HUMBOLDT — While the Humboldt chapter of Junior Chamber International (JCI) has been disbanded for over a year, the service club’s impact on the city is still noticeable.
Rob Muench, Larry Jorgenson, Roger Korte and Amanda Klitch were all members of the service organization.
The club ran in the city from 1958 until 2019 and promoted leadership, volunteering, and community event planning for members ages 18 to 40. Many long-serving members of the club over the years made their mark by becoming city councillors and mayors and this still stands as four of the current council are former members of the organization.
For Larry Jorgenson, going from the club to the council was a natural move, he said.
It was a young person’s club, he said, so once a member hits 40, they are asked to step away.
“You spend that time from when you're 20 years old to when you get to be 40 years old basically training to become a leader. Where else can a leader go but take the next step to the city council or to some other organization?”
Having JCI members on council has been a tradition since the club’s founding, said Rob Muench, a former mayor and returning city councillor, considering the similarities of both organizations in improving the community. As part of the JCIs, members learn about Robert's Rules of Order, discussing concerns, and making decisions that are good for the community. The same goes for what happens around the council table.
“It is part of [the JCI] mandate to make the world a better place and to build leaders. It starts out with 18-year-old people that want to get involved in the community and over the years it certainly has supplied a number of councillors to the City of Humboldt.”
Being an international organization, JCIs have chapters all over the world so there are still opportunities for people to remain involved with the organization. While it would be nice to have the chapter back in Humboldt, Jorgenson said the club was not sustainable.
“The club has been struggling to find volunteers and new members, and they just couldn't sustain themselves anymore… We'd love to have a chapter back in Humboldt but the people that were on it we're getting burned out, and they just weren't able to revitalize the clubs moving forward.”
For more information, visit the Junior Chamber International website at jci.cc or the JCI Humboldt Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jcihumboldt.