The United States Jaycess Foundation
 

United States Junior Chamber National Presidents 1990 - 1999

Rusty Molstad Greg Thomes W.E. Bill Russell, Jr.p Matt Shapiro Gary Tompkins

1990-1991
Rusty
Molstad

South Dakota
 

1991-1992
Greg
Thomes

Minnesota

1992-1993
W.E. "Bill"
Russell, Jr.
South Carolina

1993-1994
Matt
Shapiro

Pennsylvania

1994-1995
Gary
Tompkins

Missouri


1995-1996
Kelly
Willis

Nebraska

(Deceased)

1996-1997
Michael
Marshall

Indiana

1997-1998
Eric
Seidel

Florida

1999
Chris
Reese

Arkansas


The 1990’s

Fortunately for us, and our world, youth is not easily discouraged.
The hopes of the world rest on the flexibility, vigor, capacity for new thought, and the fresh outlook of the young.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Observers of the Jaycee scene in 1989-90 recall a sense of acceptance that the organization was unlikely to grow. Too many years of decreasing membership had created a climate of relatively low expectations in this regard. There was a further drop of 3,600 members by year’s end, but that drop was not as bad as the years preceding or following it.

Seventieth President Robby Dawkins would be the last to preside over an organization calling itself The U.S. Jaycees. After 24 years of operations under that name, delegates to the 1990 Annual Meeting would vote to officially restore the name of The U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce, partly in hopes the traditional name might attract more white-collar members. As Dawkins recently noted, it was a courageous decision for the membership to make. “Our discussions leading up to the Annual Meeting were very interesting and the general thought was that we had lost our way and gotten away from what our founder wished us to be,” he said.

Interestingly, prior to the re-adoption of the old name, much of the nation’s media had finally stopped incorrectly referring to the organization as The U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce. The 1994 edition of The Associated Press Style and Libel Manual still hadn’t caught up, however, stating the Junior Chamber of Commerce “no longer exists,” and referring editors to the listing “Jaycees.”

One of the first major acts taken by Dawkins’ officers was to approve a $335,000 loan to the Jaycee War Memorial Fund to purchase the house and property directly east of the headquarters and directly west of the Founders Home. This house, today called Keystone Place, has since served as the home of the executive vice president and frequently has housed special guest of the corporation.

Upon the suggestion of 59th President Barry Kennedy, the executive board of directors also approved a recognition area for Vietnam War veterans near the archives. Jaycees in Nebraska, Ohio, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia made the initial cash contributions for the project.

Along with approving plans for The U.S. Jaycees to raise $10 million for a permanent endowment, the executive committee also recommended the organization focus its next three years on the areas of environmental concerns, the homeless, governmental affairs and issues, and matters relating to drug and alcohol abuse. Non-Jaycee fundraising programs would be eliminated, the committee decreed, at the end of the current contracts.

About his executive committee, Dawkins said in 1994, “I have never met a more talented group of individuals, before or since . . . They were a wonderful team.” His comment has been echoed by other past presidents about their executive committees.

At the Governmental Affairs Leadership Seminar, President George Bush was presented with a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment that would prohibit knowingly casting contempt on the American flag. “The Jaycees have promoted patriotism since our founding,” said Dawkins. “Desecration of the flag is an insult to volunteers and to all Americans.” Following the annual trek to Washington, D.C., the executive committee granted three year extensions to external policies that called for a balanced budget amendment; a presidential line item veto; endorsement of the “Just Say No’ fight against substance abuse; chapter awareness campaigns urging compliance with Selective Service System registration; and support for an American Institute of Architects program to develop shelter for the nation’s homeless.

Some of these topics were discussed on the “Question of the Week” television show broadcast by the chapter in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Marking its 35th year on the air in 1989, the show was thought to hold the record for the longest continuous run of any television program in the country, with the possible exception of network evening newscast. The Little Rock, Arkansas, chapter was nearing 10 years of televising six half-hour programs a year called “Facing the Issues.”_The Spokane Valley and Lake City Jaycee chapters, in Washington and Idaho, respectively, used the radio airwaves to raise $21,000 in a radiothon for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Delaware Jaycees, led by State President Karen Gregson, launched an AIDS awareness program, raising $1,000 toward housing and educational projects.

Early in the 1990, the production of Jaycees Magazine was returned entirely to the national headquarters staff, with the exception of final printing. Immediately, Jaycees enjoyed a boost in news about the organization, an area that had suffered while it was being published by an outside company.

