Among the 50 organizations helping the Brainerd Jaycees run Saturday's 17th annual Ice Fishing Extravaganza is the Camp Confidence Jaycees, the newest local chapter of the 87-year-old organization.
Formed in December, the new chapter already has 20 members who meet each month at the Brainerd Public Library. Club president is Jenni Bailey, Confidence Learning Center staff.
The mission of the new chapter is the same as other Jaycees chapters: To help young adults develop independence skills and become integrated into the community. Membership is open to anyone between the ages of 21 and 40.
Brainerd Jaycees member Jerry Swanson (left) cut ice slots with a chain saw while Brent Morris inserted laths Thursday to keep plastic cones from scooting across the ice at the site of Saturday's Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
It's appropriate that Confidence Learning Center, also known as Camp Confidence, should have a Jaycees chapter, as no other charitable organization has received more donations from the ice fishing contest. Each year, the camp gets 70 percent of the proceeds. Total donations to date exceed $1 million.
The idea for the new chapter started with Bob Slaybaugh, director at Confidence Learning Center, who got to know many of the new chapter members as campers.
"Many of them live and work within a small network of people, with no chance to integrate into the larger community," Slaybaugh said. "This will get them out of that network. They'll plan projects just like other Jaycees, which will help them become more independent."
The chapter's first project will be Saturday, when members will hand out the wire clips ice fishing contestants use to secure their tickets to their jacket zippers. Upward of 10,000 clips will be handed out, beginning at 8 a.m.
"That should keep them pretty busy," Bailey said.
Matt Borgstrom, 33, a member of the new chapter, said he's looking forward to the contest.
Friday - Partly cloudy with a high near 14.
Friday night - Partly cloudy with low around zero.
Saturday - Partly cloudy with a high near 23. South wind between 5-10 mph.
"Just helping out will be fun," said Borgstrom, who visited Confidence Learning Center several times as a boy. "I like volunteering and now I want to work for the Jaycees."
Borgstrom said the new chapter's first meetings have gone well.
"We've talked about activities we can do and we're figuring out who will be our president and secretary," he said.
Bailey said she's chapter president by title only.
"What they decide to do is up to them," she said. "I don't want to dictate. This is their chapter and it'll go wherever they take it."
At the chapter's first meetings, they learned about domestic abuse from the Brainerd Police Department and about fire safety from the Brainerd Fire Department.
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