I was at JCI European Academy in 2018, and I’m sure many of you will have heard the incredible stories about what it’s like to be a delegate, and why it’s an absolute must-attend if you are lucky enough to be offered a place. I’m here to confirm (yet again) that the stories are true! JCI EA is one of the best experiences that you can have in JCI for up-leveling your leadership, personal development and teambuilding skills in record time that you take out into the real world as soon as you leave the Academy.
Having experienced first-hand the phenomenal-ness of what I consider to be the flagship academy for JCI Europe, I wanted to go behind the scenes and find out how an event like this comes together. So, in 2020 I applied to be part of the EA Conference Organising Team and was accepted. I found out that European Academy is at promoted by the Academy Director at the annual European Presidents Meeting, which was held in Chisinau, Moldova in February of that year. And being a curious and adventurous kind of person, I decided to tag along! EPM was a really unique experience, and probably one of my favourite JCI events that I have attended so far. At EPM, I saw how European Academy is promoted at an international level, and also met Europe’s National Presidents (many of whom were JCI EA graduates!). Some of the other trip highlights of the trip were having a banquet dinner in Cricova, one of Europe’s largest wine cellars which is most easily reachable by mini-train, taking a wine-painting class (yes, painting with actual wine) and hopping over the “border” into the unrecognised Republic of Transnistria. Great way to enjoy the benefits of becoming more involved with JCI EA!
Back home, and the job of planning and hosting JCI EA continued with a fantastic international team who bonded and worked together so well over online meetings. Of course, 2020 had other plans for us and so many other event teams. I am so glad that I had the experience of being part of the JCI EA CO Team during 2020. We were an international team planning to host an exceptional event as we navigated a truly exceptional time in history. If there was a way to do this, we would find it!
I was overseeing the marketing for JCI EA in 2020 and wanted to get the tone of communications right. I aimed to hit the right balance of recognising the situation whilst encouraging optimism and the leadership involved in taking a chance even when an outcome is uncertain. At times it was nerve-wracking just before the posts were published as I had no idea how people would respond. In the end, we received over 100 applications for 2020!
Of course, in the end it wasn’t possible for European Academy to go ahead in 2020. So, I decided to apply again in 2021 so that I could have the opportunity to fully experience JCI EA from planning to live event, and was chosen to be part of the 2021 JCI EA CO Team. Though the situation is evolving rapidly, it is different from last year, and there are glimmers of hope for this year’s event. Of course, things could change in either direction but this is what JCI and JCI European Academy are really all about – developing leaders for a changing world!
My role in 2021 is looking after marketing and partnerships so a lot of thought has gone into how best to find a way to communicate and lead our applicants and partners through all that’s happening this year as well. The deadline for 2021 applications has just closed and we again received over 100 applications! The thought of what could be for us this year is so exciting!
So, fingers crossed we’ll be able to meet this year over in Sweden to celebrate 25 years of ground-breaking and innovative leadership development with JCI European Academy.
This post was written by Phoebe Benta Benta