San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce ('San Diego Jaycees'): a community service, business development and leadership training organization for young professionals who want to have fun!
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 San Diego Jaycees

Serving San Diego since 1934

Socialize at some of the best events in town, with some of the best people around!

The Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) is the premier organization for young adults between the ages of 21 and 39, who are interested in FUN while developing the community and themselves through numerous chapter programs.  Our Motto is "building Tomorrow's Leaders through Community Involvement.

With over sixty years experience, the San Diego chapter is more active than ever! Our activities encompass community service, personal development, and social functions.  The Jaycees are non-partisan, but remain active in issues affecting the community, state, and nation.

In addition, the Junior Chamber provides opportunities for personal and professional growth.  Members build leadership skills and get to know other members through participation and/or management of meaningful community service projects and entertaining social events.

What makes the Jaycees unique is that your level of involvement, the time and effort you contribute, and the activities in which you participate is flexible based on you and your availability during the month or year. All of our members work hard and maintain busy schedules, but we also want to experience the joy and satisfaction of volunteering and giving back to San Diego. The flexibility of involvement the Jaycees provides is ideal for us to accommodate our ever-changing schedules. Although as an individual we may only be able to contribute a small amount, as one member working within a team, we accomplish more than we could ever imagine.

The Jaycee Creed

We Believe...
That Faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life;
That the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations;
That the economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise;
That governments should be of laws rather than of men;
That earth's great treasures lie in human personality
And that service to humanity is the best work of life! 

What can you expect from the Junior Chamber of Commerce?

You can expect to find programs to improve yourself.  You can fine-tune your management and leadership skills, and participate in projects that improve the community.  You will also have opportunities to develop new friendships and make contacts with community leaders, government officials, and prominent alumni.  This will increase your social and business circle through networking and member visibility.

What is the difference between the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce?

While the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and many of the local chambers exist primary to advance the economic interests of their communities and members, the Junior Chamber is an organization of young people interested in community service, business and leadership development and, of course, having fun.

However, the San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce does have a relationship with the Regional Chamber of Commerce which allows Junior Chamber members to participate in most of the Regional Chamber events. You can learn more about these privileges by reading the follow press release or talking to a member of the Junior Chamber board.

Is the local chapter affiliated with a State or National Organization?

Yes.  The San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce is affiliated with the California Junior Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The U.S. organization is led each year by a national president and 10 national vice presidents.  The national service center and officers assist in linking our local and state organizations to other organizations across the country.

What is the history of the Jaycees?

Henry "Hy" Giessenbier, Jr. wanted to develop the business skills and the reputation of young men. This approach was a bit unusual, as his era was one in which most young men were out of school and working by the age of 15, and their first jobs were the jobs they died in. If they were lucky, they might work their way into an executive position by the time they were in their 40s. But Hy knew that twelve signers of the Declaration of Independence were under 35; Thomas Jefferson was only 33 when he wrote the original draft of the document!

Henry Giessenbier, Jr.

So Hy decided to do something positive for the young men of St. Louis. On October 13, 1915, at the Mission Inn in St. Louis, Missouri, Hy gathered 32 young men agreed to form the Young Men's Progressive Civic Association (YMPCA), developing their skills as leaders by tackling difficult civic problems. Giessenbier wanted young men to make an impression early in life, so development of business and leadership skills was offered to members of the early movement.

In 1916, the YMPCA changed its name to Junior Citizens at the request of Clarence H. "Daddy" Howard, a St. Louis industrialist and early benefactor of the Junior Chamber organization. The Junior Citizens affiliated with the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce in 1918. Following the first World War, a plan to form a national coalition of young men's groups was widely circulated.

The "St. Louis Plan" resulted in a gathering of 29 organizations from around the country in January of 1920. This caucus on January 21 and 22 is the official date of birth for The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce.

A world alliance of Jaycees was formed in 1944 in Mexico City, with the founding of the Junior Chamber International (JCI) with the avowed purpose and one obligation of a "way towards world peace." The JCI now consists of a network of 107 free world nations with more than 350,000 members on its rolls.

Today, there are over 6,000 chapters in the United States and over forty chapters in California.

Some famous people who were past Jaycees: U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan [honorary member], Gerald Ford & Richard Nixon, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, avaiator Charles Lindbergh, industrialist Howard Hughes, pizza mogul Tom Monaghan, heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes and basketball legend Larry Bird.

In fact, former U.S. Senator & past Governor of California, Pete Wilson was a member of the San Diego Jaycees in the 60's before becoming mayor of San Diego in 1971.

Pete Wilson


1915 - Henry Giessenbier, Jr. and thirty two young men from St. Louis agreed to form the Young Men's Progressive Civic Association (YMPCA).
1916 - YMPCA changed its name to Junior Citizens at the request of industrialist Clarence H. Howard
1918 - The Junior Citizens affiliated with the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce.

1920 - The United States Junior Chamber (USJC) was formed in St. Louis, Missouri, with 3,000 members.
1923 - Get Out The Vote was the first Jaycee program to receive national endorsement.
1924 - The organization made it's way in to Michigan.
1925 - Beginning of national projects Know America First and Fire Prevention.
1926 - Development of aviation adopted as national project.
1927 - Jaycee Charles A. Lindbergh made the first solo flight between New York and Paris. Jaycees worked with Lindbergh to develop the U.S. Air Mail Service.

