, it felt like an amazing holiday
. I enjoyed a fantastic gala dinner and caught up with members and friends I'd met at previous international events. I particularly loved the Midsummer Festival in Jurmala where we discovered Latvian culture.
Flower crowns, fires on the beach and traditional folk music...I loved every minute!
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James Lambert (L), Sophie (C) and Zoe (R) at the pre-gala dinner drinks reception[/caption]
Aside from the very unexpected award for Most Outstanding New Member, the women's leadership workshop was really empowering. It was fantastic to hear Dawn Hetzel and Chiara Milani - past JCI World Presidents - talk about challenges and barriers for women going into leadership roles.
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Women in leadership workshop[/caption]
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JCI UK members at Easy Beer restaurant[/caption]
With the excitement of new experiences at conferences, you sometimes forget to stay properly hydrated, well fed and adequately rested. With the European Conference in Riga, I had no issue with the first 2 points. Food and drinks were plentiful, and for lunch attendees were encouraged to explore the city's amazing restaurants
. This was an excellent twist to what you'd usually expect from a large-scale event (monotonously lining up for a centralised heated food tent!). Regarding sleep, I'd chosen to thoroughly enjoy the international flair rather than staying within the 4 walls of the - admittedly very impressive - hotel room.
What inspired me the most, however, was the camaraderie amongst the UK delegation; it felt like being part of an immense and caring family
. Members flew in just for the gala dinner, to show their support and cheer on the nominees. The authenticity filled me with a great energy and I'll never forget my time in beautiful Riga.
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Riga: a beautiful and unforgettable city[/caption]
Feeling inspired? JCI hosts conferences ranging from national, to European to global:
JCI UK National Convention 2018 / Doncaster, South Yorkshire / 23rd-25th November / Website
JCI World Congress 2018 / Goa, India / 30th October - 3rd November / Website
JCI European Conference 2019 / Lyon, France / 8th-11th May / Facebook Page