Guest Post: 10 Things I Learned at the Fall Leadership Conference


President-Elect Jenette Jurczyk, President Jennifer Romine, and Executive Vice President (EVP) Loni Trimble attend the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) Fall Leadership Conference in Chicago.

Jenette Jurczyk, President-Elect

Attending the Fall Leadership Conference in Chicago was such a rewarding experience, getting to bond with our President and EVP, as well as meet leaders from Leagues across Illinois and the Midwest.  I soaked in as much information as I could to positively impact our League.   Thank you for this opportunity to share some of them with you!

It starts with our members…
Developing the potential of women is one of the pillars that Junior League is founded on.  In everything we do, we need to be nurturing and encouraging our members to grow and learn.  These are the women who will go on to found and lead non-profits and businesses that will effect change.

Everything we do is leadership training…
From updating the website, to organizing events, to working one-on-one with children in our community, everything we do allows members to challenge themselves with experiential, hands-on learning in a supported environment.

Leadership is about one life influencing another….
Many leagues have launched successful member mentorship programs, to keep their members engaged and learning.  In addition to our member advisors, JLCU launched a mentor program this year for our first year actives.  I was excited to hear that other leagues had had success with member retention with use of these programs and that our leadership sees the value in mentors.

The only thing constant is change…
Junior League has to be a fluid and flexible organization.  The needs of our members change; the needs of our community change; even our leadership changes every year.  We need to continually educate and train new members, transfer knowledge to new leadership, and keep our eyes open to the future.

Strategic planning is key….
The best way to create the future is to plan it.  We should constantly be reviewing our vision and defining our goals to make sure that our actions are aligned with our desired impact.

Junior League is more diverse than we think…
It was exciting to see that the leadership from Leagues across the country and beyond were passionate woman of all ages and backgrounds.  We need to keep that in mind as we recruit, train and empower our members to stay engaged in our community.

The power of numbers…
AJLI is in the process of collecting data from all 291 Leagues to be able to speak on a broader, global scale when sharing the impact of what League can do.  We are excited to see them roll out this information, especially since JLCU was featured in the demonstration of this research model.  We will also be able to use this information when explaining the value of supporting our League locally.

Control the conversation…
When your key message is clear, you control the conversation.  The key message is a springboard for discussion.  When educating potential members, donors and community partners about what we do in the community, strong and simple communication is key.

Be aware of opportunities to promote, recruit, advocate…
You never know if the young lady who is helping you plan your social event could be a great potential new member.  It’s possible that the person buying tickets to your fundraiser represents a business that could be a great new donor.  Always present your League in the best light possible and always be willing to start the conversation.

Junior League is for life…
Junior League is the only organization that offers lifelong membership.  It is what you need it to be, when you need it.  JLCU can only continue to effect change in our community with the support of our sustaining members.  The value of Junior League membership doesn’t end after your active years.

Guest Post: JLCU Advocacy Efforts in Champaign-Urbana and the Importance of Voting in November’s Election


Lonndon Blake, Public Affairs and Advocacy Chair

What a more fitting time for our government elections to be held in November; the month we give thanks for all the opportunities and blessings we have been afforded.  Although our country is in a time of change, we have the ability to create the change we want to see.   There are many countries throughout the world that do not receive the option to vote, so please exercise your right to vote choosing the best option for you and your needs while continuing your advocacy efforts within the community.

Within Junior League of Champaign Urbana, we train all members in the area of advocacy so we can be effective leaders in the community.  One of our most important advocacy efforts in the Champaign-Urbana area is education.   As many of you are aware, Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding areas have a significant wait-list for preschool.  At that tender age, children are at their most critical time for learning and development and many children in our community are being underserved due to the funding of education in our state.  JLCU has recognized a need in the community for preschools and took action by creating a program called Bright Starts, a Kindergarten readiness program, to help give those children on the wait-list a leg up.  Along with creating programs for our education advocacy area, we as an organization visited our State Capital in Springfield during Early Childhood Education Advocacy Day. During this visit, we met one on one with our legislators to encourage educational changes and/or policies for the betterment of our state and local community.

