Jaycees lend a hand in the community

Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm

By Kim Brooks, Express Editor

The Monticello Jaycees organization has been around for just over 50 years. As a “young person’s organization,” the Jaycees cater to those 18-40 years old. The group’s mission is to: “Provide the opportunity for young adults to develop personal and leadership skills through local community involvement and organizational involvement while expanding the Junior Chamber movement.”

The Jaycees is known as the “Junior Chamber” of the U.S.

“We do a lot of community-oriented projects,” said Ann Brighton, president of the Monticello Jaycees. Brighton has been a member for four years now.

A lot of the events in and around the Monticello community would not be possible without the local Jaycees. Some of those family-friendly events include:

the Sandbox Fill

BINGO at the Great Jones County Fair

participate in the 4th of July parade

manage a food booth at the Fun on Friday Night event

assist with the Avenue of Flags for Memorial Day

host the Halloween party for children at the high school prior to the band performance

help with the children’s fishing derby at Central Park

clean up the football field and stand after home games

host Super Shooters, a basketball clinic for kids in grades third through eighth

host Run, Punt, Pass, a football clinic for kids in grades third through eighth

plan and organize the annual Easter Egg Hunt in Monticello

Toys for Kids campaign for Christmas gifts for needy families in Jones County

sponsors the $500 Al Lubben Memorial Scholarship for a MHS graduate

MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) fundraiser

The local Jaycees also donate towards numerous needs in the community: Geography Bee, Camp Courageous, Relay For Life, Monticello schools and more.

“We try and stay active in the community,” said Brighton.

With so much on their plates and young families and young people being involved in the community in other ways the Jaycees are seeing a shortfall when it comes to membership. With just under 20 members, Brighton said they have to maintain at least 20 members to stay active, a guideline passed down from the national organization.

“The Jaycees help keep projects going in the community that people enjoy,” she said. Without the active group, who knows if these events will carry on.

“We need more people with fresh ideas,” Brighton said. She hopes others will join the Jaycees and bring new and exciting ideas for fundraisers and community events.

One major fundraiser for the Jaycees, fair BINGO, brings in well over $1,000 for the group, at just 25 cents a card! Brighton said they use the money to fund the $500 scholarship for a graduating Monticello senior.

The annual spaghetti supper and auction help to fund their Toys for Kids campaign during the holidays. Brighton said they are able to make Christmas that much better for a deserving family in Jones County. The penitentiary also donates woodcarvings for the auction.

The Monticello Jaycees group is now the only Jaycees alive and active in Jones County. Brighton said as some members “age out,” they hope to fill the roster with new people, wanting to connect with others their age and help the community.

“We hate to see so many of our events go away,” she said.

Some of their members who age out of Jaycees have gone on to remain active in other community groups such as Rotary and Lions.

To join the Jaycees, at a cost of $50 a year, contact members Ann Brighton at 319-480-9208 or ann_bri@msn.com or Kati Besler at 319-481-7346 or kati.besler@gmail.com.

Their next meeting will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. at Happy Joe’s here in Monticello. Anyone is welcome to attend and join at that time.