Challenges = Opportunities

Chief of Staff Adam Nelson

Every nonprofit has challenges affecting its members and leadership. What are yours? A few common challenges include getting recognized in the community, fundraising, finding and developing lasting leadership, having common goals and objectives, and finding active members. Bear in mind, these challenges are not unique even though they may feel specific to your case; others have experienced them too. 

Changing your mindset to view challenges as “opportunities” will keep you in an optimistic attitude to tackle them.  This will be important to find success in taking advantage of these opportunities. 

Finding and developing lasting leadership is a good one to begin working toward today. While the next election of board members may seem far off, don’t delay in mentoring your next team to take on a future leadership role. 

Do you see someone with a passion for the organization’s mission, just not with confidence or specific skills to take on their next role? These individuals need projects and events (opportunities) throughout the year to gain necessary tools (developed skills) to take on more responsibility.

What’s lacking for up-and-coming leaders you’ve identified? Will each be ready with the right tools? Consider planning a public speaking opportunity, extending an invitation to participate in event budgeting, involving them in brainstorming exercises, or holding group social activities to create strong team bonds. All of these opportunities  will help you confirm if the next leader is ready or help you find the diamond-in-the-ruff member to nominate during elections.

We’ve been chewing on great opportunities already – keep on pursuing greatness by continuing to chew through the challenges and you will find your successful goal starting to materialize before too long.

Jaycee on my friends!

Adam J. Nelson
Chief of Staff
Senator #72491

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COO Update

Chief Operations Officer Anna Versalle

Hello Michigan Jaycees!

I am excited to transition into the role of Chief Operations Officer for you this year. There is also a fantastic JCI Training Day planned for March 11 in Lansing and I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to attend the various trainings offered! 

Plans are starting to form for our May Conference at Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire so be sure to save the date: May 5-7.

Yours in Jaycees, 

Anna Versalle

Chief Operations Officer

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Plans, Preparations, and Implemention

Chief of Staff Adam Nelson


Congratulations on the start of your new year! We are see the hard work of chapters already making an impact. 

By now, you have made your plans, preparations, and are implementing them with an excited start. In the movie Hidalgo, Frank Hopkins and his mustang entered the great Arabian “Ocean of Fire” 3000-mile endurance race. When the starting gun goes off, all the other racers gallop off at full speed – and Frank saunters off telling Hidalgo it’s okay to pace yourself for the long race.

Your chapter may be starting off the way the other racers did. Keep in mind as you are chasing goals in membership growth and training, programming to impact your community, and finding ways to improve your chapter operations – the year is a marathon. Pace your excitement so you don’t burn out.

We know you have great events planned and Team 93 wants to be more than just spectators to your great race. Please invite us out with a personal invitation, instead of a passive invite we may miss on social media, so we can join in too. There is a great guide for State and National Officer Visit Protocol in the Document Library on the Michigan Jaycees website.

There is a lot to complete during this year’s race - Our challenge to you is to bite off more than you think you can chew - and then just keep chewing!

Adam J. Nelson
Chief of Staff
Senator #72491


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Testimonial Tuesday: Carol Zombro

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Carol what inspired you to become a Jaycee?

Almost three years ago, my grandmother passed away. I was charged with clearing out her house. This was especially hard for me because I only every saw my grandmother as a child during the summers and she was always busy. I remember quite un-fondly her baking delicious cookies that she never let me eat. It wasn’t until I entered her office to pack her things that I found out what she was actually doing with those delicious unreachable cookies.

My grandmother was a proud member of the Martinsburg Lioness Club for over thirty years. Her office packed from floor to ceiling with boxes of certificates, awards and medals honoring this woman for her charity work. She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for homeless children in West Virginia. Her big project? Bake sales.

At that point I didn’t know what a Jaycee did. I was only here because Kymi made me do it. That remained for the case for quite some time, until it was time to renew. That’s when I heard about the Duffle Bags of love project. The Jaycees were collecting items to give foster children a bag containing items that belong to them: clothes, diapers, snacks, comfort items. I guess my grandmother would be proud if I stuck around for that. Besides, I was in the process of becoming a foster parent myself, so I was a little partial to the idea.

I didn’t know the true impact of this project until two of those duffle bags walked into my house a few months later. As a respite foster care worker, children can come into your house at all hours with absolutely nothing. Duffle Bags of Love is changing that in Kalamazoo.

As I approach my third opportunity to renew my Jaycees membership, I can tell you with 100% certainty that the Kalamazoo Jaycees make a difference. It is my honor, pleasure and duty as an active citizen to continue helping them make that difference. I gladly donate $70 to the organization that creates change one project at a time.




