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19th Jun, 2012

By JCI Cambridge member Kelly Tennick

Having never been to a JCI International event before, I have to be honest and say I literally didn’t know what to expect. Yes, I had been told snippets by others that had been before, and knew that I had booked my workshops and events online before we left. So in my head I guess I just thought I would be sticking to my online timetable, meeting lots of new people, learning new things and then going out every night! And to a point, that is what happened...but it truly turned out to be so much more than just following a timetable and meeting new people.

JCI Cambridge at the airport of their way to the European Conference

The whole thing started at 5.50am, Stanstead Airport enjoying breakfast and drinks with the other JCI Cambridge members. And by drinks, I do mean a cheeky gin as well as the orange juice! The flight was very quick and before we knew it we had arrived at the check-in lounge at Hannover Airport where we were greeted with free drinks and the first opportunity to start meeting and catching up with other members. I will be honest here and say I felt a little bit daunted at this point! It was probably due to a shortage of sleep and wanting to stare at things rather than talk, as well as it kind of dawning on me for the first time that JCI is slightly bigger than our monthly meetings in Cambridge....

Another journey, by bus this time, and we had arrived at the Stadhalle – one of the main ‘campus locations’ of the event. We registered, received our (slightly amazing) delegate cards and collected a delegate bag which was not only a pretty good bag, it had all the conference information in it and was full of goodies including sweets, perfume and plasters.....fantastic!

Arriving at the hotel a short time later, it became clear that the timetable that had been booked online was not necessarily set in stone! UK members all enjoyed a drink and lunch in the garden before meeting up to go to the first evening’s event: the Opening Ceremony. It was here that I realised why other UK members had been adamant that Union Jack items or ‘Jackage’ would be required. I realised It’s not that we want to rub it in that we are British, but being surrounded by delegates from all across Europe is a wonderful feeling, everyone is supportive of each other’s heritage and wants to show they are proud of their country. Everybody joined in and it was a fantastic feeling. The only competition was which country could make the most noise!

What a wonderful first evening. The opening ceremony was great fun and really demonstrated the togetherness and ambition of JCI. The disco after was just totally enjoyable, as was the continuously flowing free alcohol and the many stands supplying free food including meats, pancakes, sweets and baked cheese, my favourite...yes I think I had about 4 of these by home time! I get hungry after a few drinks.

The next morning found us getting the bus at 8am to the Stadhalle for the ‘First Timers Meeting’. This was the first ‘workshop’ that I attended and it was enjoyable, informative of the week ahead and even included some dancing. I then watched the official opening of the trade show which contained some great stands, including stands from other JCI countries such as Turkey and Monaco, all offering information about their country alongside national delicacies such as Raki, the most horrendous disgusting alcohol I have ever tasted (no offence Turkey!). That was a free alcohol I definitely said ‘no thank you’ to!

Lunch found us enjoying a Chinese buffet just a short walk into the beautiful town of Braunschweig. In our delegate bags we all had 5euro vouchers to use within some of the local shops in the town, meaning lunch with a drink cost me about 4euros! The generosity of the conference continued to surprise me.

The second evening found us partying in a tram station! I know this sounds odd, but really it was a fantastic location. There was lots of space for everyone to dance, socialise and enjoy themselves as well as lots of fresh air so that it didn’t get too hot. On top of this there were free tram rides around Braunschweig as well as again having all free alcohol and a beautiful melted cheese and bread ‘snack thingy’ which was amazing!

The JCI Cambridge team still smiling at the JCI European Conference

The third morning did NOT find me getting up for the bus at 8am! However, I made it to my first workshop at 10.30am which was called ‘Passion Into Action’. This was an absolutely fantastic workshop and really focussed on how to change your perspective to realise that the things you want to achieve are actually achievable! I really enjoyed this workshop and found that it was delivered excellently, passionately and I just soaked up the information like a sponge. I even managed to talk to another delegate who had several businesses in many different countries – proof that JCI really does include everyone from grass roots divisions or start up businesses right through to top entrepreneurs and business people. In the afternoon I attended some of a workshop called ‘To Flirt or Not to Flirt’. I enjoyed the first half and the presenter was interesting and engaging, although I found the content to be a bit stereotypical. However I had to leave half way through to ensure I got back to the hotel in time for UK drinks in the garden and our ride to the third nights entertainment.