Readers found out about the 500,000 toys provided to children at Christmas by the Arkansas Jaycees, the 22 events conducted by the Howell Jaycees in Michigan as part of their 30th annual Howell Melon Festival, and the disaster relief fundraising efforts of the Jaycees in Bristol, Rhode Island, a week before the chapter was officially chartered.

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Capital City Jaycees turned an Individual Development project, Theater Appreciation Night, into a Community Development fundraiser. Jaycees attended a New Mexico Repertory Theater production of “The Rocky Horror Show,” hosted a reception following the performance and used the proceeds to help the Bright Hopes Foundation, a vocational/rehabilitative ranch for handicapped adults.

The La Place Jaycees in southeastern Louisiana staged its 17th annual Krewe deMonde Parade and Royal Court Ball in February, raising $20,000 for a variety of community projects. South Carolina Jaycees completed extraordinary fundraising efforts, meeting their $75,000 commitment for Jaycee Camp Hope and an additional $100,000 in the March of Dimes Walk America. Camp Virginia Jaycee, a 90-acre facility for the mentally retarded, improved its operations and appearance after 150 Jaycees spent a weekend repairing a septic tank, pulling weeds, building a playground and painting the kitchen. “There ain’t no glory in fixing a septic tank,” commented Tom Kittler, camp fundraising director.

The Nebraska Jaycees and the Wilmington Jaycees from North Carolina found glory at the 70th Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. Nebraska topped the Parade of States listings for the year while Wilmington Jaycees toted the Harold A. Marks Memorial Award home as the outstanding chapter. A marathon runner, attorney and Phi Beta Kappa member from Sturgis, South Dakota, Rusty Molstad, was elected unopposed as 1990-91 president of the newly renamed U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Molstad’s year was overshadowed by budgetary concerns and the war in the Persian Gulf. In March 1991, when the executive board of directors was deciding the following year’s budget, the organization was struggling with an income drop of $166,000 compared to the previous year and increased expenses of $17,000. Despite an impassioned plea from Molstad that a 10 percent cut in the personnel budget would “destroy the headquarters,” his executive committee decided to make that reduction in the 1991-92 budget.

Project Home Front was launched at about the same time, encouraging chapters to help the families of servicemen and women who were involved in the Persian Gulf War. Warmly supported by President George Busch, Project Home Front activities conducted by Junior Chamber chapters included running food drives, delivering meals, doing yard work and “providing a shoulder to cry on.”

Also put into motion during the 1990-91 year was the leadership Academy, designed to improve new member development and activation by linking them with more experienced members. Gaining experience on the firing line in Tulsa were 37 teams at the 25th annual International BB Gun Championship Match, sponsored by Daisy Manufacturing Company, Inc.

On July 19, a new recognition area at War Memorial Headquarters honoring Vietnam veterans was unveiled. Tulsa artists Philip Johnson, John Gaskill and Kurt Stenstrom combined talents to create an 8-by-11-foot mural representing all branches of the armed services, flanked by stained glass windows with the colors of the service ribbons awarded to Vietnam veterans.

The U.S. Junior Chamber ended 14 years of national fundraising support for the Muscular Dystrophy Association on Labor Day with the presentation of a $1.3 million check on the annual telethon. Total contributions to the cause since 1976 reached $20 million.

Another milestone was reached in September with the 30th annual Governmental Affairs Leadership Seminar. Among those meeting with the Junior Chamber leaders were Vice President Dan Quayle and three U.S. senators, including former Jaycee Wendell Ford of Kentucky.

Less than a month later, President Molstad was in Eastern Europe, advancing the Junior Chamber philosophy in areas that were not only starting up Jaycee organizations, but also newly structured countries in the case of Estonia and Poland, formerly under strict Communist rule.

Back on the home front, a new 46-minute videotape entitled “Three Ways To Keep Your Kids Off Drugs” offered Jaycees a three step, common sense approach to effective parenting. Individual Development programs underwent major changes in 1990-91, with several in the 15-year-old Dynamics series put on reserve status. Among the new materials introduced in self-study, workbook-style formats were: The Business of Listening; Attitude: Your Most Priceless Possession; Developing Positive Assertiveness; Finding Your Purpose: A Guide to personal Fulfillment; and Influencing Others.

