Last Saturday marked my first ever JCI Summerfest and I certainly wasn’t disappointed! JCI Summerfest is all about Southern Chambers getting together for a day of training, meeting other members, chatting and having fun!
Arriving at 9.30am, I was greeted by the lovely JCI Southampton team who had organised the event…as well as an excellent supply of Krispy Kreme donuts!
After introductions, the day kicked off with training on the power of teamwork from JCI UK National Personal Development Director, Sarah Beckwith. The training exercises brought a smile to everyone’s faces as we all worked in groups to prevent a raw egg breaking when dropped from a height…sounds random but was very good fun and had us all working together.
Next up was a tour of the BBC in Southampton, where we got to chill out on the red sofas in the BBC News TV studios as well as hang out in the radio station and watch a programme being recorded.
By lunchtime we were ready for a bite to eat and headed off to the wonderful Chariteas Tea House in Marlands Shopping Centre. Chariteas is run by Adam and Tracey Gregory in conjunction with their U Support charity. The profits from Chariteas goes to help provide experiences for young people who are disabled, disadvantaged, deprived or diagnosed with a life limiting condition.
The young people who run the tea room were fantastic and made us feel so welcome. Their afternoon tea selection was fab too! Thanks, guys!
In the afternoon, it was time to head to the YMCA to meet Support Worker, Sharlain, along with some of the young people she works with. JCI Southampton have been working on a food bank project this year and Summerfest was when the food was arriving at the YMCA. We chatted to Sharlain and the young people who live in the YMCA-run accommodation and heard some awful stories which will stay with me for a long time. However, it was the work that YMCA does and the strength of the young people that really stood out for me.
Hearing the story of a young man who has lived in the woods for the past 6 years to escape his troubled family background brought a tear to my eye. Yet, his positivity, resilience and readiness to move on from his past left me in awe.
Summerfest ended at the YMCA and as I said goodbye to Sharlain, the young people at the YMCA and fellow JCI members and new friends, I realised how completely humbled I was by my experience. Meeting Scott* – beaten every day by his Mum until he was 15 and living in the woods for the past 6 years with no one knowing he existed made me realise how lucky many of us are and we can all definitely do a little to help each other out.
For more info about these fantastic charities, please go to:
U Support: http://www.usupport.org.uk/
*Name has been changed
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Stephen Wells