Another fabulous night was in store, this time at a cinema complex which offered an amazing amount of space, more alcohol and food (not so interested in alcohol at this point!) as well as the football game being shown on a cinema screen with free popcorn and beer! There was a great display from a Jagermiester band, as well as the performance of the evening, JCI UK delegate Tim Metcalf appearing in a ‘mankini’ to raise money for the ‘Nothing But Nets’ charity. Literally hilarious and extremely brave, this highlighted that not only is JCI serious, business and networking. Its a group of people all with the same frame of mind who, yes want to learn and improve themselves but also have a brilliant time socialising with each other and dedicating time effort and appreciation to charities and those in need.

The JCI UK delegation

I’m not sure how I got up on Saturday morning but I arrived promptly for ‘How to Succeed in Business’ which was a really good workshop covering all the basics for starting your own business. I have to say I didn’t really hear anything new in this workshop, but it certainly was a great tool for remembering techniques and ideas that I may have let slip or thought not useful and reapplying them to evaluate and move my business forward.

Following a brief yet much needed afternoon nap, I donned my glad rags and at 6pm met the other UK delegates for the Gala Dinner. Everybody looked really lovely and it was fantastic to be celebrating the last night with all the wonderful people that I had met over the last few days. The Gala Dinner was really special. The venue had been wonderfully decorated and the atmosphere was just fantastic. The food was enjoyable and the drinks were flowing. We (JCI UK) even won the Best New Member award which was a really proud moment and I felt really privileged to be a part of the evening.

A fantastic Conference rounded off with a brunch at the town square which was totally picturesque and wonderfully relaxing....just what was required after a week of hard socialising, learning (and drinking). It was a great place to have a last catch up with all the great new people I had met, grab some food and enjoy the sunshine before making our way back to the airport.

The JCI Cambridge team enjoying a relaxing drink!

Definitely the best experience of my JCI membership so far, the European Conference was totally worth the effort and I had a fantastic time. I would urge any delegate, new or established to try out an international event if they have not already done so. It really illustrates what JCI is all about, shows you a much bigger picture that what you see through each chapter and demonstrates how what you do within each chapter is part of something that is going on worldwide. A truly amazing time and I can’t wait to attend another international event next year!

 

And a video of the whole event!!

 

 

 

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3rd Jun, 2012

Employer Mentoring Scheme Awards
by James Mitchell on June 3, 2012 16:59

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Blog written by Anglia Ruskin student and JCI Member Marcel Goerlich

Business mentors from JCI Cambridge attend awards ceremony in recognition of their contribution to Anglia Ruskin University's Employer Mentoring Scheme.

For the last year a number of members from JCI Cambridge have been guiding, advising and imparting their business, experience and skills to second year students of Anglia University to help them understand and make the transition to employment and the business environment.

The JCI Cambridge mentors that volunteered to take part in the scheme were matched to the university students according to their career aspirations and the mentors skills. The mentors' role was to act as a 'business mentor' on a one-to-one basis providing a voice of experience for students. The JCI mentors helped to develop the students' their workplace skills, business awareness and gain an understanding of the workplace environment, its expectations and demands. The long-term purpose of mentoring is not only helping students to develop their professional skills, that one day the mentees would also be able to be involved at a later stage and pass on my knowledge and experience to a mentee.

Mentoring Awards 2012Marcel Goerlich who was mentored by JCI Cambridge's Vice President James Mitchell explains "The mentoring scheme has been a very useful and enriching experience for me. This is due to th good mix of one-to-one sessions with my mentor James and the business networking/training events provided by JCI Cambridge.

My initial introductory session with James took place in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere where we discussed what we wanted to gain or offer to the scheme including what my main aims of being involved in the scheme were. For me, it was primarily to improve my professional skills such as giving presentations, networking and interview skills. For James it was that he wanted to help young people like me kick-start their careers by coaching them and giving honest, constructive feedback.

