Three months after joining JCI London, I find myself heading to my first international JCI event – the European Capitals Meeting in Copenhagen with the inspiring theme ‘From Fairy Tales to Global Success’.
The Jaycee welcome in the arrivals hall at Copenhagen Airport immediately made me feel at home. After dropping my case at my hotel, I headed to the harbour area of Nyhavn for a pre-tour walk around the canals to see the Little Mermaid statue before the welcome party in the meatpacking district. Everyone enjoyed the free beer and cider donated by Carlsberg! On the drinks table there was a donation box for JCI Copenhagen International’s schools project in Liberia, which has a similar goal to our own London to Ghana project in fundraising for school books.
The theme for Friday was global success. We began the morning at the Vartov conference centre where we heard inspiring stories on developing success from Frans Mikael Jansen, Director General of Action Aid Denmark, and Lars Christian Brask, a banker who has also been the tour manager for the pop band Aqua. In the afternoon we walked over to the Culture Centre where we heard from Hans Jorgen Wiberg about an iPhone app ‘Be My Eyes’ enabling volunteers to support visually impaired people with everyday activities such as reading food labels, and from Helen Dahl, Director of the Tivoli Gardens, Denmark’s largest amusement park. John Raagauge then led an interactive session focusing on understanding your mind, body, and feelings in order to create success and live your passion. Key pieces of advice given to us by the speakers were:
‘You have to buy the lottery ticket to have a chance of winning’
‘Success is doing more of what you are good at’
‘The expert in everything was once a beginner’
The afternoon continued with a workshop. JCI members were divided into fairy tale groups (I was a Thumberlina) to discuss ‘in which areas can we make a JCI capital chapter more successful and how?’ There were lots of creative ideas which I’ll be sharing with the Council team. We then heard that next year’s ECM will be in Ankara and include an optional pre-tour to Cappadocia. Friday finished with dinner and drinks at Bof og Ost – a french inspired Danish restaurant.
Saturday morning started with a treasure hunt around Copenhagen. We were split into our teams and given clues to take us to various sites around the city, at which we had to complete tasks including walking three legged, learning a dance routine, pronouncing difficult Danish words and answering random questions. We then went to the canal for a boat ride round Copenhagen before a guided tour of the Opera House. The highlight of the weekend was a fairy tale themed dinner – everyone went to town to create stunning outfits. As Maid Marion I even managed to find my Robin Hood!
ECM finished on the Sunday morning with brunch – a delicious buffet with a glass of bubbly. Stephan Bouman, conference director, reminded us that fairy tales end with “they all lived happily ever after” and there will be opportunities for us to continue our JCI journey together at the European Conference in Istanbul and at ECM 2016. Marco handed over the London delegation’s thank you gifts – Pimms and a Keep Calm mug.
ECM is a brilliant concept and is perfect for new members looking to network internationally on a smaller scale. I leave after three jam packed days having made 90 new friends from all over Europe. Thank you to Stephan and his JCI Copenhagen International team for amazing weekend. We look forward to seeing you in Ankara in 2016!
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Michaela Schaller