THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE U.S. JCI SENATE
The U.S. JCI Senate did not just happen. It took the vision and foresight of many individuals to bring about the organization we know today as the U.S. JCI Senate.
Virg LeBow JCI #2559 (Deceased), of Missouri and California, was the collector and complier of the facts in the following article. He wrote it for the December, 1994, issue of MENTORS. Those of us who knew Virg will find the reading of this article a short period of nostalgia. Those of you who never had the good fortune to meet and become friends with Virg, well, you'll get a little flavor of the kind of person he was. Either way, please enjoy the nostalgia.
FACTS, RUMORS, MYTHS AND GOOD TIMES PRIOR TO 1972 & BEYOND
by Senator Virg LeBow, JCI #2559
"History is a compilation of facts garnered from hundreds of 'loose threads' which must be sorted, grouped in chronological order, and then must weave a not too complicated single thread for the reader. It must be factual while, hopefully, remaining of interest. Memories are pleasant and satisfying, but not always factual, and memories get in the way of facts. Writing the history ain't easy; I may be a poor 'weaver', but I have reams of absolute facts."
"It is difficult to concentrate strictly on our U.S. JCI Senate without going into some detail relating to the Jaycees, that grand organization from which we have graduated, or else we were kicked out at the age of 35 or 40, whichever was in vogue at the time. Besides, the U.S. JCI Senate didn't exist prior to 1972! Also, ladies, we well know none of you are nearing age 40. No Way!! Such milestones might be reached in the future but, alas, this is about history. Jaycees began to form an interest in the international Jaycees after some of us became active in JCI itself."
"We brought back home ideas and ideologies that promoted the real interest we now have but, of course, it took awhile. Jaycees who became active in JCI became the positive influence on the U.S. Jaycees to become active, dues paying JCI members, taking our rightful place in our world's international community. In turn, interest in the JCI Senatorship program really grew and, as Senatorships were presented, we had enough JCI Senators to start the U.S. JCI Senate organization. While many Jaycees contributed, some Jaycees were at the forefront and became the movers and shakers during the 50's and 60's and they are mentioned in the 'how it did happen' sort of history. It was a tremendous challenge for us in many ways, but particularly because of the size of the U.S. itself - the number of square miles involved."
"JCI was formed in 1944, which has always surprised me. Jaycees from the United States, Europe, Africa and India were busy getting shot at and shooting back. The turmoil spread throughout the Pacific Ocean areas. How JCI got off the ground in the midst of all that , I don't know. When we got back home, it was a matter of mastering one's life - finding employment, completing our education, getting married and starting families."
"One good thing that came out of that war was most of us came back realizing how small the world actually was. New York was only 6 hours from Europe, and what splendid people we got to know; people who willingly and even happily helped us when we were down, injured, lost or about to be captured behind enemy lines. We didn't speak the same language and their money was weird to us, but their problems seemed to be the same as those we had and, like us, they believed in God. We were protected, given food, medical attention, clothing, water and a place to hide and then they did everything possible to get us back to our own lines and our own country. Each were miracle workers! The brotherhood of man has never been so well displayed as it was every day we were there. Upon returning to the U.S., we actually were 'sittin' ducks' for the Jaycees and those philosophies and we joined about as fast as anyone asked us to do so."
"The JCI Senate was formed during the 1952 JCI World Congress in Australia: Canada's Phil Pugsley was the first JCI Senate President. It took 20 additional years for the U.S. JCI Senate to form, which it did at the 1972 National Jaycee Convention held in Atlanta. Jim O'Connell, Illinois, was elected our first president."
"Why did it take 20 Years? In those days there were few JCI Senators. There was also the task of getting our individual members, chapters and state organizations 100% JCI affiliated. Most were not affiliated in 1952. The job was to convince each Jaycee that dues had to be increased $ 1.00 per member per year (another $ 1.00 if the Jaycee wanted to receive the JCI newsletter). As has always been the case, a dues increase was no easy task...and it took a long time to accomplish. When each member joined JCI, each state's Jaycee organization also became members, and with that, our National Jaycee organization became a National Organization Member (NOM). And when pushing for JCI affiliation at that time, most of us were extremely busy in our locals, districts, regions, states, and on a national level... and many of us were 'L' bent for elected to gain statehood for Alaska (got it July, 1958) and Hawaii (got that in August, 1959)."
