Proud as punch!
Proud as punch!
I'm not even going to attempt an intro here.... I'm just going to dive straight in.... MARK SMITH IS OFFICIALLY THE MOST OUTSTANDING MEMBER IN EUROPE!!
Phew. I still can't stop grinning at that. For those of you who don't already know, nine JCI Sheffield members flew out to Malta last week for the JCI European Convention. You'll be seeing loads of blogs and updates in the coming days so I'll stick to just a few of my highlights.
The awards ceremony not only saw Mark recognised for his incredible hard work and general awesomeness, but also saw JCI Sheffield's partnership with RISE shortlisted in the top three local economic empowerment projects. I'm so excited that this project is going from strength to strength with more interns involved, Sophie joining our team as RISE liaison officer and more joint events scheduled.
I was so proud to see how involved all of our members were throughout the week. We were there at trainings, key note speeches, the beach better community project, company tours, sightseeing and, of course, all the parties. We got to see our very own Kate Senter take to the stage as National President during the Opening Ceremony, and then see her in action again during General Assembly. This was a brilliant insight into how JCI works at an international level and I would recommend it to anyone. We also picked up some informal JCI UK awards including best first timer (Hannah), most union jackage (Mark) and moistest delegate (no comment).
No update on the EC for me would be complete without a mention of the debating competition. As captain of the JCI UK team I was freaking terrified - I not only missed the party the night before but also breakfast on the morning. Seriously, no drinking and no eating? That never happens. I should not have worried though because my team mates, Ben and Ricky, were nothing short of awesome - despite a slight "stuck in the lift" drama. I am so lucky to have worked with them and beyond delighted that we made the final, where we were narrowly beaten by our Scottish friends. Nothing prepared me for the support we would get from the rest of Team UK. The audience was a sea of union jacks and the cheering was deafening. Roll on Leipzig!
Twinning is winning
The conference also gave me a chance to catch up with our twins from JCI Mayo, and the opportunity to cheer Derek on in his role as JCI Ireland National President. Our relationship with them has inspired other chambers to reignite twinning relationships and it's great to see plans taking shape - not least between JCI Leeds and JCI Dublin (with a member of each sharing our apartment) and JCI Cork and JCI Manchester (who joined us for sightseeing).
Don't forget the JCI Mayo gang will be over in Sheffield from 11 to 13 July so contact Matthew to get involved!
EC also gave us an opportunity to spend more time with our buddies from the South! You all need to give Katie Ogley a MASSIVE thank you here for pairing us up as we really have hit the jackpot. JCI Southampton picked up two European awards - best CSR project and best local president - and were shortlisted for more (including best new member and best overall project).
Better than that though, these guys are loads of fun to be around and are totally up for sharing best practice and building relationships between our chambers. We'll be heading down for the AGM in September and I'll be keeping in regular contact with their president, Max (if only to check on his injuries...). If you have ideas for joint events and projects then let me know.
Finally, one last thank you from me, on behalf of the Chamber, to our international director Matthew. No one could have done a better job of promoting the conference, booking accommodation and generally keeping us organised. I'm happy to be leaving the JCI Sheffield World Congress delegation in his capable hands!
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11 Jun 2023