September 10, 2007

Delano Jaycees builds leadership skills and provides community volunteerism

By Cullen Schultz
Staff Writer

In order for communities and countries to succeed as well as thrive, it takes a great deal of commitment and time. It also involves people taking an active role in leadership not only in the community, but in the business world as well.

The Jaycees have been a leading organization for building leadership skills, and community volunteerism in young business men and women in not only Minnesota, but all across the United States as well as the world for the past 87 years.

The Delano Jaycees was established in April, 1981 under Charter President Jim Griebel, having just over twenty members.

“Delano was the next logical step for the Jaycees in the state,” Ambassador Martin Bauman said.

Since their creation, the Delano Jaycees have been working diligently, working to improve the community, working as volunteers, and improving upon leadership skills that will benefit not only the community, but also the members.

“We are a training, community, and also a social organization.” President Patrick Baumgard said.

In order to be a member of the Jaycees, one must be between the ages of 21 and 41, with the option of becoming an alumnus after the age of 41. The Delano Jaycees have had 21 chapter presidents, including the current president, Patrick Baumgard.

“The president oversees everything affiliated with the chapter,” Baumgard said.

The Delano chapter of the Jaycees currently has 32 members and seven alumni in their organization.

“A person needs the willingness to be involved.” Baumgard said.

The Delano Jaycees are very active in the community turning out various activities and projects in Delano every year. The projects the Jaycees are involved in are the Fourth of July beer stand, garage sales, highway cleanup, Light Up the Kids, Punt Pass and Kick, Sandbox Fill, Super Shots, and Toys for Love Inc.

The Fourth of July festivities is a huge part of the Delano community, and the Jaycees oversee, organize and staff the beer stand in the park all throughout the festival.

“Our premiere project is the fourth of July beer stand,” Bauman said.

The garage sale the Jaycees hosted this year, which was city-wide, was a new project for them, consisting entirely of donated items, with the money being made going to future projects for the Jaycees.

“The proceeds will continue to pay for future community projects.” Bauman said.

The Jaycees also are involved in the popular project known as Highway Cleanup. The volunteers walk the shoulders of Highway 12 picking up garbage and debris from the ditches to make the highway look more presentable and beautiful.

“We clean a portion of Highway 12,” Baumgard said.

During Halloween the Jaycees do a fun little project known as Light Up the Kids. Volunteers hand out glow sticks to children, which are always well received by the children.

“We have been handing out glow sticks since 1998,” Bauman said.

A project that children know all over Minnesota and the United States that the Jaycees are heavily involved in, is the Punt, Pass, and Kick contest. During these events, members of the Jaycees volunteer their time to run and organize the events. It starts as a sectional contest, divided into various age groups, with winners moving on to the state competition.

“The top ten of each age group go to the Dome and this year will compete during the Detroit Lions game December 2,” Bauman said.

The winners of the state competition will then have the opportunity to compete in a national contest.

Another youth competition the Jaycees are heavily involved in is the Super Shot. Super Shot is a state held event, and involves different age levels of children competing in various basketball skills.

“It is the basketball equivalent to the Punt, Pass, and Kick,” Bauman said.

Again, the competition is held in sectionals, with winners getting to play at the Target Center during a Timberwolves game.

During the Christmas holiday, the Jaycees work closely with Love Inc. in the project known as Toys for Love Inc. For this project, Love Inc. and the Jaycees collaborate to collect toys for children, hosting numerous sites throughout town for people to drop off toys.

“It starts after Thanksgiving and ends around December 15,” Baumgard said.

The longest running project the Jaycees have been doing is known as the Sandbox Fill. For the project, they take orders from the community and pick up sand, donated from Cemstone, and deliver it to the people’s home.

“We have been doing this for twenty five years.” Bauman said.

To recognize the work the Jaycees have accomplished throughout the year, the Jaycees from throughout Minnesota attend three conventions that are held for the Minnesota Jaycees.

The conventions are held at different places every year, and consist of award ceremonies, training, guest speakers, and dinner and dancing.

“We try to go to all of them,” Baumgard said.

From the state conventions, come the national conventions, again held in different locations every year. At the conventions, state award winners attend for further award ceremonies, and additional training and socializing.

“It focuses on the same things, and the state winners go against each other,” Bauman said.

If a Jaycee member would win a national award, the next convention is the international convention, which was held last year in Seoul, South Korea.

“This year it will be in Turkey,” Bauman said.

To go along with the community events and training the Jaycees are involved with, they also participate in statewide sport tournaments. Jaycee chapters from all over the state compete in golf, softball, trapshooting, and volleyball tournaments, with different sites being determined yearly.

“The golf tournament is usually full,” Bauman said with a smile.

The Jaycees have a long and history, starting in 1920 in St. Louis, Missouri, and now stretching all through the United States and even all the way to Turkey. They have not only been striving to become better leaders, but also have been helping out their communities wherever they are, including here in Delano. It will continue to shape our communities as long as people are active and continue to have the willingness to make a difference.

“It gives an opportunity to give back to the community,” Baumgard said.

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