How to Attend a Jaycees National Convention
Originally Titled: "So You’re a First Timer!"
by Kevin J. Rice
1997 Iowa ONTO Chairman
So: You’re a First-Timer! Congratulations! As you will
figure out, national convention can be the highlight of an entire Jaycee
Year. Make the most of it! Since this is the first time this
program has been run at a National Convention, we’re starting a tradition
here. You’re making history!
Please remember, this is NOT an “official” document - this is for “Educational
and Recreational Use Only! Use at your own risk!”
Traditions, Rules, and Suggestions
Training Sessions List from 1996 Convention
What to Bring
The convention starts on Sunday afternoon and concludes very, very, very
late on Thursday. Don’t even think about working on Friday!
See also: “Bedtimes” and “Lunches”.
Weekend before: PRIME and EXCEL training (You missed ‘em! Catch
‘em next time!)
Sunday afternoon/evening: The “Welcome to Iowa” party.
Monday Morning: First Timer’s Session (U R Here)! Opening
session, with Important Dude’s Speech (past speeches by Newt Gingrich,
and Ross Perot).
Monday Morning and Afternoon: Awards Ceremonies (+-40% of them,
Monday Night: Get Acquainted party. Walk up to lots of people
and say “Howdy, I’m Jo Blow from Grand Keokuk, Nevada, and I’m damngladtameetcha!“
It’s dinner, dancing, and music. Afterwards, go back to a hotel with
an interesting group and hang out until way too late.
Tuesday Morning: Awards ceremonies.
Tuesday Afternoon: Candidates’ nominations. All of the
Vice President candidates have supporters give nominating speeches so you
can decide who to vote for.
Tuesday Night: States Party! (see “States Party”)
Wednesday Morning: Elections. We vote on Bylaw changes
Wednesday Afternoon: Presidential elections. Elect your
President! (“Official Stuff”).
Wednesday Dinner: Dinner together as a state. Location,
time, etc. posted at your ONTO hospitality suite. This may require
reservations; as your ONTO chair.
Wednesday night: Parties abound. Find one.
Thursday, all daytime: Training! (see “Training”)(Do
it! It’s Way-Cool! It’s Free!)
Thursday evening (5 pm-ish): Closing Ceremonies. Eat
before you go, in the past it’s ended near midnight. The Best State
Organization and Marx awards (see “Awards”) are given, then the inauguration
of the new president and NVPs. DRESS FORMAL: Deck yourself
out, everyone else will.
Thursday night: A dance follows the ceremony. The Charlie
Daniels Band in ‘95 and The Fundamentals in ‘96 mean good music, but many,
many other parties abound. Find one. Don’t bother with bed
- stay up and party.
Friday: Travel Day. Leave as early as you want.
Suggestion: Pay your bill early - before Friday - you can leave more
Traditions, Rules, and Suggestions
WHAT GOES ON AT CONVENTION STAYS AT CONVENTION. Don’t break this
You represent your state; do it well.
Allow people to change their personalities. Respect them for it.
Remember rule number 1
Ticket Packet: Don’t lose this packet! You must
re-register ($139) to replace it!
Lunches: Voucher tickets ($5) in your Ticket Packet are good
at any restaurant in the designated area (follow the crowd). Hot
tip: if you only want $3.25 worth of food, buy a cookie for later.
Hotel Costs: Officially, you can only have 5 people per room
(by Iowa Law).
Overall costs: The major costs are, approximately: (1)
hotel $90*5days/4ppl=$125, (2) registration incl. convention cost, hospitality,
T shirts, pins: $175 (4) air-fare/transportation (varies by location in
U.S., $250 average?) (5) misc. food and stuff, probably $50.
Hospitality Suites: Each state has one for their own delegates.
Visiting is encouraged, but ask as you enter, and let them offer you a
beverage, don’t demand one. People remember you by what state you
come from, and states’ relations are far more important than they might
at first appear.
Hotel rules: They know we’re coming - does it mean anything?
Probably not. If your hotel is picky about noise, tell your ONTO
chair, chapter pres., or party at another hotel. Treat staff nicely
- if they kick you out, whereyagonnabe? If you feel an urge to do
something wacky, start a game of strip-“Twister” or go outside for your
primal scream therapy (presuming you have a voice left).