Jaycees across America were putting their newly gained skills to inventive use for others throughout the year. The chapter in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, raised $20,000 for community projects through a community carnival. The unusual combination of a demolition derby and a pig-wrestling contest put $2,000 into the coffers of the Riverton Jaycees in Wyoming.

Even more unusual was the Cow Chip Bingo fundraiser of the Marlow Jaycees in Oklahoma. Numbered squares on a tennis court were sold for $5, a cow was released onto the court and an anxious crowd waited for the “chips to fall.” The purchaser of the winning square received 5 percent of the money collected in each round and the chapter raised $6,000 through the project.

More traditional entertainment was offered in Missouri as the Hannibal Jaycees staged the 35th annual Tom Sawyer Days festival, keeping the spirit of Mark Twain’s legends alive. The pure Americana events included a baby show, stupid human tricks contest, a pet show, mud volleyball, fence painting and Tom and Becky look-alike contests.

Down the river in Mississippi, the Gulfport Jaycees served fee boiled, fried and steamed crawfish at the chapter’s annual Crawfish Festival and Carnival. In Colfax, Washington the Jaycees raised more than $3,000 for a youth center with the annual Crab Fee, while across the state the Bellevue Jaycees were shipping 8,000 cookies to soldiers in the Persian Gulf. The Berkeley Springs Jaycees in West Virginia netted $1,400 from sales at the chapter’s annual Apple Butter Festival.

Jaycee spirits were nourished at the 71st Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. Along with pin trading, “politicking,” and partying, the delegates voted to double the chapter charter fee to $100 and then elected Greg Thomes by acclamation as 1991-92 president of the 227,000 organization. The man from Maple Lake, Minnesota, would face an uphill battle in maintaining members. By the 1992 Annual Meeting, there would be 15,000 fewer Junior Chamber members.

The mounting concern over falling membership was reflected in some of the topics at the 1992 Hours of Power motivational training sessions held during the Congress of Ten Outstanding Young Americans: Legacy and Commitment; Produce or Step Aside; and Grow or Die! More than the usual amount of attention was paid to formulating a budget for the following year. The executive board of directors finally decided to base the upcoming budget on the “conservative” figure of 216,000 members and proposed a budget just short of $5 million. The conservative estimate proved to be not conservative enough when Thomes’ successor started with only 12,000 members.

The 1991-92 board also showed a renewed enthusiasm for positioning The U.S. Junior Chamber in the national spotlight by taking stands on various issues of public interest. Although they rejected a motion to endorse Clarence Thomas as a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, resolutions were passed encouraging adoption of the Volunteer Service Act to remove liability from individuals acting in good faith as volunteers, removing manufacturing and information services restrictions on local telephone companies, and supporting a 12-year term limitation for members of both houses of Congress.

In March, the board encouraged all states to participate in funding a living memorial to Andrew And Charlotte Mungenast (the “First Lady of the Jaycees” who died in November) by renaming the headquarters’ resource library in their honor. The board also started its search for a new executive vice president to replace Bill Brimmer, a national staff officer since the mid-1970s who announced his intention to resign following the Annual Meeting. Selected as the 27th executive vice president of The USJCC from a field of 234 applicants was Stephen P. Lawson, formerly the president and senior executive of several major state associations in Florida.

In Lawson’s home state, the Fort Lauderdale Jaycees were busily planning the chapter’s annual New River Raft Race. Attracting more than 130,000 spectators, the event raises money for Cerebral Palsy through concessions, amusement rides and entry fees for each raft. The Ala Moana Jaycees in Hawaii, helped by Jaycees from other Honolulu-area chapters, procured auction items and provided vital assistance to generate $200,000 through the Hawaii Family Stress Center’s Celebrity Auction.

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, made a special appearance at the 10th anniversary events of the Healthy American Fitness Leaders program in Washington, D.C. Nearly 800 people were present, including former Olympian Mary Lou Retton and representatives of sponsor Allstate Life Insurance Company.

In anticipation of the World Cup Soccer Championship scheduled in the United States for 1994, Mobil Chemical Company teamed up with Jaycee chapters in 1991 to run the Hefty Pass, Kick and Score competition in Minneapolis as well as the new York cities of Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse. The one-day contest tested the soccer skills of boys and girls against others in their age group. After three years of lamenting their closed movie theater, the 2,200 residents of Glenrock, Wyoming, were happy to see the Jaycees rent it and begin showing movies again on weekends.

