Jaycees, community join forces By Plain Talk The Vermillion Jaycees have been so consumed with the planning of their upcoming Spirit of Vermillion activities slated for Labor Day weekend that they may have forgotten all of their other accomplishments.
This is working out to be a banner year for the local chapter, which at one time only boasted five members.
Earlier this year, the Vermillion Jaycees received the honor of being listed as one of the top 100 U.S. Jaycee chapters to watch in the nation.�
The Vermillion Jaycees have been working hard to rebuild their chapter and provide the community with leadership
They�ve helped out with a range of projects, from their annual sandbox fill, to their Pitch, Hit and Run competition for local youth.
New endeavors this year include the Show and Shine Car Show and the Spirit of Vermillion project in conjunction with Valiant Vineyard�s Great Dakota Wine Fest during the Labor Day weekend.
Ribs, Rods & Rock �n Roll
The Jaycees are concentrating their efforts on plans for a �Ribs, Rods & Rock �n Roll� event Sept. 3 and 4.
A street dance and beer garden, with music by Judd Hoos, is scheduled from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Sept. 3.
Sunday�s events include the Show and Shine Car Show, a barbecue cook-off, a poker run and a rib feed and cook-off.
Music will be provided by Open Mikes and the Open Mikes All-Stars.
Establishing such a signature project can bring the spotlight to a small town. That is the focal point for Vermillion Jaycees President Jody Harnois.
�We have built our member ship around the idea that our community needs a
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signature event of its own that can bring a spotlight on what Vermillion has to offer,� he said. �We have gone from less than five active members to close to 30 committed individuals in less than three months.�
Jason Larson of The Pressbox was nominated one of the top 10 businessmen in South Dakota by the South Dakota Jaycees this year.
Harnois has the distinction of being named one of the top 100 Jaycee chapter leaders in the United States during 2005.
�That�s reflective of the chapter, and what we�ve been able to accomplish,� Harnois said.
To carry on a tradition of success, he knows the chapter needs to keep growing.
�Since we�ve started working on this (event, we haven�t focused a lot of our effort on growing,� Harnois said, �but in the process, we�ve had people come up to us and ask to join. This is great; it�s something we haven�t had before.
�We�re excited about the prospects for the future, but we need to build, because something like this is a huge project for a group of 30 people,� he said. �We�re looking for new members all of the time � anyone who is interested in making a difference in their community.�
The weekend�s events wouldn�t be possible, he added, without help from local city government, the Chamber of Commerce, the city Parks and Recreation Department and USD.
�All of these entities and organizations are represented in our chapter. The cooperation we have gotten from the community has surpassed expectations,� Harnois said.
The Jaycees are recruiting people to fill key positions and identify the type of people needed to accomplish their goals.
In addition, they will enlist the help of other organizations such as local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, local restaurants and college groups to help with the event.
The efforts currently underway in the community, Harnois said, are in many ways similar to the children�s story Stone Soup.
Stone Soup is the story of hungry soldiers who visit a town, asking for food.
The soldiers get a big cauldron, light a fire under it, and threw a stone in the pot.
The soldiers tell curious townsfolk that they are making Stone Soup, adding that the soup would be greatly improved with the addition of vegetables.
�Pretty soon,� Harnois said, �everybody starts pitching in. We�re not trying to do it all ourselves; we�re just trying to light the fire.
�As we go along, more and more people are kicking in to help � just like the villagers in the Stone Soup story.
�We have a little piece of the community here, and a little piece of the community there � by the time we get it together, people will be able to say, this is Vermillion,� he said.