At the end of July, I was fortunate enough to attend the JCI European Academy (EA) which is a unique leadership training programme hosted by JCI Goteborg for Jaycees aspiring to leadership positions in their chamber or beyond.
Apart from knowing that I wanted to develop my leadership skills and network, I didn’t know what to expect from the Academy. I’m a relative new Jaycee – I joined in December last year and due to circumstance I ended up becoming London International Director in May (which goes to show that you don’t have to be a long-term member to get involved!). EA was also my first international JCI event. So before I set off for Sweden, I spoke to a couple of London Jaycees who had attended in previous years. They both told me two things: (1) “It’s a once it a lifetime experience, you’ll have a fantastic time” and (2) “make sure you get a good night’s sleep before you head off!”. I couldn’t sum it up better!
The Academy is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. The training and trainers are great, and I left pumped with enthusiasm, inspiration and ideas not only for my JCI work but for my career and personal life as well. I also made friends for life rather than just an expanded network – I mean the type of friends that even after long periods without contact the fondness remains. The sense of community, as cheesy as it sounds, is inspirational and is a great reminder of the impact JCI has in creating positive change.
However, what I got out of EA most is greater self-awareness and confidence. I have a better understanding of my strengths, weaknesses and preferences, and how to use them to create positive change at JCI, at work and at home. I can also better recognise these qualities in others. This in turn has made me a more decisive and assured person. I feel ready to tackle new challenges outside of my comfort zone which I was ‘umming and ahhing’ about before.
I would recommend EA to anyone looking not only for great training but personal challenge as well. It is an intense programme, an emotional rollercoaster at times, and an open mind is a must. But like all good things, you get out what you put in. So throw yourself in wholeheartedly, you will not regret it!
Written by Katie Dash, JCI London International Director 2016
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Rafael Tselikas