Happy Spring, JCI Michigan

Sarah K. Austin, 96th President

The snow is melted, the flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and it is a great time to get outside… well, outside while 6 feet apart and not touching any common surfaces.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented event, the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has flipped everything upside down. In the past 3 weeks, we have had to stop in-person GMMs and Board Meetings, cancel out large, public Easter events, and reschedule major fundraising events.

We first were made aware of  the JCI USA Year-End Cruise cancellation and then the JCI Michigan First Trimester Conference in Boyne. As Jaycees are predominately extroverts and people who want to be doing something; this physical distancing and “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order goes against our very natures and the majority of our programming.

What I have seen from our members, over the past 3 weeks, has been nothing short of AMAZING!

I have seen chapters switch to virtual events on-a-dime: from virtual Happy Hours, to virtual game nights; GMMS and Board Meetings.  I have watched our members looking out for each other, reaching out with “Are you OK?” messages and making masks and face shields for our fellow members who are working on the front lines — as first responders and health care workers.

I have seen parents sharing ideas on how to keep children engaged and learning while still working from home, members sharing job opportunities with others who have lost their jobs, and chapters setting up funds to help members in need. I have seen you all doing everything you could to look out for your communities, your friends, and your families, and Being The Ones who make a difference. I COULD NOT BE MORE PROUD OF JCI MICHIGAN MEMEBRS!

2020 is going to go down as the year we did everything a little (or a lot) different. We could not do Easter Egg Hunts, so we did Virtual Easter Bunny Photos. We could not hold our 1st Trimester Conference in Boyne. Instead, we are going to hold virtual competitions, trainings, SPE presentations, and, hopefully, an in-person First Trimester Awards Event, once this passes.

We could not have in person GMMS, so we went virtual and gave members from across the state the opportunity to “go” to other chapters’ events. That may be the silver lining here: by having to go virtual, we have opened up opportunities to connect more with each other. Our members have more the opportunities to meet fellow members from around the state and around the country, all from the comfort of their couch! I encourage you to participate in the JCI Zoom events that are happening — from socials, like Happy Hours and Uno parties, to Individual Development experiences, like Virtual Zoo and Home Improvements 101, to community events, like a “Don’t Stop Believing” sing-along; there are lots of ways to stay connected and most importantly, stay safe!

Yours in Service,
Sarah K. Austin

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