a. January 1922 – Jacksonville is the 33rd local chapter to be formed under a 2 year old United States Junior Chamber. The term "Jaycees" originally comes from a group formed in St. Louis in 1915 called the "Young Men's Progressive Civic Association", which changed it's name to "Junior Citizens" the next year, and was eventually nicknamed "JC". The spelled out version "Jaycees" was widely adopted soon afterwards.
Jacksonville Jaycees run their first community project
a. Titled "Made in Jacksonville", the first project was a 6 day Industrial Exhibition that brought in over 42,000 visitors to the city.
Jacksonville Jaycees face the Great Depression
a. 1930s - Focused on boosting community morale, the Jacksonville Jaycees spent much of this era holding local sporting events and public festivals and dances. In the civic arena, the group participated in the implementation of driver's licenses for local drivers, the placement of NAS Jax, installation of the Florida Highway Patrol, and the designation of the Ft. Caroline National Monument.
Jacksonville Jaycees War bond drive nets over $2,000,000
a. 1943 - WWII took large portions of the membership overseas to serve in the military. Those left at home aided national organizations like the Red Cross and the Draft Board…and even founded the Officer's Club at NAS Jax to service the military population.
Jacksonville Jaycees host the inaugural Jacksonville Open Golf Tournament
a. 1945 – Played on the Westside's Hyde Park Golf Course and won by Sam Snead, the Jacksonville Open was the first major golf tournament held in the city and, through it's association with the PGA Tour, eventually developed into today's Player's Championship held at TPC Sawgrass.
Past President of the Jacksonville Jaycees: Charlie Bennett elected to the US House of Representatives
a. 1948 – Charlie was Florida's longest serving Representative ever and was instrumental in establishing the House Ethics Committee. He also served in WWII, earning the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Combat Infantry Badge. He has long been known for his strong code of ethics in Washington. He passed away in 2003 at 92.
Past President of the Jacksonville Jaycees: Fuller Warren elected 30th Governor of Florida
a. 1949 - Fuller Warren, who the I-95 bridge spanning the St. John's River is named after, had an interesting and politician-like opinion in the debate to make Florida a "dry state" during his election year. Warren has been held to have delivered a speech more often the famous "if-by-whiskey" remark:
i. "If you mean the demon drink that poisons the mind, pollutes the body, desecrates family life, and inflames sinners, then I'm against it. But if you mean the elixir of Christmas cheer, the shield against winter chill, the taxable potion that puts needed funds into public coffers to comfort little crippled children, then I'm for it. This is my position, and I will not compromise."
Jacksonville Jaycees enter into their relationship with Rodeheaver's Boy's Ranch
a. 1954 – Mostly a financial donor, the Jacksonville Jaycees, along with other chapters in the vicinity, has supported the Ranch for decades. Never more were the Jacksonville Jaycees needed than in the late ‘80s when the Ranch declared Bankruptcy and could not support the kids. Many members of the Jacksonville Jaycees offered up their homes and temporarily "adopted" the boys until the Ranch got back on its feet financially. Today the Jacksonville Jaycees provide Christmas treats, gifts, and a day of fun with members at the Ranch.
Jacksonville Jaycees launch the inaugural Miss Jacksonville Pageant
a. 1955 – The Ms. Jacksonville Pageant is an event just under the Ms. Florida Pageant, the final step to the Ms. America Pageant. The event still runs today, although not managed by the Jacksonville Jaycees anymore. 1962's Ms. Jacksonville went on to win Ms. Florida.
Jacksonville Jaycees honored as the largest Jaycee Chapter in the World!
a. 1961 – The Jacksonville Jaycees were recognized as the largest with a membership of over 1000 that year. The period that followed were perhaps the most storied years of the Jaycees in as far as their popularity for male-dominated machismo. These fraternity-like years are still looked back on fondly by many of the Jacksonville Jaycee surviving male members.
Jacksonville Jaycees host 1st Annual Hall of Terror
a. 1970 - Now the Jaycees primary fundraiser each year, the Hall of Terror has made it's home in many different forms and locations throughout Jacksonville…most recently in 2006 at Adventure Landing amusement park, where it still runs today during the weeks entering Halloween. A great majority of Jacksonvillians will still remember the Jaycees Hall in Market Square Mall, where it ran for over 15 years.
Jacksonville Jaycees vote to allow women membership in the organization
a. July 3, 1984 – The US Supreme Court ruled that the Jaycees were a "Place of Public Accommodation" and therefore mandated allowance of all people. The US Junior Chamber immediately followed suit and began allowing women on August 16, 1984. Until then women were only allowed to participate in the "Jaycee-etts" – a group of mostly spouses who, more than likely, did most of the work for the Jaycees behind the scenes!
Jacksonville Jaycees host city-wide High School Student Congress
a. 1994 – Held at what is now the Crown Plaza Hotel, high schools from all over the city sent congressional delegations to pass bills in smaller groups and then come together in a larger session for ratification of those bills, therefore mimicking the political process of our country.
Jacksonville Jaycees host Celebrity roast of Jim King, former President of Florida Senate
a. 2002 – Jim King's election year featured him as the celebrity in the Jacksonville Jaycees annual roast. This banner year brought over 500 guests and raised over $40,000 in a single night!
Jacksonville Jaycee Arwen Pritchett elected to the Jaycee Senate
a. The Jaycee Senatorship (called the JCI Senate) is the most prestigious honor a Jaycee can receive. Individuals who have been in the Jaycee organization for at least 5 years and who have applied their leadership skills to growing and improving the organization may be awarded a Senatorship in (JCI), bearing a unique number.
In November of 2014 Latisha Cummings was elected the 95th President of the Jacksonville Jaycees. She is the first Black female president in the Chapter's history.
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