Party Ettiquite: (1) Rowdy is cool but know the limit. (2)
Don’t Yack on the rug. (3) No bellowing down hallways.
(4) Remember Tailhook - conventioneers can get in trouble years later.
Hangover Prevention: 80% of the pain is dehydration; prevent
it by drinking water when you’re not drinking otherwise. The rest
of the pain is toxins and liver damage; take a vitamin and an aspirin.
Parties: Find an interesting group and hang out until way
too late. Other states’ hospitality rooms (even in other Hotels)
are great, besides the actual dances and open parties.
Bedtimes: 3 am is typical. It’s late enough to catch
most everything, but you can still grab 4 hours sleep (most people can’t
function for several days straight with less). Pace yourself so you
can still dance and talk coherently on Thursday night! Nodding off
on the convention floor is “allowed” but bring a hat so people don’t take
silly pictures of you.
Awards: Check your state’s hospitality room bulletin board
for who’s nominated. Yeah, some people might say that awards ceremonies
are boring. They might actually be boring. I don’t know.
I’ve always been too distracted having fun cheering for people to notice
if I was bored.
Awards Ceremonies: People you know, your state, or YOU might win
an award. If so, you can run amuck, yell, and/or run up on stage
to shake hands with The Big Guy; wandering around talking to people from
other states (quietly, of course); Catch the excitement of winning a National
award so you can go do super-cool, change-the-world stuff back home (also:
Your Voice: Save it if you can. Remember: if you lose
your voice, you can’t go up to that fabulous-looking babe or dude at the
States Party and talk to them.
Your Ears: Indiana always brings basketball whistles.
These cause actual permanent hearing loss at close range, but it’s their
tradition. Those with sensitive ears WILL want to give them space.
Indiana: Please respect our hearing inside!
States Party: Each state’s booth advertises their state’s
best features. Free gifts, food, and drinks abound. Go around
the hall once and get the free stuff, then go around again to talk and
schmooze. Some traditions include: Iowa has pork burgers, Texas
has Rattlesnake Chili (with real rattlesnake meat in it), South Carolina
has condoms, Kentucky has some Blue Liquid that’s good but highly alcoholic,
Hawaii has leis, Florida has something Orange, etc.
Trading Stuff: Bring T-shirts with your chapter’s name on
them, and trade for other chapter’s shirts. The best t-shirts are
the state’s shirts: Indiana’s Referee, Oklahoma’s Indian, Florida’s Orange,
Hawaii’s Hawaiian, etc. Pins are always popular trading items, so
buy 2 sets (4 pins) from your own state so you have something to trade.
Montana always has beautiful hand-painted cowboy hats. The going
rate for a Montana hat is about 15 t-shirts (they’re in high demand).
Official Stuff: Conventions decide big issues (see “Bylaw
Changes” and “Candidates”). On Monday and Tuesday evenings, meet
as a state (‘caucus’) to hear the candidates and discuss how our state
will vote. It’s important that you, the delegate, hear the issues
and decide stuff. Really, it’s an ID project of leadership training
Bylaw changes: In 1996 these were (1) lower Jaycee age to
19 (defeated by a large margin, as it was in 1995), (2) allow National
HQ to accept applications for membership over the 1-800-JAYCEES phone number
(defeated), (3) allow a 3-year membership (defeated). Several Bylaw
wording changes were passed.
Candidates: NVP candidates you can meet ahead of time, and
presidential candidates have hospitality suites of their own - visit ‘em
and say ‘Howdy’.
Business Cards: Bring lots or have some printed up (about
$20 for 200). Jaycee ones are great for recruiting at home, and lots
of people exchange them.
Delegates: you are one.
NVP: National Vice President. There are 12 of them,
each one assigned to several states.
USJCC: United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (the national
organization’s official name).
JCI: Junior Chamber International. JCI is the International
Jaycees organization ($1.50 of your dues goes to them). Their convention
is in Pusan, South Korea in ‘97. JCI’s ambassador to USJCC is an
important dude - do two things: (1) stand and clap when they introduce
him, and (2) go up and meet the guy if possible. The world is a big
place and the U.S., despite it’s size, influence, and the number of aircraft
carriers and Walmarts we have, is actually rather small in the scheme of
ONTO: The state program coordinating people going to national
convention. The word has no meaning besides, “Iowa is going ONTO
the National Convention.” Devise your own meaning if you wish - if
I hear a good one I’ll repeat it.
