Who We Are and What We Do
The Springfield Jaycees is a local chapter of the Illinois Jaycees, the national organization JCI USA, and the Junior Chamber International (JCI). We are a leadership development organization for young professionals age 18-40.
We help you grow through community service, individual development and management events. We can give you a whole new group of friends, a stronger resume, and opportunities for community involvement. Our projects have local and global impact. We have something for everyone!
For more information about the Springfield Jaycees, please feel free to email [email protected].
Simply put, the purpose of the local chapter is to become a force for good in the community, determining community needs and providing solutions by planning and facilitating community service projects. In the act of serving, members receive hands-on experience, which translates to the enhancement of personal growth and the development of valuable leadership skills.
It all began when a 22-year-old St. Louis bank clerk and Herculaneum Dance Club president set out to attack such wild new dances as the grizzly beat, tango, and fox trot. From this modest beginning, Henry Giessenbier’s dance clubs moved forward and on October 13, 1915, 32 young men formed the Young Men’s Progressive Civic Association, turning its attention to civic affairs. In 1916, the Y.M.P.C.A. changed its name to Junior Citizens, from which came the nickname JC, or when spelled out, Jaycees. The JCs were quickly noted by various civic-minded businessmen and in 1918 became affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce and changed its name from Junior Citizens to the St. Louis Junior Chamber of Commerce, after which the fame of its civic work began to spread.
The idea was contagious and, in January 1920, chapters in 12 cities met to form the National JC organization with Henry Giessenbier as its first president. After battling for its existence during World War II, the U.S.J.C.C. boomed and today there are more than 6000 clubs and nearly 300,000 young people across the country.
A world alliance of JCs was formed in 1944 in Mexico City, with the founding of the Junior Chamber International with the avowed purpose and one obligation of a “way toward world peace.” The J.C.I now consists of a network of 107 free world nations with more than 350,000 members on its rolls.
The United States Junior Chamber chartered the Springfield Jaycees on November 16, 1939 with the mission of leadership training through community service. Since then the chapter has hosted favorite Springfield holiday traditions including the Haunted House, Capital City Celebration, and the Santa Parade. We have partnered to create Crimestoppers, Boys Club, Lincoln Greens, Jaycee Park, and the Capital Airport and supported youth, senior citizens, and the community. We continue to develop young leaders and serve.
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!
The year was 1946; the place, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.; the event, the United States Junior Chamber National Convention. Visitors came from Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe and the Philippine Islands. It was here that the idea of a JCI Creed was born. Past President of the Ohio Junior Chamber and National Vice President of the United States Junior Chamber C. William Brownfield realized at this convention that the organization did not have a Creed. He was inspired by the devotion of Junior Chamber members “to the purpose of serving mankind in a thousand different ways, right down at the grass roots where freedom lives or dies.”
Brownfield saw Junior Chamber as “the potential for a new force in the world, one capable of changing the balance between victory or defeat for our chosen way of life in a time of crisis.”
The actual writing of the Creed took place in July 1946 during a drive from Brownfield’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to his coal mine in New Lexington, a journey of about 75 minutes. He started that journey with a firm conviction in his mind to work on the Creed. It was during that trip that the following words came to mind and were put on paper:
The brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations.
Economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise.
Government should be of laws rather than of men.
Earth’s great treasure lies in human personality.
Service to humanity is the best work of life.
In 1950 the first line, “We believe that faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life.” was added. Here’s a piece of “Jeopardy” – in the original creed, “government” was misspelled.
Since it was written, Junior Chamber members all over the world recite the Creed at local, national and international meetings and functions. During that time there has been much discussion of the interpretation of the Creed. The author himself said, “Every member is free to interpret the Creed in the light of his own conscience.”
Board of Directors
Service is Leadership… Leadership is Action
- Emily Watts – Chapter President
- Patrick Meyer – Management Vice President
- Austin Harris – Membership Vice President
- Rianna Hollenstine- Community Vice President
- Samuel Chibueze – Treasurer
- Shadaye Hunnicutt – Secretary
- Ellyn Thorson – Past President, Chairman of the Board