THE HISTORY OF THE GAHANNA JAYCEES
The Gahanna Jaycees were formed in April of 1998. The Kroger Company supported the extension of the organization by sponsoring several employees to become members. Following the creation of the Jaycees in the Gahanna community, Mayor McGregor signed a proclamation declaring the Jaycees as an official organization. Upon the signing of the proclamation, the Gahanna Jaycees were focused on getting their name out in the community. In order to accomplish such a feat, we assisted several more established organizations with their projects. These would include volunteering for the Gahanna Polo Classic, American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.
Many members realized that the way to get recognized in the community was to attend several community festivals including the Gahanna Flea Market, River and Games Day; and the July 4th Parade.
Not only did the Jaycees work with other organizations but they also ran several of their own projects. The first project ran was Project Provide. This was held at two grocery stores in the area and the chapter asked patrons for donations to help the victims of the floods. At the same time, we also asked residents of Gahanna to complete a survey indicating their concerns for the community. These surveys were turned into the Mayor during a planning session. We also realized that during the holidays, there are many families who could not afford to provide for their families. The Jaycees took this need to heart and in 1998 adopted two families in the area and one larger in 1999. The funds were raised through projects such as Spaghetti Dinners, selling candles, and asking for donations from local businesses. Talk about getting out and helping the community!
Although the community is a main focus, we also run several projects for the membership itself. We have socialized at local restaurants, held BBQ’s and bonfires, attended sporting events and even joined a bowling league. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and make long-lasting friendships.
During the same time the Gahanna Jaycees were getting respect in their community, they were also getting respect in the Ohio Jaycees. They were in the top 10 in the state organization for the year and ran many award winning projects. This chapter was highly decorated for being a first year chapter. Many members, officers and projects received awards from the State organization. Quite an accomplishment for 20 young people who sought to better their community and, in the long run, better themselves. It is amazing when you see all the positive results this organization has brought among the community and the members just by focusing on the needs of others.