Bright Starts is a wonderful example of how we advocate for education in the community, but there are other advocacy efforts we participate in, such as Kids in the Kitchen in partnership with the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club.  Kids in the Kitchen is an Association of Junior League International (AJLI) – wide health initiative to help prevent childhood obesity.  JLCU may be most widely known for our advocacy regarding women and children, but we should also be known as an organization committed to this community and to organizations that may need a helping hand with their advocacy efforts.




The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana is hosting its second annual That’s What She Said Pre-Party, Ladies’ Night Out, to launch the 2016 Ladyfest weekend. Ladies’ Night Out will be held at V. Picasso in downtown Champaign on Thursday, October 13, 2016, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online for $30 or for $35 at the door, and include appetizers, a complimentary alcoholic beverage, and one raffle ticket.

V. Picasso will be serving a variety of appetizers and desserts throughout the evening, including pork and bacon meatballs, tomato crostinis, fried chicken sliders, warm manchego with homemade strawberry jam, truffles, and cupcakes. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase, giving attendees a chance to win a variety of items, including: jewelry, gift cards to local nail salons, a fitness pass from Transform Fitness, a gift card and swag bags from Fira Boutique, featured items from Checkered Moon and Texture Home, a private yoga lesson from Kristina Reese, and one week of free yoga at Ashtanga CU.

“The That’s What She Said Pre-Party Ladies’ Night Out at V. Picasso will be a wonderful evening celebrating women in Champaign-Urbana as we kick off the Ladyfest weekend,” said Allie Teagarden, Junior League Finance Council Vice President. “While the event is hosted by Junior League of Champaign-Urbana, you do not have to be a Junior League member to attend.  All women who enjoy friendship, food and fun should come out for this great event.” Teagarden added that Junior League is “excited to host ladies from across the community for a fun-filled evening.”

Highlights of the Ladyfest weekend include the show That’s What She Said, presented by the Christie Clinic, at the Virginia Theatre on October 15, 2016. The show features local women sharing stories to engage, empower and inspire each other, including Junior League of Champaign-Urbana member Ashley Morgan. Tickets range in price from $29.50 to $49.50.

Junior League of Champaign-Urbana Welcomes New Year


A packed house welcomed the new Junior League year at our first General Membership Meeting on 9/20/16. The meeting got started with a welcome from our current President, Jennifer Romine. Jennifer gave a brief update on summer happenings within JLCU, most notably, the move to our new administrative office location in Champaign!


Two Champaign-Urbana area businesses were instrumental in assisting us with the move – The Ryan Dallas Team and This is It Furniture – by donating usage of their trucks this past weekend. Any unneeded furniture and fixtures that we owned but did not need at our new location was donated to Salt & Light Ministries. A big thanks, as well, to all members, family, and friends of JLCU who helped in this process.

New Member Announcement!

Welcome to our newest members! 42 local women have joined our organization this year, and got started earlier this month with their first new member meeting. We are looking forward to getting to know all of you!

Project Development Update

Historically, the PD Committee presents at the September meeting and voting occurred at the October meeting. There is a proposed change to this policy that will be voted on at the October meeting. A new project will be proposed at the October GMM, too.

  • Currently, the Policies Approved by Members (PAM) 5.1.A reads: “All projects shall be approved by the membership at the October GMM. Prior notice shall be given and absentee ballots allowed.”
  • Proposed change to PAM 5.1.A: “All projects shall be approved by the membership at the November GMM. Prior notice shall be given and absentee ballots allowed.”



JLCU Gives Back/Done in a Meeting

Areas of Louisiana were devastated by flooding in August, such as Baton Rouge and Lafayette. The Junior League of New Orleans has been collecting and distributing items to help local women and children. We collected diapers, feminine hygiene products, and gift cards to be donated to help. Many members brought items to help out this worthy cause. Also, extra school supplies from League Locker are being donated directly to schools in the area.