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Training for Development

Training Director Nikki Glinski

Hello and SURPRISE to my fellow Michigan Jaycees!  I am your NEW Training Director for 2017. In addition to Chris Buehrer, we now have Beth Michaels on our squad helping you all with your training needs.

Have you ever checked out trainings available from JCI? We are offering two training sessions (JCI Impact or JCI Effective Leadership) on March 11 in Lansing for $15, which includes lunch. Pre-registration is required online but you can pay for the training right at the door!

While checking out the list of JCI trainings, let me know if your chapter would like to host one!


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Membership Info You Need to Know!

Membership Vice President Sarah Ellis

Hello Michigan Jaycees!

Membership closeout for the 1st Quarter is March 25. Members who are on a monthly payment plan will automatically be renewed and do not need to take any action. Members who pay their dues annually will need to renew their membership via their chapter page on the MIJC website prior to the closeout date. 

MIJC Membership Closeout Dates for 2017 are as follows:

  • 1st Quarter – March 25
  • 2nd Quarter – June 25
  • 3rd Quarter – September 25
  • 4th Quarter – December 20

Members who make monthly payments will automatically be renewed.  Members who pay annually will need to pay their dues prior to the closeout date.  If you need a list of members that pay annually, please contact Membership Vice President Sarah Ellis.

Member Spotlight: The 2017 Membership Team wants ALL Jaycees to be able to nominate outstanding members for recognition. We recognize that not all of our members attend Leadership Conferences and that there are many members who are working hard behind the scenes that deserve recognition.

If you have a member in your chapter that goes above and beyond and deserves to be recognized, nominate that person for the Member Spotlight! The members selected for the Spotlight will be featured in the Michigander and on MIJC social media pages. If you would like to nominate a member, please e-mail me the following information:  

  • Your name
  • Name and chapter of the member you are nominating
  • 150 words explaining why you are nominating them
  • A photo of the person

Membership Tip of the Month:  Keep a prospective member list that your chapter reviews on a monthly basis. This can be done at either your board meetings or GMMs. When a prospective member attends a project or meeting, make sure you get their contact information. Make a plan of action to follow up with your prospective members. Call or e-mail them to thank them for attending your project. 

Are they on your e-mail list so they will know about future events? Are you inviting them to your projects or meetings? Make sure you communicate who will follow up with each prospect.


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Programming News

Programming VP Jocelyn Moellering

Hello Michigan Jaycees!

In completing your chapter planning for 2017, you have an opportunity to decide as a chapter what sort of programming you want to provide to your membership and to your community. Your programming determines the impact your chapter will have for the year.

How will you develop, train, and grow your membership? How will you grow your chapter resources for future programming? How will you bridge new connections with local organizations and government? How will you create positive change in your community?

All of these pieces work together to provide value in the Jaycees organization. We look forward to seeing all the ways your chapter will work together as one to build leaders and create positive change!

Chapter Plan Submissions Due February 24th!


Your programming team is looking forward to reading and reviewing your 2017 Chapter Plan of Action and providing you with feedback. Your Chapter Plan is due by 8 p.m. Friday, February 24 but you are welcome to submit it at any time before that.

Go to to upload your Chapter Plan, proof of chapter insurance, articles of incorporation from the state of MI (through LARA), and your chapter Constitution & Bylaws. Please let me know if you need help locating these additional items. Also, even if you have insurance through the Michigan Jaycees, please include a copy of the email confirmation your insurance is paid for and up-to-date.


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2016 Year-end Awards

Congratulations to the Year-end winners.

David Lichwala Memorial Award 

  • Sarah Austin – Westland Area
  • Jaymi Dormaier – Farmington Area
  • Beth Michaels – Rochester Area
  • Kris Collee – Greater Muskegon
  • Kymi Toliver – Kalamazoo

Year-end Competitions

  • Prepared Write Up
    • Emily Seipel – Ann Arbor
  • Prepared Speak-Up
    • Katie Mecsey – Rochester Area
  • Steven M. McGowan Award for Impromptu Speak Up
    • Jacqulyn Leary – Frankenmuth Award
  • Master Speak Up
    • Stacey Fenton – Livonia Jaycees
  • C. William Brownfield Memorial
    • Jessica Haynes – Frankenmuth Jaycees

Robert J Peacock Memorial Award

  • Carol Zombro from the Kalamazoo Jaycees

Beard, Ballinger, Cunningham, Media Excellence Award

  • Ann Arbor

Sandy K. Luikes Memorial Award

  • Julia Klein
  • Sarah Ellis

Dennis Hamilton Memorial Award

  • Adam Bonarek

Doc Huldin Memorial Award

  • Mary Burden, Senator #62527

Seiji Horiuchi Memorial Award

  • Kristin Garstka
  • Mike Walsh
  • Stephanie Batista
  • Jade Hunt
  • Peter Behrmann