"In October, 1956, the Missouri Jaycees appointed this writer state chairman of Operation Civic Service, the number one program of the Jaycees, chaired nationally by Clyne Olson, Minnesota. Missouri qualified 100%, all 95 chapters. While not directly connected to either JCI or the U.S. JCI Senate, OCS taught us two valuable abilities - patience and sociability (pleasant variety) both generally benefiting all involved. In realty, it began the 'art' of politics."
"1957 was the year Ira Kaye, California, was JCI President and Charles E. Shearer, Indiana, was the 1957-58 U.S. JC National President. The U.S. JC National Vice President whose portfolio included JCI was A. Park Shaw, Connecticut, who was succeeding Johnny Holland, Mississippi. National JCI staff man with the JCI portfolio was Ken Holvenstot, Iowa. John Clark, Tennessee, was International Relations Chairman and LaMar Buckner, Utah, was JCI Senatorship National Chairman. During this year, only 22 of our 49 states (D.C. was then considered our 49th state) had a JCI state chairman. We all were promoting JCI affiliation continuously."
"At the 1958 U.S. JCC National Convention in Los Angeles, national SPOKE In The Wheel Of Progress competitor Bill Jones, Kansas, was talking with John Nesbitt, program Director and editor of JCI World. John suggested each national SPOKE competitor be a JCI member, cost being only $1.00, and every competitor became a JCI member, looking forward to a SPOKE (or Hub Club) meeting at the Minneapolis JCI WorldCongress. A highlight was the privilege of meeting the 1958 JCI World President, Alberto Philippe, Mexico, and being assigned as an area host for his visits to the U.S.. I've since been a host for 13 or 14 other JCI World Presidents, plus another. And, if I had not been a Jaycee, it never could have happened. In April, 1957, I met and was an escort of Miss America, Marian McKnight, So. Carolina. Some will remember that her talent at the Miss America contest was the "The Monroe Doctrine", Marilyn Monroe! Not a JCI Senate highlight, but a great highlight personally and one from which I've yet to recover. "
"At the 13th JCI World Congress in Minneapolis, held in November, 1958,I was assigned as the alternate U.S. JCC delegate to the JCI Leadership Training Commission by Bob Cox, NC, the 58-59 U.S. JCC President. Here I learned to listen. IBM furnished translating equipment and, as one was speaking, meetings were instantly translated into 17 languages. JCI meetings resembled meetings of the United Nations. Some of us were there early, to make certain the U.S. Jaycees would be well represented. A Jaycee from Peru also joined us there early, and he sort of joined us and always went with us to eat. He looked at a menu, pointed his finger and said 'coffee'. That's what he got, until we realized he actually was hungry. He began watching us eat like an ole hound dog would watch the kitchen table. We ordered him a hamburger, then a hot dog and then a steak (all in one sitting), and it all disappeared. Later, he and his interpreter came and thanked us - he had eaten nothing in two days. Believe me, we began to listen."
"It snowed in Minneapolis and the delegate from Fiji and the large Cuban delegation had a terrific time in the snow. Don't know if the lone delegate from Sarawak enjoyed the snow, but that was the last we were to see of the wonderful group from Cuba. Castro was in the process of overthrowing Batista. He succeeded in early 1959 and that ended Jayceeism in Cuba. A real privilege in Minneapolis was the opportunity of escorting C. William Brownfield to the podium to receive world Jaycee recognition of Bill and our Jaycee Creed. It was at this congress that I spent two nights helping the Arkansas Jaycees hot wax mold their famous razorback hog, which they then presented to all delegates in attendance. Demand for these red razorback pins was tremendous and, if not mistaken, Arkansas was the first state to have a trading pin."
