Having been in Scotland for over 2 years and a member of JCI Edinburgh just over 1 year, I had never been to a Burns night celebration before. Needless to say, I was very excited for this one!
I had already heard so many great things about Burns night at my first ‘First Friday Drinks’ event. I was told that this flagship JCI Edinburgh event is one of the best and I definitely had to attend it. I wanted to be an active JCI member and grasp every opportunity I get to help out within JCI, so when Steven asked me if I wanted to be on the burns committee I didn’t need to think very long. I was on board!
Together with the other committee members we started brainstorming about Burns night 2018 back in August 2017. We had great ideas, but the biggest challenge was in fact finding a suitable venue. This took us much longer than expected but finally we found the Radisson Blu on the Royal Mile which turned out to be a perfect location for Burns night.
We divided tasks and I took on organising a weekend activity and arranging a band for the ceilidh with a disco afterwards (no pressure!). This all went quite well. I contacted a few pubs and managed to find a good one fairly quickly and the band was available as well. Now came perhaps the biggest challenge: marketing and selling tickets. JCI members (at least in Edinburgh) tend to buy their tickets last minute. We are all guilty of it; however, it certainly adds to the pressure when trying to reach a target number of attendees.
But there was no need to stress – we had an excellent turnout for the weekend! I was amazed at how many people from JCI UK, JCI Ireland, and other destinations came to Edinburgh for Burns night. For me this highlighted how strong JCI’s international network is.
Last year I couldn’t make it to Burns Night itself but I did make it to the Pub Quiz the day before, this year I went again. I didn’t have anything to do with the organisation of this so I could just relax and enjoy myself. And enjoy myself I did! It was a great night with a great turnout!
After months of preparation, I couldn’t quite believe when the night finally came. Time to put on our gala dresses and off we went. The night flew by and everybody had a great time. We enjoyed delicious Scottish food, great entertainment, and of course even better company!
The speeches were a really important part of the night, and the part I knew least about. Our speakers did amazing and the speeches were well-spoken and humorous. The best on the night was from the Scran Academy, our charity partner for the night. It was so inspiring to hear the young people tell their stories and it encouraged me to work on a collaboration between JCI Edinburgh and Scran Academy in my role of Community Director this year.
JCI Edinburgh Burns was a great night. I met lots of people from different JCI chapters, had loads of fun and even practiced my ceilidh dancing. I can’t wait for my next burns night!