Changing Perspectives – 02/21/09

After induction, what?

Has JCI lost its relevance?

Vol. I, No. 09 * 21 February 2009

cte ni baiBy JCI A / Mem. CERWIN T. EVIOTA, CNT, NG
2006 Charter President

HELLO Everyone!

It was just shortly after Christmas when we last wrote a blog. We were moving more in the “back-end.” I.T. geeks would know what that means, eh?

Anyway, we’re in the season of inductions, and this will run until at least the end of next month. We had ours in JCI Cebu-Mactan Channel last Jan. 29, and tonight will be the turn of JCI Cebu, my former chapter that we served as VP in 2001 and EVP in 2002.

Only JCI chapters in good standing, anchored on a policy adopted since 2006 when JCI Sen. Ismael “Maeng” P. Penado, CNT, was National President, would be blessed by the presence of the NP, NSEVP, NT or NSG.

Inductions are moments of glory, especially for the outgoing President, much more if he/she managed to finish his/her term with a legacy. The same is true for the one being installed to succeed, with the new officers, members and babies.

Many chapters become “very alive” on induction night, especially when former active members gather for a homecoming.

Yet, some other chapters forego the formalities, settling with the least a Holy Mass to mark the moment of ceremonial transition.

Chapters fading

But after induction, what?

Maybe even before that, after election what?

And to some, after assumption … as no one else would want to be president or a managing officer … what?

We came across a chapter or two where, despite a new fresh president, some past presidents had to serve again as officers, as no others could fill in the positions.

Needless to say, they were actually better off than chapters that had already “died.”

During the 2000 Visayas Areacon in Dumaguete City, my first as a JCI member, I remember the large social hall with then NEVP Emma Ray Panaguiton presiding was filled with chief delegates debating during the plenary.

When I had the chance to serve as acting Visayas Area Secretary to fill in the role during the 2002 Visarcon in Mandaue City when our National President now, JCI Sen. Fulbert C. Woo, CLT, served as NEVP, I could still recall counting between 15 to 20 chapters in attendance from each of the three regions.

Yet the leadership at the time had raised before the Area Council the “dwindling” trend in strength of chapters in the Visayas, and that there was a similar trend in the four other areas in the Philippines.

True enough, the number of chapters dropped down to almost half during the 2003 Visarcon in Mactan that now inactive JCI Mactan Dagami reluctantly hosted if not for the support in resources by its founder, Cordova Mayor Arleigh Jay C. Sitoy.

2003 NEVP Lyndon L. Fermo had to move the Areacon from Baybay, Leyte and seek for Sitoy’s support as the Baybay “Barangayanon” Jaycees was already in limbo.

National trend & factors

Such circumstances were similar elsewhere in the country.

Everyone would attest even by mere observation that the number of chief delegates seated in the National General Assembly (GA) at least since the 2000 National Convention in Dagupan City has gradually decreased.

The General Assembly during the 2007 Cebu NatCon was barely half that we saw during that NatCon seven years ago.

We asked our NHQ staff, specifically the ever-reliable Wilson, for actual statistics. We’ll share that with you when we get the data, and see if the numbers validate our observation.

Even the Philippine Junior Jaycees has had the same fate. The General Assembly in 1985 during the term of JJC Jessin Soriano, now the COO of Splash Manufacturing, looked like the Batasan Session Hall. No kidding. Today, probably they would look just like the Quezon City Council in session.

Now, why the epidemic? (The term seems to be appropriate already, is it not?)

In the absence of any scientific study — that we encourage the Woo Administration to conduct a comprehensive one for a real S.M.A.R.T. solution to follow — we can just but offer some conjectures.

But likely these few circumstances are among the reasons why.

Externally, …

  • The economic crisis, at least since the 1997 crash of Asian currencies, and much more in the last two years that has grown to a global crisis today. Supposed would-be JCI members would rather focus on work or business, and even dabble with second jobs and other sidelines, to make both ends meet.
  • The advent of the malls, the avalanche of DVD’s and the deep penetration of now readily available internet have distracted members, and prospective members. To some, they have become a better alternative after work.
  • Other organizations, including Christian fellowships, have emerged and have offered a better option.

Internally, …

  • Growing disinterest among members, much more among prospective ones.
  • Interference of past presidents. While they only want to “save” the chapter from dying, they had actually hastened its demise.
  • Some chapters have become too politicized that opposing forces are too preoccupied with protecting their respective interests.
  • Failure to live by the true essence of the JCI movement.

In summary, many chapters have lost their relevance as part of the JCI movement.

JCI, simply because its essence is not upheld and promoted, has become irrelevant to those who would have needed the organization to become better leaders and genuine active citizens.

Re-Building

But all is not lost, certainly.

While conducting trainings, especially the diagnostic Chapter Development Course, to various chapters and regional groupings nationwide while serving in the National Training Commission between 2003 and 2005, we encountered almost the same concerns from different chapter leaders.

Their common question was, “How can we bring back the old members.”

My common blatant answer went, “Forget about them.”

Revolting the answer may be but I still stand by that thought today.

Yes, worry not anymore about bringing back the old members.

Instead, start rebuilding FRESH !!!

Bring in new blood, train them in the real JCI way. They will bring life back to the chapter. Believe me, the old members will just come back.

In rebuilding your chapter, just follow the guide provided by JCI ACHIEVE. It works. Such signature JCI course that JCI Sen. Gunther Meyer developed is astounding.

In fact, that’s our secret in JCI Cebu-Mactan Channel.

That inspired me after taking the course during the 2005 Presidents Academy in Davao. It would have been the formula we’d use in supposedly reviving JCI Mactan Dagami and rename it to JCI Mactan Channel. Oh well, the rest is history.

Other than JCI ACHIEVE, also adhere consistently with the principles of JCI 3M (Media, Marketing, membership). It will help build your chapter to become a preferred choice by prospective members.

And as leaders, make yourself dispensable. After you had your watch, leave everything to your successors while remaining on call when needed.

One chapter president in Cebu did what he have shared here after long conversations during the 2004 Boracay Natcon and on some occasions later with St. Michael, whether Pilsen or Light, before he served his term in 2005.

Not only did he revive the chapter before it would have died or brought to the ICU, it bounced back to its past glory that it has become today.

Roadmap

So, has JCI lost its relevance?

NO. Some leaders just failed to make JCI relevant to those who need it.

Mind you the factors that killed many chapters are just around us. Even institutions, chapters that existed for at most 60 years, have ebbed. Much more for fledglings like our own chapter.

You would not wonder why the team of our 2009 President Emi Rose R. Parcon in JCI Cebu-Mactan Channel chose the theme: R.E.L.E.V.A.N.T. to be Better … which further means:

  • Responsive and
  • Emphatic
  • Leadership
  • Empowered by
  • Values for
  • Active citizenship as
  • Nurtured with
  • Trainings

The chapter is not taking it as a mere theme. It’s a tall order for Emi’s team, we know. The burden is to meet the challenges that go with it. They will have to prove the thesis, and deliver … better than the first three years.

I’m confident they will make it. They don’t just have a theme but a clear roadmap for their term. There will be detours along the way, but they will meet their destination, our destination.

To all “struggling” chapters, the path just simple, even workable.

Kita pa, Jaycees gud ta!

(Tayo pa, Jaycees yata tayo!)

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