I leave for my big Joplin trip tomorrow, so I figure I’ll just keep going with this week’s theme of volunteering!
Before I joined the Junior League, I had several different “pictures” of it in my mind. The first image that came to mind was a bunch of rich old ladies that wanted to do something good with all of their time and money. Next, I imagined a bunch of bored, rich, housewives…that view may have had something to do with “The Help“. So when somebody recommended that I join Junior League as a way to make friends, I was completely baffled! I didn’t think that I was old enough to join Junior League. But I decided to give it a try – at the very least, I thought I could maybe get some babysitting jobs out of it.
At my first meeting, I quickly learned that Junior League was NOTHING like I imagined. Yes, there were some rather well-off older women and some stay-at-home moms, but there were also working moms and single moms and unmarried professional women and recent college grads. Even though everybody had joined Junior League for different reasons, everybody supported our Junior League’s mission of helping kids in the Reading school district.
Similar to a sorority, my first year in Junior League I was considered a new member. We were welcome at the general meetings but also had our own new member meetings and planned a new member project. The ultimate goal of your new member year is to become familiar with ALL aspects of Junior League so that you can easily serve on a committee your next year.
I’m currently in my first active year and I am on the New Member Committee, so I am still attending all of the new member meetings and teaching the new members about Junior League. Each year you get “placed” with a different committee and while we don’t find out our placements until May, I’ve had a few people ask if I would be interested in a certain position, so I have a feeling where I’ll be heading next year!
Unfortunately with my work schedule, I haven’t been able to GO to every volunteer opportunity, but I try to help out behind the scenes. Last month I was able to spend most of my Saturday volunteering at Junior League’s Young Women’s Summit. Each year, the Junior League invites teenage girls from the Reading school district to come together for a weekend to learn leadership skills and discuss how they can improve their community. It was really fun to go an interact with the girls, but my favorite part was chatting with a former attendee that is now going to college and doing all sorts of awesome things. She came back to speak to the girls about her experiences prior to and during the summit. It was really emotional but at the end of her presentation, all of the current attendees told her how brave she was and that they looked up to her and admired her because she had worked hard, despite everything else going on in her life.
Joining Junior League has not only allowed me to meet people, but it has been an awesome way to get to know Reading and the surrounding areas. I’m excited to see what comes next!