From chocolate tasting to partying in a tram shed to dinning on the titanic what a year it’s been!
Almost exactly a year after my first JCI event it was time to pack up and head off to Belfast for national conference. With an early morning planned Gemma pick me up in Thursday night and we started our weekend with something very JCI conference or convention needs, pink champagne!
Friday saw us land in Belfast and after checking in and heading to the hotel it was time to hit the Christmas market for food and mulled wine. Friday afternoon started with a business talk then Oli took to the stage for public speaking (with a pint in hand!). Gemma and I got a little list on our way to one of the most exclusive clubs in Belfast in Friday night (funnily enough it was well hidden!) but our Scottish friends saved us. Thanks to Stan and his gadgets we made it in one piece, with wine and food flowing we stated to cat h up with friends from all over the county.
Saturday morning meant national council and dealing with issues that affect our local and national organisations. With just enough time to fit it some shopping and sightseeing it was tactical nap time then off to support Ben and the Yorkshire team in debating. In my completely one sided opinion Yorkshire were easily the best!
Dinning on the titanic was the highlight of the weekend and Barnsley winning national awards was just a cherry on top! I was honoured to be awarded a certificate of merit for best new member, even though I feel like I have been in JCI for a life time.
Sunday morning saw me up early for deputy presidents training and 2013 planning which were fantastic and I can’t wait to work with all the local presidents next year. I also laughed when I saw how ill all the Barnsley members (Ben) were.
With a visit to titanic Belfast it was time to head home again.
And just as I did after EC here are a few things I have learned:
- Drinking with Stan gets easier as you learn how I get away.
- Water is still a must at all times.
- I am a big geek and love all the training and competitions.
- Oli is an amazing public speaker just never give him a bead necklace.
- And last but not least – my JCI UK friends are amazing!
By Charlie Pearson, 2013 JCI Barnsley President
I love Saturdays. They’re great. Especially when you’ve gone away for the weekend. They are normally the only full day you get on a weekend break as Friday and Sunday have large parts of them dedicated to travelling. So there was no way I wasn’t going to make sure I made full use of the Saturday at my first JCI National Conference, and do as much as possible.
Saturday morning offered two choices, national council or a treasure hunt around Belfast centre. As I wasn’t officially Deputy President of JCI Barnsley yet, and the fact I had a hangover to end all hangovers, a nice leisurely walk around Belfast, learning about some if it’s history seemed the best option. JCI Belfast had done a really good job of arranging the route. It took just under two hours to complete and showed participants parts of the city you would normally have missed if they had just walked around by themselves. The highlights for me were the 13 fake eggs in a hotel and the stunning view from the observation deck at Victoria Square which gave great views of the whole city including the old ship yards.
I was glad that the treasure hunt and fresh air had brought me round as in the afternoon I was taking part in the Debating contest. There were four teams in the contest, JCI London, JCI South, JCI North and then our team, JCI Yorkshire. Our team consisted of Dan Senter and Steve Vandevelde from JCI Sheffield and myself from JCI Barnsley. In the first debate, JCI North was knocked out by JCI South, then we were up again JCI London. Our topic was ‘American culture is the biggest cause of the problems in the world today’ and we were opposing it. The video of the debate can be found on the JCI Barnsley YouTube channel, but if you don’t have time to watch it, we won. So the final was between JCI London and ourselves, JCI Yorkshire. The topic for the final was the opening line from Pride and Prejudice, ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife’. This time, we were in favour of the motion which gave us a slight tactical advantage, but it was still a really close debate with both sides making good and valid points. As with the first debate, it can be found on the JCI Barnsley YouTube channel. We would have to wait until the Gala dinner that evening to see who had won.
Saturday was rounded off with the Gala dinner. It was held in the fantastic Titanic building in Belfast which is one of the best venues I’ve attended a formal dinner, if not the best. It was a great evening, hearing from both the 2012 & 2013 national presidents, as well as three members becoming senators. At this point the different completion winners from the weekend were announced and JCI Yorkshire won the Debating. This resulted in chants of YORKSHIRE! From the crowd as we collected the trophy. The evening then moved onto the awards section of the night with JCI Barnsley winning Most Outstanding Growth & Development Programme in the UK and a certificate of Merit for Charlie Pearson as best new member.
The national conference in Belfast was a great way to wrap up 2012 and get people focused ready for 2013. If you’ve not had chance to attend a national JCI event yet, you really should, they’re fantastic.
By Ben Hawley, 2013 JCI Barnsley Deputy President
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Gemma Nicole Fletcher