Just before European Conference, JCI London member Chris Adamson was given the opportunity to attend the Growth and Development Academy! He’s written about his experiences in our latest blog.
Traveling to Lyon ahead of the European Conference for the 2019 Growth and Development Academy, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was excited about the prospect of learning from JCI members from across Europe and bringing back some new ideas about how to facilitate growth in JCI when I returned home. As ever with a JCI Academy, it was an intense weekend that didn’t involve a whole lot of sleep, but I left feeling inspired and enthusiastic.
Over the course of the weekend, we took part in a ‘Hackathon’ in which we were split into small teams and were tasked with devising and presenting a project that we could each take back to our local organisations to deliver tangible growth. My team, the ‘Vikings’, named in honour of our Norwegian member, also included members from Romania and the Czech Republic.
The Academy is run by the European Development Council, which is there to support and grow local and national JCI organisations across Europe. Each team was given a mentor from the EDC who was able to keep us on track and ask questions as our discussions and thinking developed over the weekend. Crucially and somewhat frustratingly, the EDC team were keen not to give us too much direction so that we didn’t simply try to recreate projects that have been run before!
It was fascinating and reassuring to see that despite our different circumstances, many of us shared similar problems in our local organisations, and it often felt like there was no way we would have a concrete proposal to present at the end of the weekend, but we got there in the end. The process really focussed our minds on achieving growth and can be applied to all JCI projects, notably by identifying the target audience, deciding the best way to reach this target person and having a clear means through which we can convince that person of the merits of JCI.
Ultimately, the Vikings found that a major problem is that it is often difficult for members to articulate the amazing opportunities that being a JCI member can create. We wanted to develop some resources that we could use, and crucially that other members could use, to showcase what is best about JCI by using examples from each of our organisations. We decided that in highlighting amazing stories from across Europe, we could emphasise the ‘I’ in JCI, and show that JCI is more than just a local or national organisation and is a truly global network.
At the end of the weekend, we had to present our project to a panel consisting of JCI President Alexander Tio, Executive Vice President for Europe Viktor Omarsson and EDC Chair Diana Mardarovici. By the time we had decided on the content of project, we weren’t left with much time to draft and practice our individual parts of the presentation. Luckily enough, I had attended the JCI UK Public Speaking Academy the weekend before, so I was at my peak!
The work of the 2019 Growth and Development Academy continues, as we continue to develop and implement our project ahead of the World Congress in Tallinn in November. So please keep your eyes peeled for some exciting content coming your way!
Attending the 2019 JCI Growth and Development Academy has been one of the most rewarding experiences that I have had as a member of JCI and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to attend in the future.
This post was written by chrisadamson