Twinning is winning – JCI Sheffield visit the Emerald Isle!

Twinning is winning – JCI Sheffield visit the Emerald Isle!

June 21, 2017 6:21 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

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We caught up with Neal Stirk 2017 President of JCI Sheffield to find out how this years twinning visit to Ireland went.

On the 16th of June Deborah McAndrew 2017 President of JCI Mayo and her team welcomed Mark Smith and I for JCI Sheffield’s annual twinning weekend that I always look forward to.

On the Friday afternoon shortly after arriving we drove straight to our accommodation called Mayo Glamping – the site had only been open for a month but WOW the accommodation was fantastic! We stayed in two “Hobbit Holes” (Think Lord of the Rings) type rooms which were excellent. The site also had a BBQ area, stone pizza oven, hot tub and sauna! You could clearly see Stephen the owner had put in a lot of hard work into the site and I truly hope we’ll go back again there.

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Later that night we went to a training session ran by one of JCI Mayo’s TOYP (Ten Outstanding Young Persons) winners Colmac Robotics who teach children team building skills through creating robots. Our creations however were meant to fight! We each built one in small teams and fought them in a small arena. It was great fun and a lot of good banter flying around before the fights.

On the Saturday we got up early and travelled down to Westport to Volunteer for the Westport Triathlon where the brilliant JCI Mayo members Keira Keogh and Declan Nolan were competing. We marshalled on the 5K stretch and it was brilliant to be part of the day but also to support both Keira and Declan. Keira unfortunately had a pubcture with her bike which slowed her time down however she still managed to complete the course! After the volunteering we headed back to the accommodation and got ready to head in to Castlebar for a few drinks and we drank in to the small hours.

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On the Sunday we then went to Sligo to have a go at blind driving with Wild Atlantic Crusades – this sounds a lot more dangerous than it is! The driving is in a closely controlled land rover restricted to reverse and first gear (and limited to 10 mph). The person driving is of course blind folded and takes instructions from the navigator in the car. The course is quite tricky and it can take a while to get around. The experience really brings home the importance of communication and good communication to guide others. It was a lot of fun and one of our groups set a new course record!

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After the driving we headed back to the accommodation to take advantage of the pizza oven and hot tub. It was brilliant evening and we had a lot fun, dancing to old boy band songs (thanks Mark for acting as DJ) over a few drinks.

Twinning weekends  are something I look forward to because of all the fun we have, friendships we make and new experiences we have. Twinning for me is about so much more than that! For me twinning is making friends with people from different walks of life, having ‘good craic’ (as the Irish say) and learning from each other. Each chamber is fundamentally different and from totally different types of locations but we have so much to offer each other and enrich each other.

I can’t wait for JCI Sheffield to host members from JCI Mayo to the Steel City on the weekend of 20th October #TwinningIsWinning

Do get in touch if you are interested in getting involved with the visit.


Neal Stirk

2017 President – JCI Sheffield

[email protected]


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This post was written by makedo

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