I don’t blog very often, you might have guessed that with the lack of them this year so far. It means that when I do set out to write one, it must be a very special reason. I’m sure that everyone who attended the 2018 European Conference in Riga, Latvia over the past week would agree that it classes as very special.
For JCI UK, it was Extra Special for three very important reasons. The three European Awards we won! The winners were: –
- JCI Belfast: Best Local Peace Project with #ShapingOurFuture Conference
- JCI Cambridge: Best Local Growth & Development Programme with Micro Volunteering
- Zoe Toseland from JCI Southampton for Most Outstanding New Member
We also got shortlisted a further three times, including JCI London, JCI Cambridge and JCI UK. These are an amazing result and growing on our take home of last year two European Awards. JCI UK and the Local Chambers that make up our organisation always punch above our weight in awards and it’s a testament to the hard work that you, the members, put in day in, day out to make sure the projects we run have a real lasting impact on our communities.
The team we entered into the Debating contest did very well and got through to the close Semi-Finals, only just missing a place in the final to JCI Malta. A big thank you and well done to Charlotte Scothern from JCI Rotherham who took part in the public speaking competition as a stand-in at short notice. With only one day to prep, she got through to the final three and gave a speech that was superb. We also sow one of our newest Chambers, JCI Nottingham, sign a twinning agreement with JCI Constanta from Romania. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this relationship grows, and I’m sure both chambers involved will have huge gains from it.
The conference wasn’t all about the awards though. Over 1500 JCI members from across Europe came together for four days of training, networking, personal development and keynote speeches. With training sessions ranging from money management to how to effectively make a cold call, there was something that everyone could learn from. The conference ran alongside an excellent Business Forum which was open to the wider Riga business network, allowing JCI Members to explore new opportunities with people they would otherwise have never met.
Of course, it wasn’t all work. Delegates had at least one party every night (normally with one of two after parties as well). During the day, if they wanted to take a break from the sessions at the conference, there were a range of trips they could go on to see tourist hot spots around the area, or just wander around the amazingly beautiful city centre of Riga.
Myself and Mark Smith were busy representing you, the JCI UK members, at the Presidents Meeting and the Congress Assembly where topics were discussed and voted on ranging from how the new JCI Facilitator course can best be rolled out, to the large reforms proposed to the European Development Council.
I’m now back home, but I still have such an amazing feeling that you only get from a JCI regional conference. It’s very hard work, but so much fun at the same time. If you’ve not been to a European Convention, the next one is in Lyon, France from 8th to 11th May 2019 and you can find more information here. Can’t wait a year to get an international JCI fix? Then World Congress in Goa is coming up at the end of October. It promises to be a good one with an expected 5000 delegates from around the world coming together to learn and develop together. If you want to join us, you can register here.
This post was written by Ben Hawley