The Kelowna Jaycees are now officially a co-ed organization, which aligns their policies with affiliated business organizations around the globe.
A motion to vote was brought forth at Thursday night’s general meeting, which was attended by over 60 Jaycees members, alumni andsSenators.
In a press release issued by the organization, Kevin Lavigne, the Jaycees new President for 2016 said he was optimistic about the change.
“I’m so excited to be leading this incredible organization and I would like to invite all of Kelowna’s young professionals to come see what JCI is all about,” said Lavigne.
The group vigorously discussed the topic before the vote. With an 85 year history in Kelowna and a membership of past and current members that include many of the community’s top business, social and political leaders, there was much to discuss on how the organization should best move forward.
It was only natural, then, that their often criticized exclusion of women be highlighted. No other chapter of the Junior Chamber International— a business networking group that has chapters around the globe—excludes women.
“The Kelowna Jaycees have grown from a mere five person membership at times in the early ’90s to now being one of the largest and most prominent community groups in the Okanagan,” reads the release.
“Over the course of night the members all shared stories of what the Jaycees had meant to them. Some had joined for the social network and had found a camaraderie of brothers to call lifelong friends, others had joined to grow their business experience and had found a wealth of knowledge and personal growth, and yet others had joined to simply give back and had found purpose and a passion for helping the community.”
In the end the group saw this vote as an opportunity to build upon the foundations they had all crafted over the last 85 years.
“Expanding our membership to co-ed allows us to reach further into the community and create a stronger lasting impact. It allows us to grow our network like never before giving us access to all of the top young professionals in the Okanagan,” said Ryan Lancaster, this year’s Communications Director for the group.
Last year’s President Sean Glendinning has been a member for seven years, and said he’s never been more proud to be a Jaycee.
“I have seen our momentum change as we have continued to grow over the last couple years and now we can truly fulfil our vision of being the premiere leadership development organization in Kelowna,” said Glendinning.
The Kelowna Jaycees are affiliated with Junior Chamber International and are active participants in a number of community building activities.