News — September 19, 2002

1989 Speaking Competition Winner: ?Seize the Challenge!?

Life is either an exciting adventure or nothing! ? Karyn W. Bisdee, 1989 World Speaking Competition Winner and 2000 JCI World President Recently a major research company conducted a survey on what we fear most. Right at the top of the list was not spiders or heights. Speaking in public was the greatest fear of the majority of people surveyed. In 1989 a young Jaycee was asked to represent her country, New Zealand, at the Area B Speaking Competition. The topic: "Our Commitment to Children's Rights.? Nervous and unsure, attending her first Area Conference in Yokohama, Japan, she quickly decided that indeed life would be an adventure or it would be nothing at all. She had been quite ill en route to the Conference but this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and she was not going to allow it to pass her by.
She penned her speech and practiced and practiced until the words were familiar, the passion deep and intense. The contest was held in a small room, with each contestant bringing a small band of supporters. The speech went well, she thought, but the competition was tough. Four days later at the Awards Ceremony, she discovered she would represent her Area at Birmingham World Congress, as the winner of Area B. One month later, she discovered why she had been so ill?she and her husband were going to have their second child. Delighted and thrilled at this, she quickly discovered that the baby was due in December, four weeks after World Congress. Then the planning began. After lots of discussion and research, she discovered she could fly up until six weeks before her due date. The Congress actually finished exactly six weeks before (something was going right for her here!). She and her husband then traveled 28 hours to Birmingham where she then had the experience of her life. Standing in front of the whole General Assembly?in front of JCI President Isfahani Sameen, JCI officers, the NOM Presidents?was the most daunting thing she thought she had ever done, and probably would ever do. But she did it: eight months pregnant and speaking about "Our commitment to children's rights." No one was more surprised than she when she was announced the winner at the Awards Ceremony, and no one more surprised when Julia-Rose arrived exactly two weeks later, safe and sound in New Zealand. Yes, wonderful members of JCI, I would have to say that winning the 1989 World Speaking Competition was one of the highlights of my JCI career. I never imagined for one moment that one day I would be seated, chairing Congress, intently listening to the messages our speakers would bring us in the year 2000. Participating in the competition was undoubtedly a character-building and skill-developing experience. Our speaking competition is one of the finest and most challenging personal experiences that you can wish for. An enormous amount of pride is gained?pride in representing not just your LOM, but also your nation and your whole Area of the world; pride in yourself, for achieving that level of participation. Imagine the opportunity to seize an audience with your passion, and inspire them to take action, move them from their seats. Believe that you can and will send forward a message of great power and win the audience's heads? and their hearts. Communication is the fundamental key to human understanding?our voices, our eyes, our bodies, our touch. There are so many ways to build bridges to join mankind! I urge you to seize this challenge, enter this contest, try to be the best the world has seen, and you will be the best that you can be. If you risk nothing, you risk even more. Karyn W. Bisdee 1989 World Speaking Competition Winner 2000 JCI World President
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