We have so many service organizations in Washington, and their members do so much for the community out of the goodness of their own hearts. Have you heard about the Washington Jaycees? You have probably attended one of their fundraisers: The Demolition Derby, Brewfest, The Piccadilly Auction. Who are the Jaycess and what do they do? Their current President, Danielle Grotewiel, agreed to do an online interview for Re-Discover Washington!
1. When were the Washington Jaycees established?
The Jaycees began as the Young Men’s Progressive Civic Association (YMPCA) in 1915 in St. Louis, MO. In 1920 the now 30 chapters met in St. Louis and formed the Junior Chamber of Commerce or JCC (Jaycees). After World War II the Jaycees spread to other countries and Junior Chamber International or JCI was founded in 1944. The Washington chapter was formed in 1952.
2. What is your mission?
In short our mission is “Building leaders through service to others.” The Jaycees were founded to help young people move forward in their chosen career fields. We help eliminate the catch 22 situation of applying for a promotion or new job and hearing that you don’t have the experience. How do you get the experience without the promotion? The Jaycees provide that solution. Through our fundraising events we teach management, promotion, team building, delegation and problem solving.
3. Can anyone join? How often and where do you meet?
Jaycee membership is open to men and women between the ages of 18 and 40. The age limit is to create an environment that is conducive to young people in leadership roles. Currently the average age of our board is 33.
We meet on the 3rd Thursday of each month at Cowan’s for either dinner or lunch. Even numbered months are lunch at 12:00pm and odd are dinner at 6:00pm.
4. What are some projects you have completed?
Since 1952 the organization has complete many projects. We installed seat belts when they became mandatory and participated in many smaller projects through the years.
5. What are you currently working on?
Most recently we have been working on the All Abilities Park. We decided in 2009 that we would lobby the City of Washington to provide a park where all kids could play together. They were excited and accepting of the idea so we began to research parks of this type, equipment vendors and a budget. In January of 2011 we entered into an agreement with the City that we would provide $250,000.00 to purchase the equipment for the Park. The overall project will be approximately 1 million when completed. Construction is under way and the Park should be installed this year.
6. How do you raise money for the organization?
We raise money through special events. We host the Piccadilly Auction the third Saturday in January, Demolition Derby (since 1971) the first Saturday in June, our BBQ Booth at the Town & Country Fair in August, Brewfest the second Saturday in September and an additional motorsports event in the fall, this year it is a Figure 8 Demolition Derby the third Saturday in September. We use the admission from these events to support the Park currently and local charities.
7. What are your future goals?
It is our goal to continue to grow the organization and continually welcome new young members. We want to continue to have an impact on our community, not only Washington but Franklin County and Missouri. We want to be a source to the young professionals in our area to find mentors, networking opportunities, and professional skills in a fun supportive environment.
Photos: Washington Jaycees