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A chance to meet people, expand your professional network, develop new skills and contribute to society…

The Peoria Jaycees provides young people the opportunity to create positive change in their communities and in the world. Leadership development through community involvement has been the basis of this not-for-profit organization since its inception in 1940. The goal is to provide members a means to reach their full potential through networking and personal growth opportunities, and membership is ideal for proactive, young people ages 18 to 40.

Skills Training Opportunities
Everyone has unique talents to offer; the Jaycees provides an outlet to share those talents in programs and projects that benefit society. Members can enhance a variety of skills as they work together to plan and run civic and individual development activities in their home communities and chapters, such as:

Whether interested in being a chapter officer or simply working on a project committee, members have the chance to develop skills in planning, budgeting, marketing, personnel management and more. There are countless training opportunities through speakers as well as formal training programs, and the great thing is that members themselves decide the chapter’s programming! They provide the ideas and direction of which programs and events interest them, so the chapter is constantly evolving to keep up with current trends and ideas.

The first 70 years of the Peoria Jaycees have provided the means for many present-day leaders in business and government to achieve the skills and self-awareness that has carried them forward to today. During this period, firm foundations and traditions were established that today allow the organization to adjust its projects and programs to the varying needs of the community service to localities.

Programs & Events
The Jaycees are founders of some of Peoria’s biggest and best events. The first “Home Show” was sponsored in 1947 at the Armory. Then in 1980, the idea for “Riverfront Fireworks” was conceived after witnessing the fireworks at Glen Oak Park. This project was conducted by the Peoria chapter for eight years, involving numerous organizations, and was claimed to entertain more than 100,000 people each year… at no charge!

The Distinguished Service Awards Banquet is the Jaycees’ longest continuing annual event. Each year since 1940, individuals have been recognized at the banquet for outstanding service in the areas of government, business, healthcare, education, law enforcement, religion, community service, and fire and rescue. Some of Peoria’s finest leaders have been recognized for their service to this community through this award.

Today, two of the Jaycees’ most notable events are the International Beer Festival and the Firecracker 5000 5K race. Attracting patrons from all over the Midwest, the country’s oldest international beer festival hosts more than 4,000 people each year, allowing them to taste more than 300 different beers from around the world. Drinking for a cause has become one of the chapter’s largest fundraisers, raising more than $300,000 for the community over the last 21 years. Held in downtown Peoria on the Fourth of July, the Firecracker 5000 5K is one of the area’s largest races, and continues to grow each year.

The “Adopt-A-School” program is another service the chapter supports with pride. The first recipient, Blaine-Sumner Middle School, was adopted in the early ‘80s. The Jaycees work with the school to give recognition to student leaders and incentives for attaining scholastic excellence. This project has evolved over the years, and today, the organization offers a scholarship to one graduating student of Calvin Coolidge Middle School and one graduating senior from Limestone, Richwoods, Peoria Central, Peoria Heights and Manual high schools.

Eggtastic is how the group describes the Peoria area’s largest Easter egg hunt! Held every year on Palm Sunday, this free event for children and families features prizes, candy and a really good time. Fifteen thousand eggs, carefully stuffed with candy by the Easter bunny and his helpers, are distributed in four areas of Detweiller Park to correspond with four age groups. The Easter bunny even takes time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance for pictures and start the hunts!

The Peoria Jaycees are one of the premier leadership training organizations in central Illinois. For more information, visit or find them on Facebook. iBi