Based on this discussion we started talking about how James could help me during the following weeks and months. He suggested that I come along to JCI Cambridge events where I could practice my networking skills and take part in a variety of training events. In addition to this, James offered an opportunity to talk to his contact who worked in a recruitment agency and arranged a mock interview to practise my interviewing skills. After this meeting, I realised that it had been a really good idea to enrol on the scheme and that it would be really helpful, not just because of the opportunity to be mentored by James, but also to benefit from the opportunities provided by JCI Cambridge.

Now, several months after that initial meeting, I can confirm that the scheme has met all my expectations. At the JCI Cambridge meetings I had the chance to meet many interesting and like-minded people and I have definitely become more confident in group situations and networking. I received helpful hints to improve my interview skills and James successfully coached me to speak freely in front of people.Mentoring Awards 2012

I was amazed by the commitment I encountered when working with my mentor. James took the time to prepare me for actual job interviews and always had creative ideas to improve my skills. The feedback I received was always fair and helped me to understand how other people perceive me and what areas I can improve upon.

I can really recommend the mentoring scheme to anybody who is open-minded, ready to get feedback and willing to develop themselves. I gained invaluable skills that I am sure will help me personally and in my future career."

If you help an Anglia Ruskin students learn about the realities of the workplace, the opportunities available as well as the obstacles they are may be likely to face? If so, please get in touch by emailing us at info@jcicambridge.com. To find out more about the Employer Mentoring Scheme visit Anglia Ruskin website.

Remember - all volunteer hours can be logged as part of JCI ACE, where the efforts of JCI members will be recognised through an awards scheme - please check out our blog post for more information. 

 

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1st Jun, 2012

Blog written by JCI Member Kelly Tennick

Wow! What another fantastic evening courtesy of JCI Cambridge. This time, the event was volunteering to help raise much needed funds for Wallace Cancer Care at the Cambridge Beer Festival.

The evening started pretty sombre, sociable and relaxed. It was nice to have a good catch up with other JCI members and to meet the other, non-JCI volunteers that were there. Time was spent behind the book stall encouraging passers-by to browse and hopefully purchase as many books as possible (at only 50p each a bargain) and with Adam not failing to point out the ‘saucy’ books on the end table we were definitely on to a winner! The free drink vouchers also started making the rounds and we were soon all enjoying a nice pint of beer or cider, or in my case - apple juice. Well somebody had to be designated driver!

We were then briefed on the basic info of Wallace Cancer Care to arm us with valuable knowledge for the evening before being let loose on the public with our buckets! We had a great time winding our way through the ever increasing crowds, having a chat with some great people and collecting a good amount of cash for the start of the evening.

As people (us included) became slightly more inebriated, things seemed to go from good fun to hilarious! All sorts of tactics and conversation starters were used to get the good people of Cambridge to drop their pennies in our buckets. My favourite was definitely Harriet’s story of being a weight lifter in the Olympics that needed a heavier bucket to do her training! Her arm curls were in my opinion impressive, to the men more comical but it was a fantastic way to get people engaged with what we were doing and raised a fantastic amount of money.

I had an absolutely fantastic evening and would not hesitate to volunteer with JCI Cambridge again! It’s the perfect evening in one...there is a great social aspect, personal development opportunities for approaching and engaging with strangers and getting results, It’s confidence boosting, great for team morale and not forgetting that it was all for an amazing cause, Wallace Cancer Care.

Figures tell me that on the Friday evening we raised £1323.05, a brilliant amount! Overall a staggering £8928.70 was raised which is truly fantastic, and will hopefully be a great help in enabling Wallace Cancer Care to continue with their inspiring, dedicated work.

Thanks JCI Cambridge, another top notch evening!

Remember - all volunteer hours can be logged as part of JCI ACE, where the efforts of JCI members will be recognised through an awards scheme - please check out our blog post for more information.

Adam Choosing a book at Cambridge Beer Festival JCI Cambridge Volunteering at Cambridge Beer Festival 2012

Harriet and Kelly at the Cambridge Beer Festival

JCI Cambridge volunteers for Wallace Cancer Care at Cambridge Beer Festival 2012
Cambridge Beer Festival
Adam Choosing a book at Cambridge Beer Festival

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