Forum: training session.
METRO: About 30 of the largest U.S. chapters form this organization.
Large chapters face different challenges and cooperating helps.
Training Sessions (from 1996)
State President’s training. Obvious.
International Affairs training. Want to do an extension or
chapter twin to Eastern Europe? Find out how easy it is. Most people
there actually speak english, too! Twinning means you exchange ideas,
CPGs, whatever, with no committments, but many opportunities. Who
knows - maybe you’ll get a free trip out of it someday!
Chapter Managment Fundamentals training. You’re a VP, President,
director, or program manager? Want to talk to some of the most interesting
people in the U.S. and find out how they do things? Stealing ideas
IS allowed! Past managers come in and give ideas that have worked
but may have been forgotten. EXAMPLE: Ever thought of a Celebrity
Co-Chair for an event (does no work but people go ‘cuz they think they’ll
see the famous person)? Call somebody famous and invite them.
It’s an ego boost for the Celeb and great for you, too. That’s the kind
of idea you’ll find at this kind of a forum.
Internet training: In 1996, we learned how to set up a World
Wide Web site - it’s that easy! Want to set one up for your chapter?
Either pay $35 an hour to a computer consultant or come to this training
in 1997. There ARE ways to make a website revenue neutral - businesses
will pay YOU to list them on your site, offsetting all other costs, with
a quite minimal time investment (the businesses don’t know that!).
METRO training: (see the glossary under “Metro”) This
is for large chapters to get together to exchange the most successful ways
to manage things. It’s both an ideas and organizational session,
one of two meetings a year (the other is a weekender convention called
METNET - 1997’s is in Baton Rouge, LA). If you’re in a large chapter,
you’re probably a METRO member, and you’re welcome to attend.
Pathways to Success: Ever hear of Tony Robbins? Know
what a motivational speaker is? They’ve been repeating the same stuff
for years - that there IS a way to make everything in your life a successful
venture. Don’t think of this as Success training - think of it as
anti-frustration training. Simple principles translate dreams to reality,
and bingo! you’re a success. I did this training and had a great
time, and it was quite worthwhile.
Team Building training: didn’t go, don’t know.
Governmental Involvemnt training: didn’t go, don’t know.
Dynamic Communication Skills training: didn’t go, don’t know.
On-To training. If you’re the ONTO chair for your state for
the next year, or on their committee, go. Otherwise, it’s not going
to be interesting at all.
PRIME and EXCEL training. GO if at all possible! See
below for what these are, or ask any senator or VP and they’ll tell you
how way-cool these are:
PRIME training: teaching skills workshop. PRIME is widely
known as a “Do this if you possibly can” opportunity. In corporate
life this costs $500 to $1000. There’s no time for boring dudes -
this is pumped up, practical stuff you can use the minute you get back.
You’ve missed it at this convention; get it at the next chance.
EXCEL training: training to become a PRIME trainer. This is
the advanced course, after you’ve had PRIME training and done 50 hours
of independent training back at home, then you take EXCEL and become the
What to Bring
Clothes. You’ll get arrested for walkin’ around “nekkid”.
Other personal items like the standard bathroom kit, etc.
Shirt(s) from your own state, to wear on specific days.
Formal / Semi-formal dress clothes (if you own a tux or gown, bring it).
LOTS of business cards. Carry some with you at all times.
Camera (disposable?), sunglasses
Pins to trade
Other t-shirts to trade (a popular activity)
Aspirin and Vitamins (hangover or sleep-deprivation cures)
Guidelines for clothes:
Iron, spray starch
Game of Twister, cards
Earplugs, baseball hat (see “Bedtimes”)
Pen and Paper
Misc. items can be found at Walgreens on the Skywalk near the Kaleidescope.
Dress a bit more formally than you think will be necessary.
Like Mom says, always bring more underwear than you need.
Younkers is a department store on the Skywalk in case you need more socks,
Prepare for both ultra-hot weather and cool weather, although the Des Moines
skywalk system, convention center and hotels are all air-conditioned.
Copyright (c) 1997 by Kevin J. Rice. All rights reserved. Permission to Copy
this page freely is given if a link to my home page is provided: http://www.JustAnyone.Com
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