JCI-New Jersey to hold “JCI 100 in New Jersey: A Celebration of the Century Gala” on Oct. 24

by Jay Domingo, PDM Staff Writer

JCI New Jersey members with Stevenson Van Derodar at a conference. | JCI-NJ Facebook

NEW JERSEY – After a global year of glum and gloom in 2020, now is a time for a double celebration of 2021 in the “re-birth” of two outstanding organizations committed to the advancement of young active citizens become leaders of their communities, their local businesses, and government, nationally and internationally.

JCI New Jersey, a leading state organization of the United States Junior Chamber (JCI USA), also known as the Jaycees, will hold a centennial celebration of JCI USA on Sunday, Oct. 24, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Barcelona Room of Costa del Sol, at 2443 Vauxhall Rd, Union, NJ 07083. At the same time, JCI-New Jersey will also celebrate its 76th anniversary.

“As a state organization, we are proud to celebrate with our communities the history and contribution of a great organizaton to America. It has touched the lives of many young people to develop themselves personally and professionally,” said Stevenson Van Derodar, state president of JCI-New Jersey. “This 100th JCI-USA Anniversary is a celebratory moment for all Jaycee members to re-dedicate themselves to advance the goals of the organization and create a positive change in their communities. Now is the time to invest in our young people.”

JCI-NJ 2021 Sate Logo

With the theme, JCI 100 in New Jersey: A Celebration of the Century Gala, the organizers said the event promises a memorable evening of elegance, musical masterpieces, and ceremonial toasts of JCI’s history, its culture of excellence, and its impact on local and global communities.

JCI-New Jersey will honor the past by remembering Henry Giessenbier, Jr., JCI-USA’s founding president, and James R. Kennedy, JCI-New Jersey’s first president, and their successors. The national and state organizations affirm their continuing commitment to meet the challenges of the present. They also advance the promise of the future as they enter a new era of service to humanity, guided by its Creed.

A trip down memory lane in JCI-USA history, in June 1920, with 41 cities present, the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce held its first official convention. Its first constitution was adopted, and the first President, Henry Giessenbier Jr., was elected. He closed the ceremony with a vision. “We have definitely launched a great institution into the world of progress. Let us hope that from this institution will emerge citizens of loftier ideals, higher privileges, greater opportunities, purer patriotism, broader ideas of service and greater capacity for happiness.”

Top photo: Henry Giessienbier Jr., founding president of JCI-USA, 1981 JCI President meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim. Bottom photo: charter members of JCI St. Louis, MO chapter at a parade; first JCI-USA official convention | Photo JCIUSA Archives

You can view a presentation of JCI-USA’s history HERE or visit its website. Also, you can have a peek at the event’s guests, including musical performers Angel Ram and Brian Jose.

According to the event organizers, the gala is described as an amalgamation of JCI-New Jersey’s rich and long history while recognizing several past presidents who found a career path in corporate and civic service. They note with pride the revival of JCI New Jersey in 2015 after a long period of inactivity.

At its peak, JCI New Jersey had 134 chapters producing a National President in 1964, James Skidmore, and several members taking leadership roles in the national and international levels. It also hosted a JCI USA and JCI USA Senate National Conventions. Recently, JCI New Jersey had etched its mark in the state and the local communities it serves promoting its mission and sustaining it for years to come.

Since 2016, JCI New Jersey has produced two national vice presidents, Ria Serrano, and Joyce Andes-David, and a list of outstanding members to become state presidents – Serrano, Maricar Taino, Andes-David, Maria Nucum, and Derodar, each one of them performing at beyond capacity level and contributing to JCI New Jersey’s overall success. Serrano and Derodar came from JCI Philippine New York, the 58-year-old chapter in New York state. They used their experience in that chapter to help build JCI New Jersey.

In 2020, JCI New Jersey took home two outstanding state leadership recognitions. Derodar bagged the “Allen Whitfield Memorial” Award and “Clayton Frost Memorial” Award. He also took home with him several members’ chapters and projects awards.

The organizers said the celebration is a strictly formal, black-tie event. Tickets are at $75 available at https://www.facebook.com/events/324862362752947 and PayPal link: Nj@usjaycees.org.

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