History of the Jaycees
More than a century ago, Henry Giessenbier, Jr. decided to take responsibility for the progress and welfare of his community by helping tackle difficult problems around him. Together with 32 other young men, Giessenbier established the Young Men's Progressive Civic Association (YMPCA), JCI’s first Local Organization, in St. Louis, USA in 1915. The members of the first Local Organization dedicated themselves to bringing about community improvements and giving young people a constructive approach to civic problems.
Giessenbier sought to develop the character and business skills of young men. Hy saw the potential of the young men of his era, and sought to bring out that potential in all, by developing their skills as leaders by tackling tough civic issues.
Giessenbier also felt it was important for a young man to make his mark early in life, so he offered the members development of business and leadership skills. (Those skills are still offered to today's members.) In June 1921, at the first annual Jaycees convention, Henry Giessenbier Jr. said in his closing remarks:
“We have definitely launched a great institution into the world of progress.”
With that, The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce – Jaycees – was officially on its way with a bank balance of $48.21 and a million dollars worth of dreams……
By 1944, the movement had spread through eight countries. When delegates from these countries met in Mexico City at the Inter-American Conference that year, they agreed it was time to officially form Junior Chamber International. This deep-rooted tradition of bringing together active citizens from diverse backgrounds remains alive today in our international events. They fuel the JCI movement and set the groundwork to create positive change that transcends boundaries.
In 1946 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during the United States Junior Chamber National Convention. (the first national convention after the war) Saw the attendance by a young chamber member from Columbus Ohio named C. William Brownfield.
"Only in the deed can the word become flesh." - C. William Brownfield.
Seeing that the organization had no creed, and inspired by the devotion of its members "to the purpose of serving mankind in a thousand different ways, right down at the grassroots where freedom lives or dies." He set out to author one. It was adopted in full by Junior Chamber International in 1947.
"Go Impact the World!" -Giessenbier
Hy was elected national president at the first annual meeting which was held on June 20. With his passing on Novenber 7, 1935, he had no idea the lasting effect his organization would have in America and around the world over the next 80 years.
Today more Jaycees can be found on nearly every continent. Although through the years, the Jaycees have changed with the times, their mission remains the same. From an inspirational vision to bring out that potential in all, by developing their skills as leaders by tackling tough civic issues, and the development of one’s business and leadership skills.