CL Jaycees plead for help

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Crystal Lake Jaycees are in jeopardy.

The longtime service organization is seeing dwindling membership and a lack of interest in its leadership positions – so much so that if something doesn’t give, the organization risks closing.

The Jaycees is a service organization for persons aged 18 to 41. Members have either been aging out or have become so busy with their own lives that they have to step back, Crystal Lake Jaycees President Yvonne Piarowski said.

“The great thing about the organization is you get out [of it] whatever you put in,” Piarowski said. “Some years I was busy as a Jaycee, and sometimes family came first, and I had to step back and only helped where I could.”

Furthermore, there’s been a lack of enthusiasm for taking on leadership roles. Those who served in those positions this year cannot serve consecutively. That means that in January, Piarowski is out.

Founded in 1951, the local Jaycees chapter takes part in a wide variety of community service projects, including junior bowling, a bachelor auction, SEDOM’s prom, Share-A-Christmas and the Burleson Scholarship. They also help out other organizations, such as Lakeside Legacy, the American Cancer Society, St. Baldrick’s, the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce, and the Crystal Lake Park District.

“I urge you to think about the tremendous impact our chapter has on the community and what it would mean if we couldn’t offer our assistance anymore,” the group’s Community Vice President Kate Wade wrote in a recent Northwest Herald letter to the editor.

When Piarowski joined the Crystal Lake Jaycees 10 years ago, the organization had more than 150 members. Today there are 40. If the chapter gets below 20 members, the state Jaycees governing body can shutter the group.

“I’ve always felt that I shouldn’t have to sell the Jaycees,” Piarowski said. “I shouldn’t have to guilt anyone into being part of this great organization.”

How to get involved

The Crystal Lake Jaycees meet on the third Thursday of each month. The next meeting is from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at Dole Mansion Board Room, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake.

Those interested also can email board@cljaycees.org for information.

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