By Jenna Hudson
This time of year is always an exciting time for the Junior League of Oklahoma City (JLOC). The Nominating Committee is busy appointing positions for the following year and the recruitment process gets underway. It seems like only yesterday I was starting my Provisional Year and trying to explain what exactly it meant to be involved with Junior League. Little did I know that eight years later I would be “that lady” in charge and people would be looking to me for guidance and direction.
If you are unfamiliar with how membership works at JLOC, we currently accept members once a year. Each winter, the PAT (Provisional Admissions and Training) Chair and the PAT Vice Chair team up to host around three Prospective Member Events. During the events, attendees have the opportunity to learn about JLOC, receive a list of Provisional requirements/obligations, and have the chance to ask questions of myself and other JLOC members. Each individual must attend one Prospective Member Event before they can apply to JLOC.
With two Prospective Member Events under our belt and the next one quickly approaching, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my experience and time with JLOC. I would definitely consider myself outgoing and was drawn to the social aspect of the League. However, I have gained so much more by being involved with JLOC and have listed a few of my favorite reasons below. If you can identify with any of these reasons, I would encourage you to attend the remaining Prospective Member Event and consider joining JLOC.
1. Strengthen Your Leadership Skills
Our mission statement reads, “The Junior League of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Incorporated is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.”
JLOC encourages members to broaden their horizons through responsible leadership. We have a long tradition of providing invaluable training for our volunteers. Some of the training opportunities include: Leadership Skills, Personal Development, Organization Governance, Fundraising/Finance, Communication Skills, Community/Impact Area Programs and Public Issues.
2. Community Impact
JLOC is committed to a ten-year focus on “HEALTH: A healthy community begins with you- encouraging healthy living, a healthy lifestyle and a healthy YOU” and we are currently in our fourth year. When “Health” was initially introduced as our new focus area, I was under the impression that we would be solely focusing on physical health. Each year has proven that health means so much more than just physical health. Our Community Project Development Team has done an outstanding job working with various agencies within the OKC community to create 18 unique projects. Some of our current projects include: Pet Food Pantry, Kids in the Kitchen/Top Chef, Ronald McDonald Guest Chef Nights, Safe Kids Car Seat Safety Checks and Single Parents Support Group. Between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017, our Active Members alone, volunteered over 5,300 hours in the greater OKC community, totaling a value of almost $119,000.
3. New Social Network
As I mentioned earlier, one of the main reasons I was drawn to JLOC was the instant social network. The only person who I knew when I joined was my sponsor, and she was unable to attend the “Welcome Celebration” with me because she had just had a baby. I was terrified and slightly overwhelmed when I first walked into the Large Conference Room at our Headquarters. I spotted my PAT Advisor with her yellow balloon and quickly felt comfortable with the ladies in my group. Almost eight years later, I still consider some of those women as very close friends. We have seen each other grow within JLOC, as well as in our personal lives. I love that we have members of every walk of life. We passed a motion last year that removed the age limit of our League members! Who says you can only be involved until the age of 60?!
4. Globally Connected
As if being instantly connected to over 1,400 women across the OKC metro was not enough, JLOC is part of a network of women worldwide. By joining locally, you will also become part of the Association of Junior League International (AJLI). It was formed in 1901, and is proudly served by 150,000 women in 292 Leagues spread across four countries.
If you have made it this far, then I hope that I have at least spiked your curiosity about joining JLOC. If you are still on the fence, I would like to invite you to our next Prospective Member Event. It will be held on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. at the JLOC Headquarters. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.