Ok so I know it was a few weeks ago now but I am still on a high from the European Conference! I have also just about caught up after having 10 days off. International events are an amazing experience and to go as representative from a chamber only months old was even better.
After having a few days off in the sun we finally arrived to conference opening day! I had been looking forward to this day since I went to European conference in Germany two years ago as JCI Barnsley’s Deputy President. Where those two years have gone I just don’t know. They have been the most amazing, stressful, tiring and energetic two years of my life. I was determined to make it to Malta and I am so glad I did.
Opening day we meet all the JCI UK delegation in the Londoner for a welcome cocktail then we all headed back to get Union Jacked up ready for the opening ceremony. In a very knightly way the Maltese gave us a true taste of the history of their island. We all then jumped and cheered as we welcomed all the JCI National President’s (and partners) onto the stage. You can imagine what kind of welcome Kate and Dan got! The best way to describe this is kind of like the Eurovision Song contest. With flags waving, people cheering and everyone in the best spirits. Followed by very warm welcome party. The temperature very rarely dropped below 20 the whole time we were there, including at night. With the days reaching 34 degrees in the shade so it was warm in more ways than one.
True to form JCI Rotherham members we on full force. Over the next few days Gemma and I took in all the best bits the conference had to offer. Over the three days we managed to fit in the following:
Visited and had tea the palace gardens (including Champaign!). Belonging to one of Malta’s top families.
Visited old cities
Had cocktails with friends from members of countries JCI UK are nationally twinned with.
Pool partied with JCI Turkey
Went on boat, train and bus trips
Pool partied with JCI Finland
Supported the debating
Attended training sessions
It was a busy three days! But that takes me to the gala dinner and awards ceremony! This was in the nicest venue I have ever seen a dinner held in and it was in the middle of a roundabout, odd but still.
The awards ceremony was first and with JCI UK very much in the lead on the awards front it was a great night to celebrate. The awards entered into the European awards are the winners of the categories from our national awards held last November. Some of the main highlights for me where JCI Sheffield getting shortlisted for their project Rise (top 5) and JCI Barnsley getting short listed for the most outstanding chamber (top 3). I don’t want to put down any of the other winners or shortlists but these two had very special meaning for me. Fiona our membership director was very heavily involved with Rise in Sheffield last year and as I am sure all of you know I was the 2013 President of JCI Barnsley.
Fiona and I joined forces to start JCI Rotherham at the beginning of the year and I just can’t think of a better start for us. I am so so proud of the members of Sheffield and even more so the members of Barnsley and the council team. Both chambers have been so supportive of JCI Rotherham and we really wouldn’t be where we are without their support. Both chambers are doing so well again this year that I know they will be on the screens at the awards in Turkey next year.
I also want to say a massive well done to Southampton for both of their awards (most outstanding president and costa academy) and Mark form Sheffield for most outstanding new member.
With the awards over the night it was party and celebration time! One song over the whole week kept getting me and that was ‘wake me up when it’s all over, when I am wiser and I’m older’ Looking back over the last two years I feel like exactly that has happened. It has been incredible and we have an even more incredible 6 months ahead.
We are now also going to start looking forward at the future of JCI Rotherham and all preparing for when Charlotte, her fantastic energy and a the 2015 council team (don’t worry I will be a very hands off and supportive IPP I am going nowhere!) takes over in January. As that moment will symbolise the future that our amazing, energetic and ambitious little chamber! The work isn’t over this year yet by any means but as a new chamber this year we need to make sure we have the right foundations in place. I hope you will all help us plan and grow for our bright future, what do you think, JCI Rotherham on the European screens next year?
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Charlie Pearson