June 3, 2014

Jaycees celebrating 55 years of social contribution

Tue, Jun 03, 2014

Keeping civic and social organizations alive and active while ensuring that they continue to contribute to national development is no easy task in St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

It requires committed leadership and the resolution to persevere in the face of all sorts of challenges. The determination to fight on to overcome inevitable lulls is an important ingredient of success.

For all these reasons the local chapter of the Junior Chamber International, fondly known as the “Jaycees,” can feel justly proud as it celebrates its 55th anniversary this year.

Founded in the year 1959 on the initiative of a Barbadian schoolmaster, Phillip Greaves, and two locals, the Connell brothers – Joe and Arthur, the Jaycees grew to become one of the most prominent social institutions in our country.

Over its more than half-a-century of existence, the Jaycees have made indelible contributions to social life in our country. It can boast of a glorious record of achievement. Many of our younger people probably are not aware, and some of the older ones may have forgotten, but the Jaycees organization was for a decade synonymous with the organization of Carnival activities at the national level. It ran the festival from 1962 to 1972, to the extent that what is now Miss SVG was then the Jaycees Carnival Queen Show.

We are all aware of the National Lottery today and its contribution from the proceeds of its games, to sport and culture. Well, the Jaycees initiated the forerunner, the famous Jaycees Radio Bingo, funding a number of projects, such as an ambulance for the hospital, contribution to the national Sports Complex at Arnos Vale and a clinic at Fancy.

Other social legacies are the secondary schools public speaking competition and the primary schools spelling bee, while through its weekly radio programmes, the Jaycees and You, public education was provided on a variety of topics. The Jaycees building at Stoney Ground is another lasting landmark, the organization not only constructing its headquarters, but providing recreational facilities for the public in the form of a playground, volleyball court and indoor facilities for table tennis and other indoor games.

Perhaps the greatest contribution of the Jaycees has been in the field of leadership development. Many of our leaders of today in a wide range of fields and sectors were trained by the Jaycees, its many courses and seminars giving valuable training in management and leadership.

As the organization winds up Jaycees week, it does so in the satisfaction that it has contributed solidly to social development in St Vincent and the Grenadines and has etched its name in Vincentian history. (Contributed)