HISTORY OF THE SIOUX FALLS JAYCEES
Since 1935, the city of Sioux Falls has benefited greatly from the efforts and commitments of the Sioux Falls Jaycees. Many programs offered today are the direct result of the Jaycees' desire to improve our community by seeing a need and employing the means necessary to provide a solution to these problems.
Early Years 1935-1949
- Began Sioux Falls Safety Council
- Joined the Outstanding Young Men of America
- Instrumental in getting the Sioux Falls Regional Airport Built
- Organized the Parks & Recreation Council
- Initiated what is now known as the Civil Air Patrol
- Built Dennis the Menace Park
- Supported the development of the Boys Club Program
- Started Jaycees Camp for the Handicapped
- The City of Sioux Falls honored the Jaycees by naming the street by the airport Jaycee Lane.
- Developed the Girls Club program
- The first haunted house opened in 1974 inside of the George Abbott house at 415 S. Minnesota Ave
- Women voted in as members
- Eligible age changed to 21-39 years of age
- Participated in GreenWorks! Environmental Education
- Conducted Jaycees Against Youth Smoking (JAYS) campaign
- Supported Junior Chamber Mission Inn
- Conducted KidCare ID
- The Jaycees Haunted House moves to the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds
- Established Support Our Troops Program
- Eligible age changed to 18-40 years of age
- Holiday Gifts for Kids project established 2010
- The haunted house rebranded as the Jaycees Feargrounds in 2019
THE FOUNDING OF THE JAYCEES
Henry Giessenbier founded the Jaycees in 1920 with 3,000 members in St. Louis, Missouri. It was Henry’s vision to provide young people with opportunities which they had little or no access to otherwise attain. He believed that young people could change the world. He was right.
Henry felt that in order for young people to improve their prospects for social and career advancements they would first have to join forces socially. This progressive attitude, that young people can make a difference, became the hallmark of the Junior Chamber (Jaycees).