Outstanding Board Member

  • Steve Fappas

 R. Bradley Trafton Memorial Award

  • Tom Quackenbush

Mark Pankner Award

  • Melissa Greko

Single Project Entries

  • Top Sustainable Development Goals Project (SDG)
    • Rochester Area Senior Easter Baskets
  • Top Community Leader Project
    • Greater Muskegon Future 15
  • Top Active Citizen Project
    • Kalamazoo’s Home Away from Home for the Holiday
  • Top Breakout Project
    • Livonia Jaycees’s 80’s Murder Mystery
  • Top Sustaining Project
    • Ghosts of Kalamazoo

Civic Leadership Certification       

  • Kalamazoo

Thom Stark Memorial Award

  • Jamie Hekker – Greater Muskegon Jaycees
  • Danielle Proctor – Grand Rapids Jaycees
  • Andrea Rutkowski – Livonia Jaycees

Betty Sexton Award

  • Erin Poltorak

Martin P. Luthy Memorial Award

  • Jaymi Dormaier – Farmington Area
  • Beth Michaels – Rochester Area
  • Kris Collee – Greater Muskegon
  • Kymi Toliver – Kalamazoo

Giessenbier Memorial Award

  • Greater Muskegon Jaycees
  • Kalamazoo Jaycees
  • Livonia Jaycees
  • Ludington Area Jaycees

CW Bill Otto Memorial Award

  • Greater Muskegon Jaycees
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2016 Trimester 3 Awards

Congratulations to the trimester 3 award winners. 

Junior Jaycees Incentives

  • Wyandotte
    • Kayleigh Edmonson - 12
    • Mackenzie Edmonson - 11
    • Dade Brunt - 9
    • Serena Brunt – 6

Passport to Civic Leadership (Degrees)

  • Allegan
    • Cara Kemp – 3rd and 4th
    • Jim Niemi – 1st
  • Ann Arbor
    • Emily Seipel – 6th
    • Emily Bush – 1st
  • Big Rapids
    • Laura Vallette – 1st
  • Cadillac
    • Sandy Bredahl - 4th and 5th
    • Alisha Hennigan  - 2nd
    • Hollie Olson – 4th
  • Central Woodward
    • Mark Szlaga – 1st and 2nd
  • Cheboygan
    • Jade Hunt – 5th and 6th
  • Clare Area
    • Brittany Spangler – 1st and 2nd
  • Frankenmuth
    • Jacqulyn Leary – 1st
    • Lauren Surrock – 1st and 2nd  
  • Grand Rapids
    • Marybeth Schafer – 6th
    • Jennifer Baker – 1st and 2nd
    • Navdeep Singh – 1st
    • Erin Poindexter – 1st and 2nd
  • Kalamazoo
    • Jason Foster – 3rd and 4th
    • Jennifer Novess – 5th
    • Carol Zombro – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th
    • Heather Tulloch – 2nd
    • Monica Valdes – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
  • Livonia
    • Becky Hermann – 2nd
  • Ludington
    • Alexis Alvesteffer – 1st
    • Eric Lund – 1st
  • Petoskey Area
    • Marianne Rock – 1st and 2nd
    • Caroline Moellering – 1st
  • Redford
    • Susan Dials – 3rd
    • Stephanie Johnson – 5th and 6th
  • South Lyon Area
    • Nikki Glinski – 4th, 5th, and 6th         
  • Westland Area
    • Courtney Scott – 1st and 2nd
  • Wyandotte
    • Shannon Lynch – 4th
    • Zachary Welch – 1st
    • Jeremy McLaughlin – 1st

10th Degree 

  • Grand Rapids
    • Danielle Proctor
  •  Livonia
    •  Erin McKenzie 


  • Junior Jaycees/Jayteen Write Up
    • Jordan Woelke of the Redford Jaycees.
  • Impromptu Speak-Up
    • Jacqulyn Leary from the Frankenmuth Jaycees.
  • Prepared Speak-Up
    • Carol Zombro from the Kalamazoo Jaycees.
  • Master Speak-Up
    • Stacey Fenton of the Livonia Jaycees.
  • Impromptu Write-Up
    • Sarah Austin of the Westland Jaycees.
  • Prepared Write-Up
    • Susan Dials of the Redford Jaycees.
  • Brownfield
    • Monica Valdes of the Kalamazoo Jaycees.

