Junior League member Heather Miller, is in her first active year with JLCU and happens to be the assistant chair of Festival Of Trees which is coming up November 17 -19. She moved to Champaign a year and a half ago, but her family has been here for 17 years, so she “came home” in a sense, but is technically new to the area. She spends her daytime hours as the Office Administrator for the local McDonalds franchises, and has 1 dog named Pinkie and 1 cat named Grimace.
She agreed to answer some questions for us about herself and Festival of Trees!
JLCU: When and why did you join JLCU?
Heather: I joined Junior League last year. I was looking to meet people and find a way to get involved with the community. My family (parents and brother) have lived here for about 17 years and while it was great to move close to them I also want to find my own identity and JL has helped me do that!
JLCU: What has it been like planning FOT this year?
Heather: Totally and completely crazy – in a good way! Seriously though, it’s actually been great! Our chair Emily Cross is super organized and very good at giving direction, she has been able to make decisions quickly and easily and any time there is anything at resembles a setback she takes it so well and just problem solves a solution. The board and management team have also been VERY supportive, helping with everything from initial vision to getting donations and general planning. Of course the committee has been amazing. They have worked diligently for the past several months, and they are still giving everything they can in time and energy down to the last minute to make this the best FOT yet in celebration of our 85th year of League in Champaign County. They are amazing and I want all of them on the committee next year with me! I have personally never planned an event at all, much less something to this scale, and to see it all come together and the amazing teamwork that has happened makes me very proud to be a part of it, so I know we will have successful event!
JLCU: What aspect of FOT are you most looking forward to this year?
Heather: EVERY.SINGLE.MOMENT! Truth-telling time though … I have never been to the Daddy Daughter Dance or Breakfast with Santa, so I’m really excited to be at those specific events because I keep hearing they are so special for families to attend together! I really can’t wait just to see people at the public hours as well, enjoying the start of the holiday season amidst all the trees and decorations. We are going to have over 85 trees and wreaths and donated items, I can’t wait to see people walking around looking at our little winter wonderland. Overall, I’m excited to see the kids excited about and enjoying the displays with their parents.
JLCU: What are your JLCU plans after FOT is over this year?
Heather: This is going to sound crazy, but …start planning for Festival of Trees for next year (<3 ❤ <3)! As the assistant chair this year, I will be chair next year, and I couldn’t be more excited to keep the momentum going from this year! So, we want to start planning right away based on the aspects that go really well, and the areas we can keep improving. In short, I’m going to be full-time Festival-of-Trees-Champion until this time next year!
JLCU: Any advice for next year’s new FOT committee members?
#1. This committee is a lot of work but it’s all fun work! I love the holiday season and getting to prep for that year round with a group of awesome women in order to support amazing organizations within our community… I call that a win.win.win!
#2. I think it’s important to remember that we are a committee and not just one person so at no time are you alone! We are here to support, help, grow, teach, and learn from each other, which is truly what Junior League is all about – women supporting and empowering other women!