What Drives People to Join The Junior League?
By Aileena Minhas
There are several different reasons why women join the Junior League of Edmonton. I took to the streets to see what the top reasons are for women to join. The top three reasons that I found include, volunteering within the community, networking and meeting like-minded women & leadership training.
1) Giving Back by Volunteering Within The Community
To no surprise, the number one reason of joining JLE was to give back to the community through volunteering. The Junior League is able to give back to the community by monetary funds and with our own time by directly volunteering with organizations in the community.
“One of the main reasons I decided to join JLE was to give back to the community through volunteering. It’s been something on my bucket list for a while now and I have helped out for a few small events here and there but JLE offered it in a bigger outlet for me.” – Kirsty Wilson
“One chilly fall morning I saw Kathy collecting a ton of children’s toys and clothes outside of our children’s school. I asked her where she was bringing everything, and she told me that she was heading to a women’s shelter to volunteer and they are always in need. She then told me about the league and all of the different volunteer organizations that the league works to help. I loved the idea of helping out different organizations in need across the city. I decided to join that very minute! I had to wait until the next intake, but I was keen to get started.” – Laurie Gallagher
“Another thing that got me thinking about joining was when the opportunity came up for me to volunteer at the Kids in the Kitchen event with Carol. Like many others I always wanted to give back but to decide on just one organization to give your time to was difficult. Knowing that JLE allows it’s members to work with and give back to a variety of amazing organizations in the Edmonton area solidified that it would be great place to spend my free time.” – Tamara Wright
This is an organization where you can meet like-minded, motivated and high-energy women, who are involved in many different aspects of the community. These women support each other in the different adventures they choose to pursue.
“The second reason to join JLE was to meet new people. Not being born and raised in Edmonton (let alone Canada!) made it hard to meet new people. Finding JLE was like hitting two birds with one stone. I have a great new group of friends and I never thought it would come from volunteering so it’s a win-win!” – Kirsty Wilson
“ I joined the JLE after being exposed to some of the women through a couple of different events. I was attracted to the positive environment, the like-minded women and the very broad spectrum of talented and successful members. I was also really interested in volunteer opportunities that had an impact on different areas in the community.” – Amanda Mouait
“I was looking for ‘my tribe’ and a group of women who wanted to give back and make a difference seemed like it would be a good fit!” – Laurie Gallagher
“In my life I have always struggled to feel like I ‘fit’ and have forever felt different than others. The fact that JLE celebrates the diversity of women and at the same time knowing they are all there for similar reasons has given me a group where I feel comfortable be all of me, goofy, quirky and different!” – Tamara Wright
“Edmonton didn’t feel like home until I found this group of like minded women. It’s difficult to make friends in a new city and it was made easy with JLE because we all have common goals: leadership and community.” – Phalyn Chenard
3) Leadership Training & Fostering Transferable Skills
The Junior League’s vision is for women around the world to be catalysts for lasting community change. A major pillar for this vision to be implemented and successful directly depends on the support; guidance and training that is provided to the members. The Junior League recognizes, utilizes and develops the skills of our members. Formal and informal training is provided to develop leadership skills. The league is also able to provide opportunities to apply these skills in a supportive organizational structure within the league and the community. There are also several experienced members, sustainers and community contacts to learn from.
There is a larger network, throughout Canada, the States and even internationally, where all Junior Leagues can connect and learn from each other’s successes and failures. This larger network has created an online site where you can access past/ present fundraising events, formal training through webinars and yearly conferences that you can attend to learn from people around the world.
“But what I have really come to appreciate are the opportunities within the organization for learning, growth and personal development. I love that the JLE is a place where women can gain professional experience that is very different from what many are exposed to in their day to day.” – Amanda Mouait