Jennifer Romine’s in-laws have been impacted by the flooding, and she shared the following about some of the schools and how impactful our assistance will be, “they [the schools] flooded and have lost many school supplies right at the beginning of the year. In addition, the students’ homes flooded, and as they come back to school they are unable to bring in new supplies with them.”

JLCU Structure & Council Updates

Loni Trimble, JLCU Executive Vice President, shared information about JLCU’s structure and introduced Council VPs to give exciting updates for the new League year.

Membership Council VP, Kristen Sackley, introduced the new 1st-year member mentor program to the group. The mentors will also plan league-wide social events during the year. Stay tuned for fun events coming soon!

Finance Council VP, Allie Teagarden, announced the exciting 2016-2017 schedule of fundraising events. There is something for everyone! Keep reading Tuesday Tidbits and the JLCU website for details.

  • That’s What She Said Ladies’ Night Out Pre-Party: 10/13
  • Festival of Trees Weekend: 11/18-11/20
    • Daddy Daughter Dance: 11/18
    • Public Hours: 11/19-11/20
    • Brunch with Santa & Mrs. Claus: 11/19
  • JLCU Trivia Night (NEW!): 1/26
  • Red Carpet Affair (NEW!): 2/26

Communications Council VP, Ashley Morgan, presented that we are relaunching the I Am Junior League campaign with updated photos and more. More information coming soon to Tuesday Tidbits on how to be involved.

Community Council Updates: Caitlin Drake, Chair of Bright Starts, shared that there are several change to the “preschool at night” program this year. Any children in the pre-K age range (3-5) are welcome to attend, and there is now a financial scholarship available through Busey Bank for children that attend 7 classes. The next event is 10/11 and maximum enrollment is at 40 children. For more information, visit our Bright Starts webpage.

JLCU Training – The History of Junior League

This video is worth the watch! Members were inspired to learn about JL’s amazing impact on our country and the world.


Congrats to our very first Shining Star Award for 2016-2017,  Laura Gerhold!

She is pictured here with President Jen Romine (L) and Membership Council VP Kristen Sackley (R). Laura was nominated for her diligent work in assisting with the office move this summer. She also volunteered for every shift on Sunday of move which allowed us to finish 1.5 hours early!

Junior League Accepting Applications for Community Assistance Fund Grants

junior-league-of-champaign-urbanacommunity-assistance-fund-grants-due-by-9%2f30Each fall and spring, the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana awards Community Assistance Fund (CAF) grants to non-profits in our area to help with financial needs related to our position statements. Our position statements focus on school readiness, child protection and welfare, families, health, hunger, literacy, shelter, voluntarism, and women.

Fall applications are due by September 30, 2016, and can be completed online or downloaded and mailed to our office. Recipients will be notified by October 31, 2016.

For any questions, please contact Donna Cockburn, CAF Grants & Community Outreach Chair, via email at

Helpful Links:

Summer Wrap Up of JLCU Happenings!


As the summer comes to a close, the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana had a busy summer. The most important decision made over the summer was the relocation of the JLCU office. As our lease is set to expire on September 30 at the North Prospect location, the HQ Relocation Committee viewed several office spaces around the Champaign-Urbana area in Ma y and June before recommending to the Board that a lease be signed on office space at 2105 Dunlap Court, Suite 2A. The Board approved the measure at the July Board meeting and a lease was signed at the end of July. Now comes the hard part – moving!!! We need as many volunteers to help purge and physically move as possible – we even invite significant others who are not JLCU members to help out! Hours are posted on the website so sign up today: JLCU Website. You can also sign up for other volunteer hours at the same link!



Other news from the summer includes the new location for the majority of our General Meetings. All our General Meetings for 2016-17 will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn except for the October meeting which will be held at our community partner, Urbana Early Childhood Center. Our first meeting of the year is September 20 at 7pm. And, our February meeting will be a special training meeting with Vicki Clark, AJLI Trainer and owner of Building the Capacity of Organizations.

