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Hawaii Jaycees

What are the Jaycees?

The Jaycees or Junior Chamber is a leadership development organization that uses community service projects as the training ground for applying leadership principles and skills learned in Jaycee individual development and training sessions. Leadership development is the prime directive, with community service the means to such end, and all other members’ needs deemed important, but subsidiary.

Structure and History

Jaycee s belong to a vast network of Junior Chamber organizations in all 50 states and 80 foreign countries. Jaycee membership begins with the local chapter but it also includes the state organization, the national organization, and Junior Chamber International

Junior Chamber International

United States Junior Chamber of Commerce

Hawaii Jaycees

Your Chapter

United States Jaycees

The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce or the Jaycees officially came to be in 1920, but the origin of Junior Chamber can be traced as far back as 1910. Back then in St. Louis, Missouri, a young man named Henry “Hy” Giessenbier and his friends formed the Herculaneum Dance Club. This club was born of a belief that young people would have to join forces socially in order to improve their prospects for social and career advancement. This approach was a bit unusual, as his era was one in which most young men were out of school and working by the age of 15, and their first jobs were the jobs they died in. If they were lucky, they might work their way into an executive position by the time they were in their 40s.

Five years later, in 1915, Colonel H.N. Morgan, a prominent St. Louis citizen, inspired the members of the dance club to become more involved in civic issues. Giessenbier and 32 other young men formed the Young Men’s Progressive Civic Association (YMPCA) on October 13, 1915. This organization grew to a membership of 750 in less than five months.

Giessenbier also wanted to develop the business skills and the reputation of young men. For the YMPCA, just talking about issues and listening to speakers was not enough. Lectures, speakers and training sessions provided the group with needed knowledge. But some method was needed for members to apply what they had learned. Service to the community provided the answer. Community service allowed members practical application of the insights they had learned. It was then the Junior Chamber movement realized its goal - building better leaders.

The YMPCA went on to developing their skills as leaders by tackling difficult civic problems. The very next year, 1916, saw another change of name as the YMPCA became Junior Citizens, commonly called JCs, which later became Jaycees. The year 1918 marked another change as the JCs were affiliated with the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce and officially became the St. Louis Junior Chamber of Commerce.

International

After WWI, Giessenbier contacted other cities in the United States with similar young businessmen’s groups, and, subsequently, 29 clubs from around the nation formed the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. Henry “Hy” Giessenbier was elected the first President of the national organization.

The Jaycees also went global. The international chapter of the organization began in 1923 with the Winnipeg Board of Trade becoming the first Junior Chamber outside the United States. By 1928 the idea of an international body crossed the Atlantic Ocean to England. In 1943, Junior Chambers were established in Mexico City, Guatemala City, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama City. One year later, the first international conference was held in Mexico City, and a Jaycee from Mexico was elected the first President of the Junior Chamber International or JCI.

Two years later, in February of 1946, the first World Congress was held in Panama City. 44 delegates attended this congress from 16 different countries. The international organization was formally constituted and a temporary constitution was approved. A Jaycee from Panama was elected the second JCI President, and Australia and Canada were officially affiliated.

Hawaii

The Jaycees first appeared in Hawaii in 1930 with the chartering of the Honolulu Junior Chamber of Commerce. In 1939, Jaycee chapters sprouted up in Hilo, Maui, Kauai and Wahiawa. In 1943, the Hawaii Junior Chamber of Commerce was formed. The Hawaii Jaycees served in WW II, helped fight for statehood in 1959, served through two hurricanes in 1982 and 1992, and in between and beyond, served the Special Olympics, Jerry’s Kids, Easter Seals, March of Dimes, United Cerebral Palsy, Aloha United Way, the Shriners, HUGS, Ronald McDonald, and the list goes on and on. We, as Hawaii Jaycees, are the Honolulu Marathon Startline, the Hilo County Fair, the 50th State Fair, the Miss Chinatown Hawaii and the Narcissus Queen Pageants, the Three Outstanding Young Persons Program, and the Cherry Blossom Festival and Pageant. Our efforts led to establishing the American Cancer Society in Hawaii, Aloha Week, and the Blood Bank of Honolulu.

Jaycees can be found in all walks of life: Presidents Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford, Tom Monaghan the owner of Domino’s Pizza, former Miss America Kaye Lani Rae Rafko-Wilson, and basketball great Larry Bird. Here at home, civic leaders like Ed Case, Jeremy Harris, Walter Dods and Eduardo Malapit have all been Jaycees.