I was persuaded by Kate Senter last year to go to a conference. She’d just come back from Tarragona, Spain and was full of enthusiasm. So when the opportunity to go to Braunschweig (Brunswick) came up, I leapt at the chance. I am sure glad I did go.
I’ve been to many conferences through work and this one was the best one by a country mile. It’s probably not a fair comparison because most conferences are commercial ones that need to generate a profit. This leaves less money for the venues, food and drink. With this conference, though, there was a huge budget and the Germans used it well. No expense seemed to have been spared and I experienced first-hand the world famous German efficiency in action.
I don’t think I can do the conference justice in one blog post so I’ll just concentrate on the international element of the conference. For the parties, I think the pictures on Facebook can describe them better than I can in words, you can find out more about the trainings* here and the social visits here. Over the next few days other delegates will be blogging about their experiences too. As this was the European Convention in Germany you’d expect the majority of delegates to be European but there were a surprising number of other nationalities represented, Cambodia, Australia, Japan and many more. Nigeria even made it in to the top 10 countries by delegate numbers.
|Top 10 Countries by Delegate Numbers|
JCI UK is part of a sub group called Bansi (Britain, Austrailia, New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland plus Malta). This is handy in terms of getting to know people as there was a little event organised just for us but more importantly, we cheered each other on at every opportunity. At the awards ceremony when Ireland picked up the debating championships award, I almost felt like John Terry when I was basking in their glory!
Official twinning ceremony between JCI Sheffield and JCI Mayo
Throughout the conference, there was opportunity to meet people from all over the world. The interactive trainings* sessions, the company tours or just catching the bus from event to event all provided opportunities to interact with Jaycees from all around the world. It’s interesting to see how other JCI Chambers work around the world. For example, in Germany, they only let entrepreneurs and senior managers in to the organisation.
Possibly the best place to meet people were at the parties. Most people made an effort to dress in colours of their national country. This made it easy to identify the nationalities and after a few beers you can pretty much talk to anyone. I had a great time having a bit of friendly banter with the Swedish person about the decline of their national team (this was after England beat them 3-2 and knocked them out of the European Championships). All very light hearted and fun.
I’d recommend to anyone involved in JCI to attend at least one international event. Even if you are not interested in meeting international Jaycees, you get to know the UK delegation better. Sheffield has some fantastic members but there are some excellent members from other UK Chambers too.
- JCI European Conference 2012. Braunschweig
- JCI European Conference 2013. – Monte Carlo
- JCI UK Facebook
- JCI Sheffield Facebook
*This is not a typo. In JCI Europe, they have ‘trainings’ sessions.
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This post was written by Ben Luong