Thanksgiving Primer

Blog Labor DayAs we move towards the end of 2014, we come to the beginning of some folk’s favorite time of year – holiday party season! As active Jaycees, we know how to logistically plan and execute a great event. But once the decorations are up, the food has been ordered, and the guest list finalized, how do you make sure that you’re on top of your best mingling game? The answer is simple – have a few key holiday facts ready to go as conversation starters. Not only will you build on your reputation as a knowledgeable person of obscure facts, but you may end up as the highlight of the social evening.

Here’s a few easy to remember facts about Thanksgiving to get you started:

  • The first t.v. dinner was introduced in 1953 when Swanson ordered too many frozen turkeys…about 26 tons worth. In true crisis management solution mode, they cut the turkeys into slices, added some trimmings, repackaged, and presto – dinners that would change our society.
  • Benjamin Franklin unsuccessfully lobbied for the turkey as America’s national bird. In comparison to the bald eagle, Franklin noted that the turkey was a, “much more respectable bird.” Probably not as good eating, though.
  • While Black Friday may be retail’s biggest day, merchants are not alone. National plumbing giant Roto-Rooter reports the day after Thanksgiving as their busiest time of the year. The connection is fairly obvious.
  • Only male turkeys, called toms, gobble. Female turkeys, named hens, are more inclined to cackle.
  • Approximately 280 million turkeys are sold for Thanksgiving. This equates to about 7 billion pounds of meat with a total costs in the neighborhood of $3 billion.

As you sit down with family and friends this holiday, remember to appreciate how fortunate we are to be involved with an organization that not only improves us as individuals, but also works to build a better future for all in our community. Take a moment to be thankful for 2014 and look ahead to a brighter 2015…and don’t be afraid to drop a few interesting Thanksgiving facts.

What do you have planned for the Thanksgiving holiday? Are you spending it with friends? Family? An intimate gathering or a big party? We want to hear about your plans on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Why Join the Jaycees?

Business attireRecruiting can seem like a challenging endeavor for anyone coming up through the Junior Chamber ranks. When we look at recruiting, we need to think about how we ourselves may purchase the things we hold dear in life. In other words, what is the value versus the cost. In order to understand this, let’s break it down a little:

Costs of Joining the Jaycees:

  • Membership Dues – This is typically the first cost we encounter, and in recruiting, we often believe it is the hardest to overcome. However, if we look at common consumer spending habits across the United States for people within the 18-40 demographics, nothing could be farther from the truth. At an average of $50.00 annually, membership costs are significantly lower than what the demographic pays monthly in phone bills, coffee, eating out or bar nights, etc. Why do all of these seem more essential than a Jaycee membership?
  • Time Commitments – This is one that comes as potential members know the organization (or at least think they know the organization), or they might know current active members in the organization. How many of us have posted about how stressed we are about an upcoming project, a board position, or other? Many times, people perceive the “work” and “time” as much more significant than it is, or at least has to be.
  • Other Financial Costs – This can include events, conventions, donations, etc. Again, these costs are all voluntary, but can lead to an expanded Jaycee experience.

Value of Joining the Jaycees:

  • Networks – Whether personal or professional, the networks within the Jaycee family should be valued above the cost of membership alone. There is something powerful to know that you are in an organization that crosses international borders, with more than 220,000 members globally. Getting involved helps us to create these connections, and build lasting friendships.
  • Training – The type of training that the Junior Chamber provides can be a very costly endeavor in the professional world. Don’t believe me? Google “Leadership Training” or “Project Management Training” and see for yourself.
  • New Experiences – Ever had the chance to meet the President of the United States or a Fortune 500 company? What about learning about other cultures? Traveling? Running Projects? The opportunities and experiences that you can get through membership are limitless!

These are just a few examples of the benefits of joining the Junior Chamber movement. When we look at recruiting we need to remember our own purchasing behavior, and we can get a pretty good idea by asking a single question: Does the product have enough value to overcome the cost? Current members and alumni will be the first to tell you that our product (membership) value far exceeds the cost! To be effective in recruiting, we need to demonstrate the benefits of membership. We can start working together here. How have the Jaycee impacted your life? Share your story!

Ending Strong

Blog Mid year Leadership ReviewAs we start to wind down 2014 and look ahead to 2015, it’s important that we end the year strong. Whether it’s wrapping up an in-progress Jaycee project, making a final push at work before the holidays, or completing the home chores that have somehow evaded your schedule for the past few months, getting organized will help you finish off 2014 on a positive note, and build momentum for the start of 2015. Here are a few easy steps to help you refocus on making the most of this year’s final two months.

  • Don’t overdo it. With only a couple months before the end of the year, make your goals manageable. It is unlikely that you can squeeze six months’ worth of projects into the final 60 or so days, so don’t try. It will only leave you frustrated – develop reasonable expectations.
  • Concentrate on finishing up, not starting new. Rather than initiating projects that will run into January and beyond, instead work towards completing open or unfinished tasks. Not only will you be able to scratch that job off your list, you will also feel a sense of accomplishment from finishing up and not leaving work that you’ll “get to next year.”
  • Review your successes from 2014. If you’re the typical Jaycee, you’ve grown this year. Whether improving your personal toolkit, assisting on projects to help others in your community, or leading in your chapter’s efforts to improve, take a look at the things you did right, and what could be done better the next time…you get another chance in a couple months.

As you take the time to review and plan for the end of year and beyond, your successes will help you not only feel better about what you have accomplished, but also lay the groundwork for even more significant projects in 2015 and ultimately, continuous improvement.

Tell us what you’re planning for year’s end. Are you finishing up a Jaycees project? Getting set for next year? Share with your fellow Jaycees on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We can all benefit from your inspiration.

Remembering Those Who Have Served

Veterans DayLeadership. Responsibility. Commitment. These words are not only familiar to Jaycees who spend countless hours each year dedicating time and energy on projects to help their communities, but in a larger sense, to the many Americans who have served our nation as a part of the Armed Forces. From the birth of our country through present day conflicts, whenever the United States has required the service of its citizens to help defend our democracy and the rights of other nations, hundreds of thousands of Americans have answered that call. It is our duty to honor their sacrifices and remember the individual price they have paid to guarantee our freedoms.

November 11th is Veterans Day in the United States, celebrating the service of all past and present members of the Armed Forces. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day holiday in 1919, recognizing those who served on World War I, and remarked, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

In 1954, Congress voted into law the renaming of Armistice Day to Veterans Day, and its expansion to include the recognition of any American who served in our combined military forces. In many cases, Veterans Day is a time for personal or family remembrance, although a recent Society for Human Resource Management poll found that over 20% of employers celebrate the federal holiday in some way.

As Jaycees, we are dedicated to the improvement of our communities and ourselves. The examples provided by those who have served our nation – in times of war and peace, provide a model for the selfless acts and sacrifices that make our country, and our organization a special group to belong to. As we honor our veterans on November 11th, use their dedication as a motivation for your next positive action and selfless contributions that are the core of Jaycee principles.

How does your community honor its veterans? Share your stories on our Facebook and Twitter pages as inspiration to us all.