The 2,300 Jaycees who met in Portland, Oregon, for the 1992 Annual Meeting were happy about a first time convention event: Day of ID, a high-quality national Individual Development college that featured the renowned motivator and author Zig Ziglar, among others.

Once again, balloting for the president did not advance beyond one round. W.E. “Bill” Russell Jr., a second generation Jaycee from Columbia, South Carolina, defeated two other candidates to inherit the gavel for the 1992-93 year. He immediately told his executive board of directors that it was important that The USJCC get back to what it used to do, which was to represent young people of action.

By July, every chapter had received information on the Wake Up, America! Program. Designed to boost voter registration, air public issues, and foster candidate debates and forums. The program would position Jaycees to lead the way for young people to get involved with political issues. Russell considers Wake Up, America! One of the most significant advances of his administration.

In December, Executive Vice President Lawson outlined plans to create a Blue Ribbon Commission of current and former Jaycee officers to “redefine where we were, where we want to go, and how we are going to get there.” The commission would make and implement recommendations based on survey data as well as discussions with Jaycees and business leaders.

A month later, the board approved using the working capital reserve fund to cover a projected deficit of $300,000 for the 1992-93 fiscal year. Approximately $700,000 would remain in the excess cash reserves. As Lawson pointed out in Jaycees Magazine that spring, membership had dropped nearly 48 percent since 1978, while operating costs rose 57 percent in the same 15-year period. Meanwhile, dues income as measured in constant dollars had decreased nearly $1 million.

A 1993-94 budget was prepared based on a $9 dues increase and other anticipated revenues, but was later amended to reflect a hoped-for increase of $5 in dues at the Annual Meeting. Even then, The USJCC annual dues retained by national headquarters would be far less than all other major community service and civic organizations.

A further cost-cutting step was recommended in March when the executive committee suggested running future Governmental Affairs Leadership Seminars and the Ten Outstanding Young Americans events consecutively or concurrently in Washington, D.C. Also discussed and not carried further, was a recommendation to combine the Jaycees Officers Training School with the Annual Meeting. These proposals were made to reduce travel expenses for officers, staff and members wanting to attend the events.

A new Issues, Positions and Resolutions Committee generated resolutions calling for health care reform, anti-stalker legislation in each state, and transferring public lands to affordable housing. Discussion included the need for The USJCC to have a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., to increase the organization’s clout.

The Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce flexed its international muscles with its 41st annual Consular Ball, honoring Mexico and the Houston Consular Corps. The event offered an avenue for business interchange and personal networking. In Illinois, the Quincy Jaycees fell from above during their annual skydiving exhibition and then dove right into a raft race they had organized in conjunction with the city’s Riverfest.

Teachers in Greensboro, North Carolina, got an extra boost from the Jaycees there with the help of Project Teacher Aid. Awards of $500 were given to 20 teachers who had submitted ideas for educational projects schools could not afford to implement. This was one of scores of projects managed by the 1,100 member Greensboro Jaycees during the year, but far from the most sizable. Along with producing the prestigious Greensboro Open golf tournament, the world’s largest chapter also served as host to the 1993 Annual Meeting.

Delegates did not shirk from the difficult decisions placed before them, passing the $5 increase in annual dues, approving the creation of the Blue Ribbon Commission long-range planning committee, and defeating an effort to lower the required member age from 21 to 18 years old. They also established an alumni membership category, allowing former members over 40 years of age to become alumni members. More than 100 Jaycees participated in the first-ever alumni graduation ceremony.

Matt Shapiro, a business owner from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, was elected by acclamation as 74th president of The USJCC. Shapiro had joined the Jaycees 12 years earlier after being impressed by a Monte Carlo gambling night sponsored by the Phoenixville chapter. Within a month of joining, he was portraying the Creature form the Black Lagoon at a haunted house, eventually landing in the hospital with pneumonia.

As he prepared to lead the 193,000 member national organization, he shared his belief that: “We must restructure ourselves to accommodate healthy growth while delivering a consistently good product. This will entail listening to many divergent opinions and leading a team that will be faced with many tough decisions.”

In a Jaycees Magazine commentary to what he called the “shareholders” of The USJCC, Executive Vice President Steve Lawson provided the member a partial preview of the year ahead. Along with an assurance of expanding member and field services, Lawson told of a membership survey about to be conducted to identify member needs and to obtain input and guidance for designing the future. He also pointed to the upcoming role of the Blue Ribbon Commission in identifying strengths and weaknesses in order to make recommendations for comprehensive changes.

