JCI Blind Date (JCI Mechelen and supported by JCI The Heart of Europe) is a project that gives local organisations the opportunity to meet other local organisations for an informal talk, when this is made harder with the lack of physical congresses due to the pandemic. During this online event the local organisations are encouraged to talk about their local living situation under current circumstances, their local organisations projects, introducing their local chapters.
What’s in a name?
It is called JCI Blind Date because the local chapters don’t know upfront which other local organisation they are going to meet, which adds an extra surprise element.
Since 2020, three online editions have been organised: one national edition and two international editions (a European edition in December 2020 and a worldwide edition in March 2021 which covered 4 different time slots to give all Jaycees the chance to participate). Every edition of the ‘JCI Blind Date’ was completely free of charge in order for all Jaycees to have the opportunity to join and enjoy the international JCI experience. To make this possible, we thus built this project without any budget. We used the local resources that helped us set up the website & Zoom account. All marketing materials were created by us (such as event banners or visuals for social media).
As a result of our efforts to make things happen, 34 local chapters (125 Jaycees) participated in one of the 17 dates of the European edition. For the world edition, 110 chapters out of 45 different countries spread across all continents subscribed.
Alignment with the JCI Plan of Action
The objectives of JCI blind date were perfectly in line with the JCI vision and plan of action. The JCI vision is to be the leading global network of young active citizens. JCI Blind Date gives chapters around the world the opportunity to connect with other chapters all over the world and forge a truly global network.
‘Preserving mental health and well-being’ is one of the three JCI RISE pillars, and also an important goal for us. We want to bring people all over the world together for a fun and informal event. An event that gives and increases synergy between participants, instead of consuming energy without specific objectives. We aimed to do this by allowing meetings in a small group with people you already know and like (your own chapter) and people you really want to get to know ( a chapter from anywhere in the world).
Financial management of the project
There was no budget, and no cost, for this event. It was free of charge for the participants and the team members of JCI Mechelen & JCI THOE offered their time and dedication for the success of the event.
Long-term Impact of the Program
JCI Blind Date is a concept that was created because of the Covid-19 pandemic but it could be easily reused after the pandemic.
JCI Blind Date shows the power and friendship within the JCI community. It’s a reminder of the resilience, entrepreneurship and can-do mentality of JCI members when they face a challenge.
JCI Blind Date offers the opportunity to transcend national and international borders whether they are closed or not.
JCI Blind Date was completely free of charge for all participants. The event allowed members who were previously not able to join international conferences to be part of the international community of JCI even online, by just connecting with a laptop/ipad/mobile phone.
It is a very accessible project to organise that requires a relatively low investment but creates a lot of impact. Between the participating local chapters and members, lasting connections were made; 70% of the participants have the intention to meet their date again (in our feedback form)
The co-organising chapters JCI Mechelen & JCI The Heart of Europe also created a lasting connection and friendship.
Moreover, participating local chapters were encouraged to think about twinning with their Blind Date.
JCI Blind Date has the potential to grow to a worldwide concept that can be repeated and organised/ hosted by different local chapters. In fact, we have already received a request from other local chapters if they could implement it in their region.
The concept itself does not need any changes, but it would be possible to add variations to keep it interesting: for example a food-themed edition in the run-up to EC Bruges 2022.
The long term ambition of this project is to help other chapters to organise their own JCI Blind Date editions. In this way, the concept can grow behind JCI Mechelen and JCI The Heart of Europe and have a long-lasting impact on the international JCI community as a whole.
Award winning project
During the Belgian Awards 2021, JCI Mechelen won an award for their JCI Blind Date project. Next up? JCI WC 2021 😉
New edition JCI Blind Date: 17th of March 2022
JCI Mechelen is ready for a new edition of JCI Blind Date, this time it will take place on the 17th of March 2022 – 8:00 PM (CET). There will be one timezone 😉 and a maximum of 50 local organisations that can participate. Subscribe now via blinddate.jcimechelen.be
Local president 2021-2022