"In mid-1959, U.S. JCC President Bob Clark, Iowa, assigned the JCC International Relations Portfolio to NVP A.M. 'Red' Ghahremani, California. Moton Crockett, Texas, was U.S. JCC JCI Commission Coordinator and I was appointed U.S. JCI Leadership Training Commission Chairman for the 1960 Paris JCI World Congress, becoming the first "never-elected-to-do- anything' Jaycee to lead a U.S. JCC JCI Commission, and I was also asked to work with 'Red'in coordinating special U.S. JCC JCI Commission activities. In a letter to us, Ben Swanson, EVP of the U.S. Jaycees, says 'Congratulations on your appointment as a commission representative for JCI. I am not sure that anyone knows exactly what all the duties are for a Commission Representative. 'He hit that nail right on the head - none of us really knew. That was 12 years before the JCI Senate existed . At the March, 1960, meeting of U.S. JCI Commission Representatives, Moton Crockett pointed out that we had been assigned Jaycee states in which to promote 100% Individual Membership Chapter Program and we all 'got to it'. The State of New Jersey was the first to be completely 100% JCI affiliated."
"Forty-eight nations were represented at the 1960 JCI world Congress in Paris. Some 1,320 were registered delegates. The head of the delegation from Peru was their national president, a lady. It now is interesting to note that Vietnam was a NOM represented there. That congress really gave impetuous to all Jaycee countries to become JCI members...but selling Jaycees on a dues increase continued to be quite a bit more complicated! Countries admitted to JCI in 1960 included Cameroon, Congo, Madagascar and Senegal. Brunei, Gabon and Chad were conditionally affiliated and the JCI World Extension Team received notices of intention to affiliate from Spain and Iran."
"The JCI Tibetan Relief Program came along right after the Paris World Congress. The U.S. Jaycees pledged $ 50,000 and my promotion of this program centered around 'The Price of Four Beers.' Beer was less expensive then. The slogan caught on and, happily, the $ 50,000 pledge was collected and sent to the Jaycees of India, the country giving sanctuary to the people of Tibet. Although I do not recall receiving congrats from any of our beer moguls, our Jaycees were so happy and pleased in being able to truly help that selling everyone on JCI membership became a snap."
"It was during this time frame that 'Red' Ghahremani made me an honorary member of the California Tiger Corps, which he founded and which continues most successfully today. I do not want to start a brouhaha, but I'm of the opinion that 'Red' began the Corps, that state's group doing so much good for their locals and states. It was also about this time that Mike Milder, Nebraska, established the Interplanetary Junior Chamber, aimed at Mars. Undoubtedly Mike even now awaits a response through his attempted contact. Well, mail service was not all that dependable back then, either."
"My attention then returned to Missouri, where I began my Jaycee and JCI Senate activities and, in 1964, made an attempt to form the Missouri JCI Senate. That attempt was a failure, as was an attempt in 1966, but we never gave up. In 1965, John Armbruster, St. Louis, was publishing THE ELDER STATESMAN for the U.S. JCI Senate (letterheads and paper were donated by various JCI senators), an enjoyable publication. CONTACT INTERNATIONAL was being put together, edited and mailed by George Gombos, Australia, as the unofficial newsletter for the JCI Senate and, from this newsletter we learned that the first female JCI Senator was Joyce Clarke, Canada."
"Gleaning information from CONTACT INTERNATIONAL, it was obvious the JCI Senate had the same growth problems as did the Jaycees. In October,1966, there were 118 active and dues paying Senators in 16 countries. In Paris 1967 there were 81 such senators in 13 countries, and in January,1969, there were 144 members in 23 countries, and dues had increased to $3.00 per year if one wanted to receive the newsletter. A most interesting thing then happened. CONTACT INTERNATIONAL accumulated surplus funds and George Gombos donated US.$300.00 to JCI, which just may well be the precursor of the foundations that now exist throughout the JCI senate and Jaycee organizations. By December, 1971, there were 281 dues paid members from 33 countries - the Senate organization was making forward strides and has never looked back."
"In 1968, men zoomed to the Moon and back in six days and in 1970, at the U.S. JCC National Convention, it was my privilege to be invited and to have dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Mungenast and Mr. & Mrs. Durwood Howes. WHAT AN HONOR! Later that year the Missouri Jaycees honored me with one of the 50th Anniversary Medals (mine being #6). A state was allowed to bestow 10 such medals, as you probably remember."