We want to emphasize “Developing the Potential of Women” this year so we are making a concerted effort to ensure our members are properly trained. You will hear more about the training as the year progresses!

Of course, with the move from the North Prospect location comes the close of the Junior League Locker. While the project will not officially sunset until May, our last open hours for teachers to pick up supplies occurred the first two weekends in August. You will hear more about our efforts to provide supplies to teachers over the remainder of this year later. And, at the October General Meeting, the Project Development Committee will present the proposal for our new project.

Finally, the New Member socials were well attended and we had a great group of women attend the first New Member meeting on September 6. It is so much fun to meet a diverse group of women who will only make our League that much stronger.

I hope you will make every effort to meet and greet each new member throughout the year! – Jennifer Romine, JLCU President 2016-2017

Highlights of the AJLI 94th Annual Conference by Jen Romine

AJLI (Association of Junior Leagues International) hosted its 94th Annual Conference May 12 through May 14 in Atlanta. President Jennifer Romine and President-Elect Cherie Kesler attended the 3-day event. Beyond the spectacle of Roll Call when each league’s voting delegate parades into the large conference hall preceded by a local high school marching band, some serious issues were discussed and voted on.


The most important work of the Annual Conference occurred during the Annual Meeting on Saturday, May 14. At that meeting, two advisory resolutions – resolutions that the AJLI Board must consider but are not bound to – were discussed and voted on. The issue of the advisory resolutions concerned the ODI (Organization Development Institute) meeting in Raleigh, NC, October 21-23 in light of the recent legislation enacted by the North Carolina government to restrict LGBT rights.

AJLI Opening Session

The first advisory resolution discussed read:

Whereas, AJLI has a Diversity and Inclusion Statement; and

Whereas, Junior Leagues have a strong history of advocating for civil liberties; and

Whereas, The US Justice Department has stated that the State of North Carolina is in violation of federal law; therefore, be it

Resolved that AJLI resite the AJLI Fall ODI outside the state of North Carolina; and be it further Resolved that the Fall ODI be held in a state whose laws do not contradict AJLI’s Diversity and Inclusion Statement.

After much debate supporting and opposing this resolution, the delegates voted down the advisory resolution. The Raleigh Junior League incoming president was persuasive in asking the delegates to not punish her League, which is involved in organizing the ODI with AJLI, and many of the other Leagues in North Carolina who did not support the legislation. In addition, if the AJLI Board were to resite the ODI, the cost to AJLI was estimated to be between $75,000 and $120,000 just to cancel the hotel, not to mention contracting with another hotel – this at a time when AJLI is consistently losing money on its conferences.

The second advisory resolution discussed read:

Whereas, Junior Leagues have a Diversity and Inclusion Statement; and

Whereas, AJLI event sites should align with our values; therefore be it

Resolved that AJLI’s future event and meeting contracts have language ensuring that the sites do not contradict the Diversity and Inclusion Statement.

This advisory resolution passed.

Other important notes from the Annual Conference include:

  • A new AJLI President was seated. Carol Scott from the Junior League of Pasadena succeeded Ellen Rose of the Junior League of New York City. Carol will serve for 2 years.
  • The keynote speaker was Carlotta Walls LaNier, one of the nine African-American students who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Each delegate at the conference received a signed copy of her book detailing her experience, “A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School”. Any member interested in borrowing the book to read, please contact Jennifer Romine ( who is willing to lend her copy out to JLCU members.
  • The AJLI treasurer’s report was important for 2 reasons: first, AJLI will be relocating its headquarters from New York City most likely to Charlotte, NC where rent is less expensive; and AJLI conferences are consistently going over budget even though the cost to delegates for each conference is between $400 and $700.
  • AJLI announced a new partnership with Gwynnie Bee, an online women’s clothing subscription service for sizes 10-32, that could help JLCU with free money. When the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana refers 30 free trials that start by June 30, 2016, Gwynnie Bee will give our league $2,000 in funding. New trials can be from members and non-members!


Help JLCU earn $2000 today by signing up through our special link:

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