Programming Awards of Excellence

  • South Lyon Jaycees
  • Clare Area Jaycees
  • Jaymi Dormaier - Farmington Area Jaycees
  • Coats for Kids by the Cadillac Jaycees 

Single Project Entries

    • Kalamazoo Brewhaha
    • Ghosts of Kalamazoo
    • Rally for Rochester 5k
    • Kalamazoo’s Home Away from Home for the Holiday 

Civic Leadership Certification

  1. Rochester Area Jaycees 
  2. Kalamazoo Jaycees
  3. Farmington Area Jaycees
  4. Greater Muskegon Jaycees
  5. Westland Area Jaycees

Chapter of the Trimester

The Kalamazoo Jaycees

Return the Favor

         Tom Randazzo #39628 - Wyandotte

First Timers

  1. Kieshan Counts - Frankenmuth
  2. Jessica Bocade - Kalamazoo
  3. Alisha Hennigan – Cadillac


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Happenings Around the State in February

District 1 Director Ashley Adams

D1 is taking a look inside this year to project the best versions of ourselves to our members and communities! Using bouncy balls and “I’m rubber, you’re glue” as our model, we are impressing our strength, professionalism, and unity to our audience. What do I mean by the “I’m rubber you’re glue” model? The way you present yourself to other people will literally “bounce” off of them and help form their opinion of you. When we intentionally throw the best version of ourselves at people, that’s exactly what we get back.

Despite the miles between us, we will take this year to “bounce” our best ideas, resolutions, and support between each other and work together as one team.  We have chapters mobilizing toward the JCI Training event in Lansing- a perfect opportunity to dig into the best of Jaycee membership.

Like magic, more and more good people are going to stick themselves (and their opinions) to us! What does this mean? Your tribe, your JAYCEES tribe, is going to grow! 

D1 Events



District 2 Director Rachael Eerdmans


The beginning of the year brings so much excitement and anticipation. The chapters in District 2 are using this energy and excitement to kick off what is sure to be a great year.

I would like to congratulate the South Kent Chapter on recently celebrating their 50th anniversary. They celebrated this in true style at a lovely year end gala. I would also like to highlight the Muskegon Snowfest. This a wonderful tradition that took a break last year but is back and better than ever. They are hosting a number of events in downtown Muskegon the first weekend in February and it is sure to be a great time.

We would love to host any Jaycees friends in our neck of the woods. Please take a look at our upcoming events and consider a trip to the west side!

D2 Events




District 3 Director Erin McKenzie


Dearest D3:

As a new honorary member of the district (thanks Kzoo!), I feel like I can really dive in and be your district director.

I've had the pleasure of getting to know and observe 2 of my 4 chapters at their year-end events. Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo are both groups of talented leaders who are going to set the state on fire! Cohesive, energetic, exactly what a good #glitterduck should be. Both chapters truly exemplify our Together as One Team motto for 2017.

Ionia, Lansing- I'm coming for you!

D3 Events




District 4 Director Dan Moellering


This year has gotten off to a great start. The chapters in D4 are planning some great projects. I have already had the pleasure of pouring beer in downtown Detroit with Central Woodward along with other chapters pitching in to help their neighboring chapters. #HangingTogether
D4 Events


  • Wyandotte: GMM at 7 p.m. February 14. Senior Spaghetti Dinner on March 5.
  • Westland Area: GMM at 7 p.m. February 7. Bowling event on February 25, and Operation Fire Up takes place April 22.
  • Livonia: No GMM posted. Financial Literacy seminar on March 9 and Murder Mystery planned for April 1.
  • Central Woodward: GMM at 7 p.m. February 16.
  • Rochester Area: GMM at 7 p.m. February 9. 
  • Redford: GMM at 7 p.m. February 20.
  • South Lyon: GMM at 7 p.m. February 6. Trivia Night planned for April, no set date.
  • Farmington Area: No events posted.



District 5 Director Christy Kuczynski


As Jaycees, we know why we are here, especially if you followed last month’s advice and created your Jaycee mission statement! We are all here for different reasons: fellowship, development, to impact our communities. However, we cannot do it alone. That’s why this year’s slogan, Together as One Team, is so powerful.

As you think about your plans for tomorrow, ask yourself today if you have partners in your work. Have you invited friends to join you in the Jaycees? Have you asked your local businesses to support you as sponsors or service providers? Do not focus your efforts so much that you miss opportunities to further your reach within our communities.

Take a moment, review your mission, and reacquaint yourself with why you are a Jaycee. Look around you for those that can help. You are a force, but #TogetherAsOne with others, you will build a movement.

Tell us what you are up to on our Facebook pages: MIJC District 5 and MIJC Post It Here!

D5 Events






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