Junior chamber members are saving lives by halting the spread of malaria, and helping to sell Yorkshire to a global audience.
Yorkshire entrepreneurs are leading a UK revival of Junior Chamber International (JCI), the organisation that supports young business leaders.
JCI’s Yorkshire and Lincolnshire network has almost 170 members, and Kate Senter, the president of Sheffield JCI, is helping to relaunch the operation in Birmingham, where JCI has struggled in recent years.
Yorkshire’s growing importance as a base for the JCI network is reflected in the fact that the county has staged the JCI UK National Convention twice in the last three years – Sheffield in 2011 and Leeds in 2009.
JCI – a volunteer network for people in their twenties and thirties – was founded in 1915 in St Louis, Missouri. It spread to the UK in 1925. JCI gives young professionals the chance to take part in community projects.
“The Yorkshire chambers support each other in a way that is not replicated elsewhere in the UK,” said Ms Senter. “We are all proud of our individual chambers but we are extremely proud to be JCI Yorkshire. That’s why we collectively hosted the JCI UK national convention, which was held in Sheffield and billed as ‘The Only Way is Yorkshire’.”
Sheffield is one of the biggest individual chambers with 80 members, while Leeds has 50. Bradford, Doncaster, Barnsley and Boston in Lincolnshire have 38 members between them.
Over the years, JCI in Yorkshire has provided mentoring for young people who have gone on to achieve national prominence. Bernard Hogan-Howe, the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, is a former member of JCI Sheffield.
Former US Presidents Al Gore, Bill Clinton and John F Kennedy were all members of JCI in the US.
In Leeds, JCI members have been doing their bit to fight malaria as part of a national campaign. Members produced a charity calendar to support the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign and they held a fashion show.
Ms Senter added: “2011 has seen many chambers increase their numbers and deliver award winning programmes. We are already seeing chambers working together to provide a truly regional offering to members and this is where our strength lies.
“In Yorkshire, we work as a team to provide the best value and the best experience for members.”
Ms Senter has been given the job of “rebuilding” JCI in Birmingham, where the chamber is due to be revived at an event this month (JAN). She added: “2012 will be about strengthening our chambers and ensuring that we continue to be a relevant and accessible organisation for ambitious young people who want to make a positive impact.”
Published in the Yorkshire Post on Monday 2 January 2012 10:50
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by James Lambert