The Jaycees (or Junior Chamber) are a group of young men and women that join together to improve their lives and their communities. Our goal is to provide leadership training through community service. The Individual Development area sets the Junior Chamber apart from other organizations. While many other groups offer community service and social activities, only Junior Chamber chapters offer members the opportunity for self-improvement. By chairing a local project, a young person can practice organization, delegation, time and resource management, public relations and motivational skills. The Jaycees also offer training programs, usually at no cost to the member, that teach these skills. Even if a project does not meet its goals, if the chairperson learned from the experience, then it’s not a failure.
The Junior Chamber organization starts with the local chapter. This chapter will typically serve one or more communities. Chapter members are automatically a member of a state organization, as well as the National organization (U.S. Junior Chamber) and the International organization (Junior Chamber International). Young people all over the world are engaged in Junior Chamber activities. Opportunities for international training and travel are available to members. The Missouri Jaycees are divided up into 6 Regions, and each region is divided up into districts. Local chapters are grouped into districts of about 4-6 chapters. At each level there are officers that oversee the day-to-day functioning of the organization.
What do Jaycees do?
The short answer is: whatever the members want to do! There are no set guidelines for what kind of projects or how many a chapter must run. However, there are some projects that are popular and can give you a good idea about what we do.
Projects typically fall into one of 4 overall categories, or Areas of Opportunity: Business, Individual, Community, and International.
Business Development focuses on projects that benefit members in their professional career. The Junior Chamber Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Advancement is a program of seven training sessions to teach interested individuals the basics or starting and operating a small business. This includes money making events like barbecues, food or beverage stands at local festivals, Haunted Houses or raffles. It also includes public relations projects like participating in parades. It also covers events that help the chapter become successful like yearly planning sessions and budgeting.
Individual Development projects are those designed to help Jaycees improve their skills or gain knowledge. In addition to business and leadership skills, we also offer fun activities like mini-golf, wine-tasting, stress relief or surfing the Internet. Family concerns such as caring for aging parents or communication skills fall into the Individual Development area, and spiritual development projects that allow members to learn more about their own or another religion are also popular.
Community Development covers any project that benefits the community outside of the chapter. Obviously raising money for various charities like MDA, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Make-a-Wish or local charities would fall into this category. Children’s events such as Easter Egg hunts, Halloween parties, football and baseball skills competitions, and teen dances are also Community Development. Jaycee chapters also help out their communities by building bleachers, pavilions, playgrounds and parks.
International Involvement includes projects that introduce members to different countries and cultures. We are an international organization with Junior Chambers in over 100 countries.
The Jaycee Creed
That faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life;
That the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations;
That economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise;
That government should be of laws rather than of men;
That earth’s great treasure lies in human personality;
And that service to humanity is the best work of life.