'Reconnecting' at the 2022 JCI Ireland National Convention

31 Dec 2022 President Ireland By President Ireland

Being a local board member of JCI Dublin this year, I still remember how excited we were when we knew that Dublin would be the host city of the National Convention. Organising a 3-day/ 2-night event for nationwide members and other JCI members from abroad is never easy. The event planning discussions started as early as in the 2nd quarter, outlining the theme, schedule, budget, plan, etc. 

Reconnection was the main theme for the National Convention as everyone has been finding his/her way back to normality during the post-pandemic era. No one would probably disagree that getting in-person touch has its irreplaceable importance in terms of building up interpersonal relationships. This is the same within the JCI networks. The NC committee team, which was led by National President Aine and Local President Melissa, worked so hard to prepare the event in order to present the best experience to all attendees. Every JCI Dublin member was welcomed to be a helper and to reconnect with other members. 

The weekend of 14th Oct to 16th Oct was literally my first National Convention of JCI Ireland since my membership from 2021. My day started with the tour of the Little Museum of Dublin. I knew that the museum is one of the most popular tourist spots, but I just had never been there. Because of the NC, I had my first-time visiting the museum and met other JCI members such as Stephen, Eileen and Oliver. The tour was impressive by the way it was presented. The tour guide was in a lively role play to narrate Irish history and culture from the Middle Ages to the present in the form of storytelling. It was like you were in time traveling by going through the pictures and items displayed in the rooms. I particularly like the room showing the history of Ireland’s milestones and achievements over the past decades, and not surprisingly, the Irish pop music legend ‘U2’ got their own showroom for their fans worldwide!

After finishing the tour in the Little Museum, we headed back to the Dublin Chamber and had a series of workshops in the afternoon. The ‘Imposter Syndrome’ workshop delivered by Aoife O’Brien was so relevant and rewarding. I had not much idea of the term before having the workshop, but then through Aoife’s presentation, I realized that having the syndrome is a commonplace and what could people be struggling with. We all have our own confidence-lacking moment that self-affirmation would help. Giving compliments and sending encouragement to other people are equally important.

The next workshop ‘Inspire Growth during Your JCI Journey’ was presented by JCI Europe Vice President Chris Baeriswyl. This session was inspirational, for the new members particularly. #InspireGrowth is always a hashtag of JCI about the personal development of its members. Chris was a great presenter that he explained the keynote with his own experience in JCI and asked us to rethink our goals. We are Jaycees and are seen having a certain kind of leadership that we can apply to our work and community. We could find many trainings and events, for example Growth and Development Academy and World Congress,  provided by JCI to members as a pathway to become young leaders.

The Tri-Nation debate was also held in the afternoon. A topic was about the liveableness of Dublin to locals and expats. The competition was pretty intense and could trigger audiences to think about the arguments of both sides. JCI Scotland was a strong team that won the debates at the end. In fact, all the participating teams did well and gained their supporters. 

The gala dinner was held in a decent hotel in the Liberties of Dublin city. Awards were presented to recognise the efforts and 
achievements of different individual members and chapters. It’s not often for us to meet up in-person as a big group, from senators to newly-joined members, on normal days. Therefore, I was so glad to catch up with my friends and also to get to know some members of other chapters, such as JCI Galway and JCI Cork.

A highlight of that night was a whiskey tasting session. Irish whiskey is famous worldwide (we all know Irish people love drinks and are good at making beers and wines haha). It was just like a taste of the culture of the country. We were given two glasses of whiskey from different wood barrels and asked which one we preferred more. Being indulged in my two glasses with silky blended apple and honey flavour, I would like to reply ‘why not both’?

Overall, a great exprience, reconnecting with fellow JCI members.