The Elkin chapter of the Jaycees, a young-adult community organization in Elkin, has sold its old headquarters to the Poplar Springs Baptist Church and have decided to donate the funds from the sale to community projects in Elkin. The building was sold in December of 2015 and the organization wanted to give the money to the town in a way that would have a lasting impact on the community, explained its members.
The Jaycees is a group of young professionals who work on civic growth in Elkin and strive in providing members with the opportunity to grow and achieve while working for the affairs of the community. The Jaycees participate in many activities throughout the year. Their biggest event is the Fourth of July celebration known as Freedom Fest at the Elkin Municipal park, which is being held this year on July 2. The Jaycees also participate in events and workshops throughout the year, including adopt a street, group cleanups, social activities and fundraisers.
“It’s a great organization,” said Lauren Meek, 2016 president of the Jaycees. “It’s one of the first things my husband and I got involved in when we moved to Elkin. We’ve made a lot of our friends through the Jaycees.”
The Elkin chapter of the Jaycees has been around since 1942 and has gone through several waves of membership through the years. The chapter was especially popular during the late ’70s and early ’80s and it was during this time that the Jaycees elected to use their funds to purchase a building to act as their place of headquarters and a site for fundraisers and meetings. The building was bought from the Poplar Springs Baptist Church, 103 Fellowship Way, State Road.
“It was a huge accomplishment for them at the time and we were a little hesitant at first about the decision to sell it,” said Meek. “We didn’t want to go back on their past accomplishments, but due to the smaller size of our group right now, the building wasn’t serving as big of a purpose as it once did, and on top of that, we were still paying maintenance.”
The idea to sell the building started two years by then Jaycees’ president Alicia Gentry. Gentry got the ball rolling on the project and the next president, Will Ballard, coordinated the selling of the building. The building was sold back to Poplar Springs Baptist Church at the end of last year.
At the beginning of 2016, Meek took over as president and discussed with the group on how to allocate the funds made from the sale. After much research and talking within their membership, they have agreed on two projects to support.
The Jaycees have decided to make a $20,000 donation to the Elkin Valley Trails Association to help build the entrance to the park’s new mountain bike trail. This entrance starts about four-tenths of a mile into the Elkin and Alleghany Rail Trail in Elkin Municipal Park, just before the first footbridge, and takes hikers and bikers around a number of bluffs 40 to 50 feet above the water. This entrance will open up to two new biking and hiking trails. The Jaycees’ donation will be used to aid in the construction of boardwalks for the bluff section of the trail.
“We’re excited for their support and the fact that they see our vision,” said Dr. Bill Blackley, coordinator of the EVTA. “Many of our trails are built by volunteers, but this project will need some heavier construction and engineering work due to the terrain. We respect what they’ve been doing and we’re very honored by their donation.”
A smaller donation also is being made to maintain the Elkin Municipal Park band shelter. As a central focus point for many of Elkin’s festivals, the Jaycees’ donation will be used for making cosmetic and structural updates to the shelter during the month of June.
“The band shelter has been in need of repairs due to the poor shape of the ramp and flooring. They still work just fine but are reaching the end of their lifespan,” said Elkin Recreation and Parks Director Adam McComb. “The band shelter this month is used every weekend thanks to events starting as early as March. The June time frame will be a lull period for us so that will be a good time to make those upgrades. The Jaycees are a great community-oriented group that have supported many projects throughout the years in Elkin. Having them in our town as a means of support for community projects means a lot.”
Despite having sold their old headquarters, the Jaycees are still going strong. They now hold their meetings at the Fairfield Inn and Suite every other month on the third Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. and are preparing for this year’s Freedom Fest on July 2.
“The intention from the get-go was that we wanted to donate the money back to the town in some way,” said Meek. “Our group is really excited about our donations. Many of our members have made Elkin their home while others grew up here and chose to come back to raise their families. We wanted to give something back to the community that would have a lasting impact.”
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.