The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri: women building better communities.
by: Allison Taylor, Director of Membership, 2013-2014
I’ve been calling it my Junior League “aha” moment. I’ve certainly had them before in my 12 years with the Junior League of Kansas City, MO, but for some reason this one struck me a bit differently. This year I got goosebumps and tears during the 100th anniversary luncheon and I swelled with pride as I attended the ribbon cutting at the Helzburg Penguin Plaza. But, on a very rainy October Wednesday night at University Academy I experienced my “aha” moment.
Gina Stingley, Director of Community Impact, invited all of her fellow Board members to join her at Healthy U Family Dinners at University Academy. I had one of “those” nights getting there…husband not home in time, pouring rain, racing to get there, etc., so I was not in the best mood when I arrived. However, Abbey, the Family Dinners Chair, changed all of that with her positive attitude and great organization. We were quickly teamed up with committee members and the families. Melissa and Brittany, both first-year actives, jumped right in with the families and it was easy to see the rapport they had already built in just a few weeks. As we all worked together to make “No Sufferin’ Succotash” I was impressed by both the kitchen skills and healthy eating knowledge that my 5-year-old and 13-year-old partners had already gained through the program.
As I looked around the room at all of the families enjoying the evening together and all of my fellow League members so engaged with them, I realized this is why we do what we do. Too often it’s easy for me to get caught up in the many emails, meetings, and day-to-day business of the League. But to see our impact in the community is to see the heart of the League. That night I saw our mission in action – volunteers working together, developing the potential of women as new actives worked alongside League leaders, and improving our community by teaching families about healthy eating.
I used my Family Dinners experience as my inspiration for my “Team Builder” the following month at my Council meeting. I asked my Council members to share a Junior League “aha” moment or memorable experience that made them remember why they are a proud League member. There were several great stories shared. There were tears. (And, not just by me.) I can certainly tell you that most experiences did not involve meetings at Headquarters. It’s our work with the community that makes us who we are.
As we enter this Spring with many opportunities in front of us, please consider stepping out of your comfort zone. That will mean different things for different women; but it could mean serving an All Member Requirement (AMR) in our community, volunteering for our 100th anniversary community service project at Ronald McDonald House, or taking on a leadership position for the 2014-2015 League year. It might be stepping outside of your comfort zone that lets you have an “aha” moment of your own.