Friday, October 16, 2009

Junior League.

Several years ago, when church friends in Jackson, Miss., formally
asked if I would like to join the Junior League, I totally balked at the idea.

I sputtered excuses like, "But I'm not a soccer mom," and "That's really not my thing," and "Why would you even THINK of me for this?!"  Crestfallen, these ladies looked around at each other like they'd made a huge mistake. (And who can blame them?)

Then one friend, Ruth McMillan, gently informed me that it was a very big deal to be asked -- especially with no family ties in the area, and convinced me that I should at least go to an informational meeting before making a decision.

Thinking of longtime colleague, friend, personal hero and very active JLJ member Beth Hansen, I did.

When I walked away from the informational meeting, I was hooked. So what if many of these ladies were addicted to social gatherings and wore feather boas to meetings? This group was a great organization, and they buckled down and got things done in the community. Big things. Much more than piddly ol' me could ever do alone -- that's for sure.

So I joined. For months afterwards, I never told my own group of fun, hip-to-be-square, young professional or just-out-of-law-or-med-school peeps. I would turn down offers to meet at Keifer's on Tuesday night because of "community service meetings," or say I couldn't go walking on a nice night because of "a prior obligation." Understandably, my friends started getting suspiscious. Finally, they staged what I still feel was an informal intervention, where they casually asked what these community service obligations were all about. (I think they feared I was in some sort of trouble with the law.) :-)

I finally admitted to being part of the Junior League. The girls immediately got it -- they knew that as a proud Coast transplant, this was not something I wanted or needed on my resume', yet after a good chuckle, they seemed to appreciate my motivation. The guys had no clue, as many good guys don't. (One even asked if I would go on to the Senior League afterward.)

My time with the Junior League of Jackson (JLJ) was immensely rewarding. I met new friends, got to know other acquaintances on new levels, and was introduced to a ridiculous number of community needs and organizations that I was formerly unaware of.

When I moved to BR in August of '07, I changed my status with the Junior League of Jackson to non-resident active. I was burned out from so many obligations in Jacktown, and didn't want to add more to my plate or to make a group renowned for their posh-ness my first venue of contact with this new place and life.

Now that a couple of years have gone by, I'm actually missing the League. I think that doing something worthwhile, and with tangible results, and whose reach is bigger than most peeps give it credit for, has much more value than many of us can imagine.

I've joined Forum 35, and am excited about the volunteer and community activities I can hop onto with that, but the League is a different level of community service, and I think I might just be ready to test the Jr. League waters again here in BR.

So....maybe so. It's a huge time commitment, and I don't have a lot of those demands right now aside from work. But I always felt I was part of something bigger than me, and so worthwhile. And at the end of the day, I'm thinking that's just what this redhead needs.

I'll keep ya posted. I know you're all sitting around and waiting with bated breath -- just wondering how RJ's world will turn next. ;-)

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