One of the changes he was recommending to the Strategic Planning Committee in July was permanently relocating the showcase Ten Outstanding Young Americans event to Washington, D.C., in the future for improved corporate support and media exposure.

A more subtle, but ultimately more significant new direction was taken by the board of directors when it approved a resolution for The USJCC to “deliberately and decisively assume the mantle of principle advocate and ombudsman for young Americans, ages 21 through 39.” The declaration further resolved The USJCC would “seek and adopt an aggressive position, and take action on issues of concern to today’s young Americans.” Echoes of the organization’s founders in 1920, to become “ the voice of young men in America,” resounded. Now, however, young women were added to the renewed vision.

It wasn’t so much the voice, but the compassion and muscles of Jaycees that were evident after some of the worst flooding in the nation’s history struck the Midwest in the summer of 1993. Jaycee manpower, supplies and funds poured into Iowa, Illinois and Missouri from as far away as Hawaii. The Florida Junior Chamfer dubbed its flood-relief efforts “Returning the Favor,” remembering how Jaycees in Iowa delivered a 22-truck convoy of supplies to Florida following Hurricane Andrew a year earlier.

A $75,000 flood relief check was presented by the Florida Junior Chamber to the affected states at the 33rd Annual Governmental Affairs Leadership seminar in September. Among those meeting with the delegates was Vice President Al Gore, a 1980 Ten Outstanding Young Men honoree. “I have personally seen this organization make a tremendous difference in the lives of young men and women throughout our country,” Gore said. “People who have not been in the Jaycees and who have not been part of the enthusiasm and spirit of the Jaycees don’t really fully understand what a difference it does make.”

Fulfilling one of Executive Vice President Lawson’s personal priorities for the organization, corporate America was starting to rediscover and invest in The USJCC in 1993-94. Phillips Petroleum Company made a three-year $350,000 commitment to fund GreenWorks! And the American Forest Foundation’s Project Learning Tree was added to the program. R.J. Reynolds provided an unrestricted $150,000 to sponsor a Jaycees Against Youth Smoking program, focused on encouraging retailers to reduce youth access to tobacco products and supporting community age restriction laws.

Chrysler began providing VIP vehicles for national Junior Chamber events as well as funding to be a major sponsor of the Congress of Ten Outstanding Young Americans. In another Chrysler program, the company began making donations to chapters for generating test drives of its new Neon car.

Chrysler also donated a support vehicle to the Jaycees World Ride Against Cancer, a three-man bicycling team led by Massachusetts Jaycee Richard Drorbaugh, that pedaled through 32 countries to raise funds for cancer research. Junior Chamber members across America coordinated fundraising drives for the cause and welcomed the bicyclists into their homes during the U.S. leg of the team’s transcontinental journey.

Jaycees Magazine reported on several Junior Chamber chapter success stories, such as the Parada del sol sponsored for 41 years by the Jaycees in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s the world’s largest horse-drawn parade and is rated one of the top 100 events in the nation by the American Business Association. Proceeds from the festivities went to a number of charities.

Another success story recounted was the 14-year of hard work and determination put in by the Las Vegas Jaycees to open a senior citizens’ mobile home park. Starting in 1979 with an 80-acre donation of land from the Bureau of Land Management, the Jaycees had to overcome many private and government sector obstacles before opening the first 157-unit phase of the park in 1993. Valued at $6.2 million, the project was realized at no cost to taxpayers.

At the headquarters, several advancements were noted by Executive Vice President Lawson as the year drew to a close. Among them: a toll-free member help line had been installed; more than $100,000 in non dues revenue had been generated through a new telephone sales office; a travel services office with a toll-free line had been established; and an alumni membership program had been successfully launched.

Soon it was time for Jaycees to reunite in Orlando, Florida, for the 74th Annual Meeting. The movement had decreased to 162,000 members, but there was a sense of expectancy in the air unlike recent years. New programs, new planning and new directions were being explored and 4,000 delegates made the trek to Orlando to be a part of it.

Chapters from Austin, Grimes County, Brownwood and Garland in Texas took four of the 17 awards for Project of the year, with Brownwood also recognized with the Harold A Marks Memorial Award as the outstanding chapter. The West End Jaycees in Virginia received the Dr. Jerry Bruce Memorial Award for best chapter project in recognition of its flood relief drive.

