“A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” – Saint Basil
The Jaycees have always been a little bit of a mystery to me. Years ago a few of my friends’ dads were members. It always made me think of the Flintstones, when the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes met and had wild men-only parties. The Grand Poobah would wear his special water buffalo hat with pride and run the show. Recently though, I realize the Jaycees are much more than funny hats and hand gestures (although, in full disclosure, I have never attended one of their meetings).
I was able to talk to Brenden Finn, the President of the Jaycees, about the organization and what they are all about. First things first, this is not your Dad’s group anymore. The members are young, from the early 20s to the early 40s, and they like to have fun. They do things to help many different aspects of Beaver County. Pretty much, it is a social organization with benefits – fun times, good deeds. That’s such a perfect combination!
One of their bigger fundraisers is a Christmas tree sale. We have gotten our tree from their lot between The Hot Dog Shoppe and Dr. Guzetti’s office in Vanport for as long as I can remember. The trees are honestly the prettiest around and this lot is close to our house. We never gave it much thought, actually. Turns out, this is just one of the many things that the Jaycees do each year to raise money. The members take turns volunteering to man the tree hut, helping people with their tree decisions. There is someone there at night and on the weekends, giving up their time with their own family to ultimately bring some holiday cheer to those less fortunate.
Other big projects include the Beaver Craft Show in November, a dinner dance in March, Adopt-A-Highway, and the Beaver County Outstanding Woman Scholarship Program awarded in early Spring. The Beaver Craft Show is gigantic! It is held at the Beaver High School and includes hundred of vendors. You are certain to cross off a few folks from your holiday shopping list here. The dinner dance in March is an annual event that, over the last 17 years, has raised over $75,000. That event alone has raised $75,000. That’s no small chunk of change, folks. That is a massive amount of money!
These larger functions are in addition to the smaller programs that they coordinate throughout the year. Through October 15th, they are assembling Blizzard Boxes to support the Beaver County Meals on Wheels Program. These boxes will be given to the Meals on Wheels participants throughout the county now in case there is a snow or other weather emergency later. The Jaycees have food collection sites around the county, they are assembling the boxes, and then they are delivering them. While this is not a minor undertaking, they do not consider this one of their ‘major’ events.
Brenden emailed me a huge list of the charities that they have donated to within the last year. Huge as in… over 30! That is impressive! Everything from the American Cancer Society and American Red Cross, to Lifesteps and Beaver County Association for the Blind, and even things like Blackhawk Cross Country and the BVFD 5k. They get involved with larger and smaller charities alike.
But the charity work is not all that the group does. While raising money and giving is a large portion of their function, they also do a good bit of social events. The members are like one big happy family and they spend a lot of time together! There are parties and golf outings, a lot of Black and Gold tailgating, seasonal fun times like Christmas parties and Hayrides… These folks are not lacking in the fun category, that much is for sure! But all of that fun has a backdrop of doing good and that’s what makes the Jaycees special.
To learn more about the Jaycees, check out their Facebook page here or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you think you would like to get involved with this great organization, they are always looking for new members. They have open meetings twice each month –on the 1st Wednesday and the 3rd Thursday. The meetings start at 8pm at the Two Mile Run Park Lodge in Beaver. Hopefully you can find the time to support this organization and the great things they do for Beaver County!