1931 - Distinguished Service Awards program established at the chapter level.
1934 - San Diego chapter founded on June 26th.
1936 - National Wildlife Federation established with guidance of USJC.
1937 - Programs begun at state and national level to inform public of need for diagnosis and treatment of venereal disease.
1939 - Safety with Light campaign gained national attention as thousands of street lights were donated to communities by Jaycees.

1940 - USJC endorsed the principle of a military draft. More than 85 percent of the membership at the time fought in World War II
1944 - Junior Chamber International (JCI) formed at Pan American Congress in Mexico City.
1946 - The Farmington Area Jaycees was chartered in November. Junior Golf program begun.
1947 - Official approval of Jaycee as synonym of organization. Adoption of Jaycee Creed.

1953 - Jaycees sponsored stops on Professional Golfers' Association tour for first time at Greensboro, North Carolina, and Hartford, Connecticut.
1954 - First Outstanding Young Farmer and Junior Tennis programs held.
1959 - Jaycees supported statehood for Alaska. Hawaii gained statehood the following year due to Jaycee efforts.

1961 - First Governmental Affairs Leadership Seminar conducted.
1962 - In September, the San Diego Jaycees open the San Diego Aerospace Museum in Balboa Park’s Conference Hall. Weeks later it moves to its first permanent home in the park’s Food and Beverage Building. Jaycees urge adoption of Uniform Vehicle Code, with emphasis on state action resulting in adoption nationally.
1963 - Clean Water Program launched to improve water quality in communities across America. Gun Safety/Shooting Education adopted as a national program.
1964 - Project Concern adopted as International Relations activity. Program raised money and equipment for clinics providing medical care to Chinese refugees in Hong Kong.
1965 - Jaycees presented first annual National Award of Distinction from National Clean Up-Paint Up-Fix Up Bureau.

1970 - Do Something campaign sparked national interest in volunteerism. Jaycees' cooperation with other service organizations resulted in the founding of the National Center for Voluntary Action.
1971 - More than 3,000,000 volunteer hours were provided by Jaycees to help administer seven million doses of rubella measles vaccine.
1972 - Mayor Pete Wilson pronounces San Diego as “America’s Finest City” and with the aid of the San Diego chapter starts America's Finest City Week. Nationally Jaycees undertook model Operation Identification program to combat burglaries and aid crime prevention efforts. Five million stickers were distributed nationally through Operation Red Ball to reduce fire fatalities.
1973 - The United States Jaycees' Center for Improved Child Nutrition opened in Bloomington, Minnesota.
1977 - Operation Threshold, a program dedicated to reducing alcohol abuse, reached more than 23 million Americans. Muscular Dystrophy Fund Raising adopted as national program.

1980 - Daisy/U.S. Jaycees Gun Safety/Shooting Education program honored with National Safety Council Award for Youth Activities.
1982 - Healthy American Fitness Leaders adopted as national program.
1984 - Bylaw change admitted women as full and regular members. Sign Up America campaign collected 1.5 million signatures supporting America's Olympic athletes.
1984 - San Diego chapter celebrates 50th anniversary.
1985 - The U.S. Jaycees endorsed Campaign for Liberty to encourage public support for restoration of Statue of Liberty. St. Jude Fundraising adopted as national program.

1992 - National Wake Up America program urged communities to get involved in politics by coordinating voter registration campaigns, hosting debates, and embracing pertinent community issues. Jaycees responded to devastating hurricanes in the southeast with national support.
1993 - GreenWorks! environmental education and community action program adopted by USJC. Jaycees Against Youth Smoking (JAYS) adopted as national program. Junior Chamber members were instrumental in bringing relief to the flood-stricken Midwest.
1994 - Junior Chamber Mission Inn Foundation created to build a nationwide network of care facilities for children and adolescents affected by HIV/AIDS.
1995 - The Jaycee Alliance was formed as a non-partisan, educational, grassroots governmental advocacy organization to give young Americans a voice in government. The Jaycee KidCare I.D. Program was organized to provide identification to aid in the recovery of missing children.
1996 - The Jaycees Wake Up America Tour bus began a journey through the 48 contiguous states promoting programs and membership. Social Security Reform Town Hall Meetings program initiated.
1997 - Junior Chamber Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Advancement begun - a program designed to train young entrepreneurs and improve local economies.
1998 - Junior Chamber Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Advancement name changed to Junior Chamber Center for Business Advancement. Two new programs, National Business Network and Virtual Networking, added to encourage Junior Chamber members to business network via the Internet both nationally and internationally.
1999 - JAYS program reintroduced as an educational program that informs children about the dangers of smoking. Value Investing and Career Advancement added to the Junior Chamber Center for Business Advancement.

2000 - San Diego chapter hosts "Swingin' For The Generations" a cross-generational swing dance fundraiser to support the Junior Seau Foundation and ElderHelp of San Diego. The first female elected National President. Junior Chamber Center for Business Advancement develops web-based video seminar training.
2003 - San Diego chapter hosts the California State Convention.

Who are the Jaycees?

Over the years, thousands of San Diegans have been members of this fine organization. The link below lists those who have served as San Diego Chapter President.

Presidents Past & Present


Copyright © 2003 San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.