The La Crosse Junior Chamber International (JCI) chapter has been a staple in the community since 1935. They started Riverfest years ago, organize Toys For Tots, and help string Christmas lights for Rotary Lights.
But now the Jaycees are at risk of shutting down their chapter. There was a time when the organization had around 200 members. Now they only have 18, which is below the number required to remain an organization.
“If we lose our chapter we lose a lot of things in the community,” Jaycees volunteer Jason Jones said. “The biggest thing we are known for is Toys for Tots. That would go away. We’ve all kind of sat there in silence and looked at each other when we thought of that and said ‘we can’t let that happen.'”
The JCI organization focuses on empowering young people, which also means there is an age limit. To be a member you must be between the ages of 18-41. If you are outside that age range you can still help volunteer at events, but won’t have voting rights or be able to sit on the board.
With so many events that the Jaycees help organize, the time commitment might seem daunting. However, members are encouraged to participate as much -or as little- as they can.
“There is not a time commitment,” Jones explained. “We don’t say ‘hey you’re a member you’ve got to come to xyz’, we say ‘hey you’re a member come give as much time as you can.'”
If you are interested in becoming a JCI member, you can check out the organization at https://lacrossejaycees.org/