North St. Paul Jaycees get together Aug. 6

The North St. Paul Jaycee chapter, active from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s, says "Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye all Exhausted Roosters and Pooped Pullets, you’re invited to a reunion!"

The Jaycees and Mrs. Jaycees gave young people from the ages of 21 to 36 the opportunity to develop personal and leadership skills through service to others. During its existence from the 1950s to the mid-’70s, the North St. Paul Jaycees played a vital role in the Snow Frolics celebrations, where Miss America often crowned the winning Miss North St. Paul contestant; the building of the North St. Paul snowman when he was made with real snow; the broomball tournament, parade and fireworks; spring cleanup in North St. Paul; work on the early softball fields and hockey rinks; softball tournaments; service to the mentally challenged that included the spring cleanup and cabin building at Camp Friendship; and many more projects.

Gordy Peterson, in the group from 1968 to ‘74, says he joined because of the Jaycee’s focus on "learning leadership skills through community activities," something he believes helped him in his career at 3M, where he managed an information technology department before retiring. "Working with people is always valuable experience," he says.

And the Jaycees did work. Whether building a 41-foot snowman for Snow Frolics or gathering equipment and bodies to build ballfields, hockey rinks or do a citywide cleanup, they seemed to be busy year-round. "The social aspect was attractive, but there was also a sense of community, doing something for the community," Peterson recalls.

That seems to have changed, with the North St. Paul branch now defunct. "People are not joining. It’s not just Jaycees. . . I think all civic "joining" organizations are down," Peterson says. "It’s just a trend in society. People are doing more individual things, on their own schedules. With today’s time constraints, people aren’t into group commitments."

But that’s not true of the older guard. Several former Jaycees from out of town are "real keen to come" to the reunion, Peterson says. "We really don’t know whether we’ll get 20 or 200, but the planning committee doesn’t care about the numbers. We’re just having a lot of fun doing it."

Former Jaycees from any period are invited to gather and reminisce about the "good old times" and tell the stories that get bigger with age. The reunion will be held from 3 p.m. "to whenever" Saturday, Aug. 6 at Fellowship Hall in St. Peter’s Church, North St. Paul. Attendees are asked to bring a dish to pass around, an adult beverage of choice (cups and glasses will be provided) and photos and memorabilia.

The reunion planning committee members were active from 1965 to 1976, and need help locating members from the periods prior to 1965 and after 1976. Further information on member lists, RSVPs and questions should be directed to Al and Norma Worm at 651-777-0910 or Gordy and Dawn Peterson at 651-777-7693.

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