For the first time in more than a decade, balloting for the presidency went beyond one round. More than five hours and 10 ballots were needed to elect Gary Tompkins president of The USJCC, completing a 75-year link in the legacy of leadership. Not since Henry Giessenbier accepted the first gavel of national command of the movement in 1920 had a man from Missouri reached the top elected post.

Tompkins quickly outlined his goals for the 1994-95 year: stop the membership decline; become the “organization of voice” for young Americans; break ground on a national focus project; develop a five-year plan with training modules that teach members at every level how to do their job; and make the public aware of The USJCC and its purpose. Within weeks of his election, action was being taken to solidify the opportunity for success of each goal.

The slippage in membership slowed considerably in the early months of his administration, suggesting a turnaround finally could be in the offing after nine consecutive years of decline. At the 34th Global and Government Affairs Leadership Seminar, funding was approved to develop a national advocacy program as a separate arm of The USJCC.

Tentatively titled The Jaycee Alliance, the program aimed to be a free value-added benefit to Junior Chamber members while opening the doors for non-Jaycees to join as well. Its mission, as defined by the Blue Ribbon Commission for long-range planning, would be to provide opportunities for the development of young people through their participation in the issues affecting their community, state and nation. The developers of The Jaycee Alliance said they expected it to become as potent and well known as the American Association of Retired People, again thrusting The USJCC into the forefront of national policy decisions.

Tompkins’ desire for a national focus project also was moved forward in September with the approval of the Junior Chamber Mission Inn program. Fundraising efforts began immediately to establish in St. Louis the first of what is planned to be a network of pediatric and adolescent AIDS facilities, each with the Junior Chamber Mission Inn name. “As the program expands and grows through chapter support and publicity,” Tompkins said, “people will recognize the Junior Chamber as the founder of pediatric AIDS facilities throughout the country.”

The Blue Ribbon Commission began preparing its long-range plan for the improvement of the Junior Chamber organization. Tompkins, a member of the commission, praised the openness of the process: “Thousands of Jaycees had input through hearings and surveys.”

Seemingly undeterred by the dramatic changes and newly created opportunities on the national scene, Junior Chamber chapters across America continued their traditions of community service. Within hours of hearing a request from former Jaycee and new Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris, Hawaii Jaycees had rounded up more than 1,000 volunteers to clean up a monumental accumulation of graffiti.

Several Delaware chapters also teamed up to do a massive GreenWorks! Cleanup of various locations along the Atlantic coast. A Lincoln Youth Sports and Safety Day was conducted by the Lincoln chapter in Nebraska. The day included baseball, softball and soccer competitions, a fingerprinting project and safety presentations. Youth in the Waterfield area of Maine were recognized for their special art skills with the chapter’s annual Children’s Art Fest.

As 1994 moved into 1995, bold moves were made to “rightsize” the national staff in Tulsa. Accounting and data processing functions were outsourced while other departments were significantly reduced or combined. The moves were among several dramatic but necessary steps taken to keep the organization’s $5.2 million budget in line.

Meanwhile, a record $1.2 million in new corporate funding was lined up with 3-M Media, R.J. Reynolds, Chrysler, First USA Banks, Prudential, Kimberly-Clark and Kmart. “Corporate America believes in this organization and is investing in us like never before,” said Executive Vice President Lawson.

Planning was entering the final stages for the 75th Annual Meeting to be held in St. Louis. Anheuser-Busch promised to provide malt beverages for The Great Jaycee Reunion, as the meeting was being called, and provided $125,000 in new funding to underwrite the historic event as well as other special activities associated with the 75th anniversary.

National Junior Chamber Week activities were kicked off with the movement’s leaders and registrants from across the country gathered in Tulsa for the 57th Congress of Ten Outstanding Young Americans. Chapters were encouraged to recognize their former members in various ways during the week, drawing inspiration from the deeds of alumni to propel the current members forward.

The week ended January 21, 75 years to the day since a young man called Hy had stood before a caucus of other young men from various cities and shared his incredible vision.

A destiny beyond even their most imaginative dreams had been realized. An incredible legacy of leaders and leadership for a great nation had been forged.

It was a time for reflection, pride and gratitude.

And, as they had done for three-quarters of a century, it was time for Jaycees to press forward, each creating a personal legacy to ripple across the decades to come.

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