Once I realised that 2013’s European conference was going to be in Monte Carlo I quite fancied it (hanging out with the rich and famous), when I realised the date…. there was no buts’ I was going to turn 30 out there!
The conference this year was a complete sell out, with a record number of delegates of 2749 attending for all around Europe and the world.
I me up with my fellow JCI Boston member Alli Cowell, my travel companion and roomie. On the date of our flight it wasn’t long before we met our first Jaycee- we had only got to the airport carpark! Once over the channel and safely in Nice we spotted more jaycees, I think we might made the southern regional group chairman Drew Charman jump when he got on the bus and was greeted with a loud ‘Drew’
We made it to Monte Carlo just in time for the UK delegates meeting at our base, the Novetel Hotel. Lina and Tim gave us a quick guide of the conference along with useful practical information. Once checked in our priority then was to make our way over to the conference centre to get registered! We needed that badge before we could do anything at the conference.
The first night was the opening ceremony night, we decided to brave the walk and only got lost twice!! At the stadium entrance we bumped into our National President Emma Eastwood and Immediate Past president Solveig Malvik who had arrived from London after meeting the queen to pick up the Queen’s Jubilees volunteering award for JCI UK.
The ceremony kicked off with being introduced to the VIP guests which included the world president Chiara Milan, the EVP and chairman of the conference JCI UK’s very own Lesley Young and Prince Albert of Monaco- (Prince Albert is a JCI Senator). Each national president and chief delegate were also introduced to the stage and Emma Eastwood got a fab reception with Union jacks flying high! All the VIP’s gave a speech and the conference was declared open. All delegates were then directed to the welcome party where hot dogs, candy floss and popcorn was served.
Thursday day one of the conference. I decided to go to the morning show. An energetic session which I found myself running onto the stage to go under a bed net for a competition. One of our fellow UK delegates was lucky enough to win a ticket to world congress in Rio. After the show, I then walked around the trade show. It was here I found a technique on how to sell our Nothing but nets wristbands. Alli knows quite a few people in JCI she would introduce my to them, then during the conversation I would ask if they would like a wristband- it seemed to work well! I also managed to collect all the postcards for the JCI Malta competition. After a spot of lunch we headed back to the hotel and had a quick dip in the pool to prepare ourselves for the evening’s antics.
We first met up with the Bansi group delegates for pre party drinks. The Bansi group is made up of the UK, Scotland, Ireland, Malta, Australia and New Zealand. The European night took place at a night club called the Ni Box, right next to the ‘tunnel’ with a view of the Mediterranean sea. A perfect night to watch the sun set.
Friday day two of the conference was the day of competitions, I choose the debating to watch. The room was jam packed ad it was a great atmosphere in the room, the loudest supporters were from JCI Catalunya. The UK team of Sarah Beckwith, Katie Ogley and Michael Steel were drawn against our friends from JCI Scotland. After a tight contest JCI UK made it to the next round to take on JCI Finland, despite their best attempts JCI UK didn’t make it to the next round.
The evening’s entertainment was the JCI Malta party. Some UK delegates helped volunteer on the night serving beer, I made sure I did I couple of runs to help out.
Saturday was the final day of the conference, I choose this day to be a tourist. I do like a bit of motor racing so I walked the Formula circuit, as the conference was only 3 days after this year’s grand prix, the grandstands, pit lane, advertising boarding’s were still up. The casino had an collection of sports cars outside it and the port had a collection of shiny big boats. After the lap I made it back to the conference centre and cheered on the JCI UK’s runners doing the challenge ‘ no finish line’
Saturday evening meant is was posh frocks and black tie, The UK delegation met on the hotel’s roof terrace for pre-gala dinner drinks were first timers Kay and James gave out the UK awards. We then headed of back to the conference centre for the awards ceremony. We were the first delegation to arrive and got good seats.
I am very pleased to say the JCI UK came back with two European awards! James Lambert of JCI Southampton won the first timer’s competition (a very worthy winner) , and JCI Barnsley won the best local growth and development program. As now a resident of Barnsley and soon to be member of JCI Barnsley and I am very proud of their achievement. I was also given the responsibility to make sure the award returned safely to the UK…..so no pressure! The union jacks were flying high for EVP Lesley Young who gave a closing speech. We then made our way to another room to the Gala dinner. After a four course meal, the UK delegation made another first by getting to the dancefloor.
It was quite a memorable night celebrating JCI UK’s achievements……… but that wasn’t all at midnight the DJ announced the clock had turned 12 and I instantly had JCI UK members run to me to wish me happy 30th Birthday.
On reflection I had an amazing time, met some old friends and made new ones, I networked internationally and celebrated with a fantastic UK delegation. I recommend to all JCI members to experience at least one international event, so maybe I’ll see you next year in Malta…. I’ll be there!!!
Soon to be JCI Barnsley Member
Categorised in: International
This post was written by makedo