Local chapter celebrating 30 years of service
DELANO, MN In its 30 years of existence, the members of the Delano Jaycees have truly shown that “service to humanity is the best work of life.”
Not just the final line of the Jaycee Creed, these words have been a constant force for all 30 of those years.
The group currently consists of 24 members, ages 18 to 40, and nine alumni, ages 41 and older.
“We were ranked number one in Minnesota twice in 30 years,” alumni member Martin “Toon” Bauman said.
The Delano Jaycees are part of larger Jaycees (Junior Chamber) organizations, at the state, national, and international level.
The local chapter was formed in April 1981. It was shortly thereafter the chapter began a community project of erecting a fence on railroad property after a train killed a local child.
This project was recognized in 1984 in Montreal, Canada, both nationally and internationally with the New Zealand Award and the Japan Safety Award. These two awards are both from the international Jaycees level.
Over the years, the chapter has coordinated things such as a lip sync contest, Punt, Pass, and Kick; a golf tournament, a haunted house, toy drive, highway cleanups, sandbox fills, and more.
Perhaps the chapter’s biggest project is the Delano Fourth of July Celebration, with the chapter one of six member organizations that make up the celebration committee. The chapter oversees the operations of the beer stand. Jaycee Alex Roeser was recently named chairman of the celebration committee.
The Delano Jaycees also provide leadership training to its members.
Over the years, many of the past and current Delano Jaycees have been honored with the highest individual awards from the state level Minnesota Statesman; the national level Ambassadorship; and the international level Senatorship.
The Delano Jaycees have 21 Minnesota Statesman, nine Ambassadors, and three Senators.
Three such awards were bestowed upon members of the Delano Jaycees at the Minnesota Jaycees’ annual convention Jan. 28-29 in Plymouth.
Jodi Baumgard received the Statesman award, and Joanne Georges and Alex Roeser received Ambassador recognitions.
“I’m honored to have been awarded the Minnesota Jaycees Statesman, which is the highest award the Minnesota Jaycees can bestow on an individual,” said Baumgard, the chapter’s president in 2008. “It means a lot to me that the decision was based on recommendations from Jaycee officers from both the local and state levels.”
Also at the convention in January, the Delano Jaycees unveiled the “Martin ‘Toon’ Bauman Community Service Award,” named in honor of long-time member Martin Bauman, one of the chapter’s three Senators.
The Martin “Toon” Bauman Community Service Award will be given to individuals who exemplify the following criteria:
• They must be dedicated to the community of Delano;
• They must be a selfless individual that gives back to the community;
• They must show a passion for service to building a better community in Delano; and
• They are committed through long hours and many years of dedicated service.
“This award is meant to recognize the unsung heroes that make our community a better place to live,” said 2011 Delano Jaycees President Nichole Krause. The first award was presented to Bauman, himself, to honor and recognize him for his dedication to the Jaycees.
In addition to award recognitions for Baumgard, Georges, Roeser, and Bauman, the chapter also celebrated its 30th anniversary in style by inviting all past presidents of the chapter for a reunion. Of the 25 people who have held the title of Delano Jaycees president, 21 participated in the festivities. One past president, Stacy Hasslen-Schablin, is deceased.
“It was amazing seeing that many past presidents all together at one time,” said past chapter president Ryan Gueningsman. “The chapter wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the contributions of those who started it up back in 1981, and kept it strong over the years. It was really encouraging to know that this organization means that much to all of them that they’d come be a part of the celebration.”
Past chapter president Theresa Polingo has offered to host the past presidents and current chapter members for a potluck next month to keep the momentum going.
“We need to support our community in whatever way possible,” Krause said. “Delano means a lot to me. It’s my home-town and I enjoy giving back, as I’m sure all our members do.”
The Delano Jaycees are always accepting new members. There is no minimum time commitment, but members who participate in a certain number of activities may get the membership fee waived for the following year.
People who are over 40 can join the group as alumni members, even if they’ve never been part of the Jaycees.
Meetings take place the third Tuesday of every month at the Delano American Legion, and non-members are welcome to attend. More information about the Delano Jaycees is available at www.delanojaycees.com.