New Jaycees Chapter to provide more opportunities for Petal’s youth


The first meet and greet for the Jaycees’ Petal Chapter will be held Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Petal Civic Center.

According to Miranda Williams, it will be a casual brainstorming session with National Vice President Tricia Buehne.

JCI USA is a nationwide membership-based nonprofit organization of young active citizens ages 18 to 40 dedicated to creating positive change.

Through projects in more than 600 communities, members seek targeted solutions to local problems to create a sustainable global impact.

Williams, a member of the Hattiesburg Jaycees since 2011, saw a need for a Petal chapter.

“The Jaycees are a National and International civic group that helps develop future leaders,” she said. “By being a member and planning projects, it has given me the opportunity to network with community leaders, learn how to create and develop a budget, efficiently run meetings using parliamentary procedure and time management.”

She hopes this group will provide opportunities for young people in the city to get involved in a civic group, since there were previously none available.

“There are not many civic groups specifically for young people in Petal,” Williams said. “There are a lot of eager young people in the community that want to do things to create positive change in Petal, they just need a way to get started.”

Community interest in the chapter is building, and Buehne of Illinois is currently visiting the Friendly City to speak with elected officials and the Chamber of Commerce to help promote the Jaycees and explain why she believes it is the best organization for young people.

“So far the interest in the chapter has been well received,” Williams said.

Once the chapter gets 25 members registered and paid for, the US Jaycee Foundation will pay the initial charter fee for the chapter.

“There are no limits to how many can join, but members have to be between the ages of 18-41,” Williams said.

“After doing a community survey, we have seen interest in making the entrances of Petal pretty with flowers or just proper lighting, a Top 20 under 40 award program, which is modeled after the US Jaycees 10 Outstanding Young Americans (TOYA), a farmer's market,  more family-friendly events,” she said.

“The great thing about the Jaycees is that we are only limited by our own minds when it comes to projects we can run or participate in,” Williams added. “We are not an organization that only helps in one specific area or one specific cause. The Jaycees have been active in the United States for 100 years and have given many young adults the opportunity to grow in their future roles.”