The Junior Chamber of Commerce, known as the Jaycees, held an informational luncheon meeting at the Barry County Museum in Cassville on Jan. 13. Arwen Pritchett, Junior Chamber International vice president, was the featured guest speaker for the event.
"The Jaycees develops an opportunity to empower young people to create positive change in their community," said Pritchett. "The organization creates youth who are active members of the community.
"Jaycees is a bridge between high school and organizations like the chamber of commerce," said Pritchett.
Jaycees offers training opportunities that give members the tools needed to complete community projects. The organization is designed to support other groups in a community, such as the local chamber.
Jaycees chapters work to determine the needs of their community and form projects to help address those needs. Some Jaycees projects are completed by partnering with larger organizations in the community.
"The Jaycees is an international leadership and community service organization for adults between the ages of 18 and 40," said Brittie Oakley, Missouri Jaycees Region 3 director. "Every local member in Missouri is not only a member of their local chapter but is also a member of the Missouri Jaycees, the United States Jaycees and the Junior Chamber International."
Oakley is currently working to establish a Jaycees chapter in Cassville. A total of 20 new members will be needed to form the new chapter. The group will operate under a board of directors, who must also be between the ages of 18 and 40.
"As a new chapter, you should plan to have a meeting once a month, a social activity once a month and a board meeting once a month," said Pritchett. "Then, later you can rotate through projects, such as community service and individual development and training projects.
"The social activities are very important, because at first your members are not going to know each other," said Pritchett. "Part of Jaycees is just developing friendships, offering fellowships and networking."
Although most Jaycees chapters operate under a board of directors that has at least seven members, a new chapter could operate under a board with as few as four officers, said Pritchett.
The Monett Jaycees, which was founded in 1931, will act as the sponsoring chapter for the newly formed Cassville Jaycees. The Monett chapter will offer support and information when needed, said Oakley, who is also a member of the Monett Jaycees.
Jonathan Hager, Monett Jaycees chapter president, was also available to offer information during the luncheon meeting. Hager said that the Monett chapter currently has 68 members.
The Monett Jaycees conduct a variety of events each year, including the annual Jaycees Carnival, Easter egg hunts and a haunted hayride. The group raises funds for scholarships, the Barry County Youth Camp and its annual Thanksgiving basket project.
Hager said that the group would like to add a Bull Buck Out event and a Fourth of July activity this year. The group also raises money for the Relay For Life event held in Monett.
"The Jaycees is the first and largest non-corporate partner for the American Cancer Society," said Pritchett. "We usually raise between $250,000 and $500,000 for them every year. It is a national initiative, but chapters are not required to participate in the Relay For Life."
Although the Monett chapter hosts several fundraising events each year, the newly formed Cassville chapter would not be required to commit to large fundraising activities. Oakley said the Cassville Jaycees could begin by offering small booths at large events or offering volunteer assistance to the chamber for annual activities.
Cassville Jaycees members will be required to pay annual dues, which are $65. As a newly formed chapter, each member can join and participate in the Cassville Jaycees for $25 for the first six months.
For more information on Jaycees or to obtain a Cassville Jaycees member application, call Oakley at 417-489-0197 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.