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Junior League: First Impressions…

October 27, 2011

I mentioned that I joined the Junior League and I’ve had some questions about the “why” and the “what’s it like” and even some of the “ha, sounds like you” type of comments. Which as a non-sorority girl and a girl that transferred out of an all women’s college I was surprised I wanted to join.

I had a lot of the same stereotypes and confusion as to what they did despite having a past-president for a mom. I know she worked hard at it and I know she was in it for the “right” reasons but the Junior League that people see feels different.I even did my Senior Project in high school on the Junior League and worked with them on donating to the domestic violence shelter to help kids who have to leave with no notice. I knew all this and had been around yet I still wasn’t convinced.

I think I thought no one would have jobs, they’d all be married to wealthy men, they’d all have been in sororities and they would all be counting down the days until they’re moms. Obviously this isn’t true.

One of my new good friends just transferred to our league and didn’t know anyone so she told me about the social and bugged me and bugged me and bugged me to at least go to the Member – Guest social this summer and see if I liked it for my self and maybe see if the people were what I thought.

I also really wanted to know about the money- Would I be “buying” my friends? How much of our income was going to go to this “hobby” of mine? Would I be doing the endless t-shirt purchasing for events? Would I just be attending meetings about doing good things in the community without doing any of them?

I’ve only been in the Junior League since  August and I’m in what they call your “Provisional” year. Supposedly this year has more meetings and more requirements to teach you about the league, get you to see and know all the fundraisers, all the committees, and all the community projects. After this year you become “Active” and then down the line when you’re experienced you can go “Sustainer” and basically retire from everything but still be a member.

I would say that my first impressions so far are:

  • The people are NOT what I thought. They are even different then when I observed my mom go through her main active years and through being president.

    The women are very conscious that we are all busy. So far everyone I have met has a job and lots of girls are still single. I have only met a few moms and I’ve seen a few pregnant women but it doesn’t look like Motherhood is a requirement – thank goodness.

  • There are a lot of meetings and a lot of things that aren’t “required” but when I don’t attend them I end up missing conversations that have to do with important things. So I’m not sure how I feel about that.

    There was a “Super Saturday” required for the provisional members that I did not attend. It was required and cost $10 with a lunch after that you also had to buy. And it was a ropes course. No thanks. I had football tickets and hadn’t seen my husband in a couple of weeks – I passed and am now making up my missed day with 2 additional volunteering shifts. Totally worth it.

  • I did my first actual “Volunteering” thing with the league today and I liked it a lot.

    My friend Amanda and I signed up to help mentor at breakfast at the elementary school we have “adopted”. This school has 90% of their students on free meals so with over 270 kids  getting off the bus, moving through the line and eating in 30 minutes they need all the help they can get.  They have it down to a well oiled machine with timers and lines and table assignments… the kids know exactly what to do and they are for the most part well behaved.

    They are PUMPED to see visitors helping though.  Lot’s of “Good Morning!! Are you a visitor!?!?!” haha they were funny.

    Today I didn’t talk to too many kids one on one but I saw how things worked and the kids asked if we’d be back. I said yep and I meant it. It was an early morning since I still made it to work at 8 after doing that this morning but it was a good way to start the day.

Like I said, these are just my first impressions. I’m still learning and next week will be crazy busy with more volunteer shifts to help with one of our big fundraisers and make up for my missed Saturday event but it will be good.  I’m meeting people, I’m out doing stuff that’s good for people other than my self and so far most of what I worried about hasn’t come true :)

Anyone else a “League-er”? Anyone have similar impressions and turn out to be wrong too?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2011 5:12 pm

    I’m a member of Jr League, and I love it! I have met a lot of great friends through JL. Our league is not at all the ‘sorority for grown-ups’ stereotype that a lot of people think. I admit that I had my suspicions in the beginning as well (I’m a non-sorority girl like you), but they were totally unfounded. I love the committee I serve on, and I really enjoy the volunteer activities we get to participate in.

    I’m glad you are enjoying your JL experience so far!

  2. October 27, 2011 11:28 pm

    This is so interesting to me- I’ve always wondered what the Junior League was about, but I’ve never had anyone give me the inside scoop before. I don’t have any personal experience with it and the only time I really found out what it was was when I read The Help, which didn’t shine such a positive light on it. Thanks for insight!

  3. lindsey permalink
    October 28, 2011 9:44 am

    I’ve also had similiar thoughts as you and am happy to hear they are incorrect! I’m in P.E.O., which is a woman’s organization that supports women’s education efforts through scholarship. I love it, but often wish I could do more ‘hands-on’ volunteering.

    I’m proud of you for going out of your comfort zone! Well job, KL!

  4. October 28, 2011 12:41 pm

    I’m in the JL of Chicago and really like it so far (side note – I wasn’t in a sorority in college). This is my second active year- I’m actually co-chairing a committee…scary! It’s true- you do have more to do your “provisional” year. Most of the women I meet are nice, organized, and want to help (there are a couple that aren’t that way). It is sort of expensive, but I do think the volunteering and networking is worth it.

  5. Becky Schneider Dern permalink
    October 28, 2011 12:44 pm

    I’ve thought several times about joining Junior League. I don’t know anyone in Columbus that’s in it though. I have several friends who are in it in other cities, though :)

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