Jaycees go co-ed

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might say: because it's 2016.

The 85-year-old Kelowna Jaycees is no longer a boy's club after a vote Thursday night to go co-ed.

More than 60 members voted at the general meeting to allow women into the organization.

"The vote ushers in a new era for the Kelowna Jaycees, with a vision and passion to grow and be better both as individuals and community leaders," the group said in a press release.

The organization's past and current membership includes many of the community’s top business, social and political leaders.

“Expanding our membership to co-ed allows us to reach further into the community and create a stronger lasting impact. It allows us to grow our network like never before, giving us access to all of the top young professionals in the Okanagan,” said communications director Ryan Lancaster.

“I have never been more proud to be a Jaycee,” said past president Sean Glendinning. “I have seen our momentum change as we have continued to grow over the last couple years, and now we can truly fulfil our vision of being the premiere leadership development organization in Kelowna.”

The Kelowna Jaycees survived tough times in the early 90s, when they had a mere five members, but their latest move opens the door to continued growth.  

The group is affiliated with Junior Chamber International, a worldwide federation of young leaders between the ages of 18 and 40. The local Jaycees are best known for their work with the Boys and Girls Club and renovation of the former Glenn Avenue School into the Kelowna Jaycees Downtown Youth Centre, along with support of other charitable organizations.

Jaycees president Kevin Lavigne expressed his optimism regarding the vote, saying “I’m so excited to be leading this incredible organization and I would like to invite all of Kelowna’s young professionals to come see what JCI is all about."


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