The Des Moines Junior Chamber (Jaycees) is a local group of young professionals in the Des Moines metro who are focused on community service and professional development. Interestingly, the Iowa chapter is one of the oldest in the country. “We’ve been around for 90 years,” says Ryan Anderson, Vice President of the Des Moines Junior Chamber. “And we’re still going strong.”
The group encourages its members to take on community projects, pursue their interests and carve out programs with the support of the Junior Chamber staff and resources. “If you have the passion or vision to start something,” says Anderson, “the Jaycees want to enable you to make it a reality.”
Of course, there is no shortage of YP groups in the metro, one thing that Anderson believes strengthens the Des Moines community. “It’s great that there are so many avenues for young professionals to pursue in this area,” he says. “Like all of these organizations, the Jaycees provides its own unique opportunities to empower YPs.”
Among them are the Junior Chamber’s strong relationship with the East Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, their award-winning professional development training programs, and their state and regional conventions. Anderson adds, “we really are a community service focused group. Networking is good, but we want to get our hands dirty and get involved.”
Anderson points to the Jaycees recent partnership with VolunteerLocal’s “Happy Sams” program – an initiative to get more YPs involved in community service throughout the metro, and their pivotal role in supporting Smiles for Preston, a benefit cook-out for a local child born with the rare neurological disorder, Moebius Syndrome. The group makes monthly community service outings that are driven by the needs of our community.
“I love Des Moines,” says Anderson. “It’s a place with a constant open-door policy. City leaders are attentive to our community’s new ideas and progressive projects; they’ve done a great job embracing young professionals and we’re happy to be operating here, in the heart of it all.”