"In 1972 the Jaycees applied for and accepted federal funds for specific projects, and the U.S. JCI Senate was formed as well (the two events were in no way related). James J. O'Connell, Illinois, was the first U.S. JCI Senate President. The female membership lawsuit was in 1974 and the first U.S. JCI Senate Directory, that I know of, was also published, under the direction of Bill Miller, Texas, and his Board of Directors. In 1974, only 33 states had a JCI Senate with elected officers. Delaware and Maryland had a JCI Senate Contact, but neither had elected state officers."
"From then forward, the U.S. JCI Senate peoples and activities have been and are well documented. Whenever there is a need to find out about just happened after 1972, I contact Chuck Shearer, Maryland, Hap Hilbish, Idaho, Jim Ashley, California, Jim Hall, Ohio, Dave Habershaw, RI, Dave Doyle, NY, Jan Baumgardner, Massachusetts, Joe Eller or J.P. McClain, Tennessee, or Don Robertson, Kansas.. whichever one I can get a hold of. They're all loaded with facts and history and, perhaps, a rumor or two. When it is current Jaycee information needed, there is nobody better than Matt Shapiro, Pennsylvania."
|FACTS, RUMORS & MYTHS|
"When JCI first offered the JCI Senatorship Program to each JCI member country, it was a profit making project for JCI, then badly in need of operating cash. Initially, a the cost of a Senatorship was U.S.$ 50.00, and the goal was to sell 1,000 such Senatorships world wide. Many who had been and who were active, especially on the national and international levels, bought their own Senatorships, thus enabling JCI to pay daily operating costs, and eventually, they accumulated sufficient funds to acquire their own headquarters office building. However, it took 5 years to reach their initial goal, and JCI Senate Number 1,000 was awarded on May 10, 1957." (Editors Note: It was presented to then thirty-nine year old Robert E. (Bob) Feller of Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A., famous U.S. baseball pitcher.)
"Not surprisingly, this Senatorship program that began as a profit maker has today evolved into being the most prized and cherished recognition honor that can be bestowed on any Jaycee for a job well done. That honor is voted on and extended by one's own chapter and peers, after having received approval of their state, and then both the national and JCI organizations. An honor so valued that it is extremely difficult to describe, so we don't even try."
"There is no truth to any rumor that certain individuals or countries get 'dibs' on any JCI Senate numbers. Requests are often made for certain Senate numbers and JCI replies to such request with a firm, but polite 'NO'. Each application is processed in the order received in the Secretariat and the next available Senate number is assigned. For example, should 20 fully complete and accurate applications be received at the same time, as each is opened and checked, a senate number is assigned on the spot. No exceptions are made. At times it might appear that some area or even groups have a lot of Senate numbers that are quite low. Stop and remember that we in the U.S. were 20 years behind other JCI countries in getting with this JCI program. It is also well to remember that 'back then' there were not a whole bunch of JCI Senators anywhere in the world."
"A JCI Senatorship IS a lifetime honor, but that doesn't mean free beer, mailings or anything else. When we want to be kept current, be active or know where the Senate meetings are held (state, national, international), we got to pay annual dues to get those mailings. Nothing is free. The U.S. JCI Senate mailings keep you acquainted with everything happening, so pay your annual dues. All Senators are encouraged to take an active part in all JCI Senate meetings and activities and, honestly, everyone should. They're fun, you keep in touch with great friends and enemies (if any, or even all of them), and it is a real kick. Do the present active U.S. JCI Senators want you as an active member now that the hair may be turning a bit gray and your vigor is not quite what it once was? As they say in Las Vegas, BET ON IT! We are a proud organization, to which you've contributed greatly and where you can continue that tradition if you want to do so. We hope you will."
"In the second edition of YOUNG MEN CAN CHANGE THE WORLD, Booton Herndon quoted me correctly. I didn't want to be a Jaycee in the first place, but I had a boss not only most persuasive, but very specific: 'If you want to continue to work with me, you will belong to the Jaycees.' Case closed. I'm grateful to that boss, very grateful."
Although that was a long article, it contains a lot of facts, just as Virg said it would at the beginning. But, that was the way Virg did things, very accurate and very articulate. Thank You Virg, for being a friend of the JCI Senate and a personal friend to so many Senators.
If you want more information on the U.S. JCI Senate, check out the year by year history of the first 25 years of our organization. It is right here on the U.S. JCI Senate Web Information Center for your convenience. Read it at your leisure.