IN THE BEGINNING...
The Windsor Jaycees received their present charter granting them membership in the United States Jaycees in January 1967. The Windsor chapter, like all other Jaycee chapters, is the result of the concern of young people for their community. Under the title of the Junior Chamber Of Commerce and, since 1965, the United States Jaycees, young people have been able to fulfill their desires to be active members of their community and to develop, more fully, their leadership potential.The Windsor Locks Jaycees afforded considerable assistance in obtaining our charter. They came to Windsor, contacted some of our young people, and initiated the idea of a Jaycee chapter in Windsor.
One young person contacted was our first President, Larry Griswold. A job transfer ended the 1967-1968 President Len Dorien's term after only two months, but Larry Griswold filled out the term and sustained the momentum of the initial year.
Leon Reed was at the organization's helm in 1968-1969. During this year the town of Windsor adopted a new housing code which was passed, thanks to the Windsor Jaycees who surveyed the townspeople and reported to the town council that such a code was advisable.
Bob Douglas was our forth President in 1969-1970. That year the chapter reached fourteenth among all Jaycee chapters in the state. Our biggest contribution was the lighting of the Dunham field ice skating rink.
Bill Bean assumed the presidency for 1970-1971 and led the chapter to a 12th place finish in the state. The term saw increased involvement with the recreation department, the start of a speak-up program, and much more youth involvement our membership hit a high of 53.
In 1971-1972 Don Lavoie led the chapter into two major new undertakings, the festival of life and co-sponsorship of the Windsor Shad Derby Festival. The Shad Derby involvement which consisted of management of the parade and green activities brought the chapter new recognition in the Windsor community.
Under the guidance of Bang Williams in the 1972-1973 year, further strengthening of the Jaycee impact on Windsor occurred. Highlighted by Windsor's first July 4th fireworks and the chapter's first public stand on a controversial issue, the Jaycee name gained growing respect. Regular meeting with town officials and an expanded effort on the Festival of Life and Shad Derby manifested a commitment by the chapter to concentrate on major projects and issues and to de-emphasize smaller endeavors.
Bob Morse was our eighth President in 1973-1974. His term saw the acceptance of a bond for the new town library, the formation of the Shad Fest Bureau along with a fine Shad Derby, and a successful second July 4th fireworks display. Once again the chapter had succeeded in distinguishing itself as a prominent service organization assisting the town of Windsor.
Through the enthusiastic leadership of Ed Rudolph, President for the 1974-1975 term, the organization's ranks swelled. Members played a more active role enabling the chapter to expand its activities beyond a third July 4th fireworks display and participation in the Shad Derby. Several first-time events were conducted, such as a Career Night; a clinic concert with Woody Herman and his Orchestra; a Walk-A-Thon which resulted in the collection of several thousand dollars for the March of Dimes; and a week-long carnival, which was, by far the largest single project undertaken to date in terms of cash flow and manpower requirements. During this year the Jaycees along with the Rod and Gun Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Juniors Women's Club formed the ShadFest Bureau Inc. This also marked the first year a Jaycee served as general chairman of the Shad Derby.
Jim McManus succeeded as President in June 1975. During the following twelve months the chapter continued to expand its membership and the variety of its projects. The second Annual Jazz Clinic was held with Stan Kenton and his Orchestra. We sponsored a Special Ed basketball team for the Windsor school system, a project that was a tremendous success. In other areas, we began a park improvement project on the Farmington River, cut our own Christmas trees for the first time, and continued the very successful Shad Derby projects along with the carnival. In response to member interest, a Personal Dynamics course was held twice and a new Chairman's Training course was developed. Windsor became more active in the state Jaycee organization and received several state awards during the year. In the final Parade of Chapters, Windsor finished 23rd out of 105 local organizations. Membership grew from 52 to 68 during the year.
In the bicentennial year of 1976-1977, Bill Chiodo became the chapter's eleventh President. The year was marked with a July 4th fireworks display, the dedication of a Jaycee Memorial to the Windsor Shad Derby near the Farmington River, participation in the town's homecoming and time capsule activities, and a major part in the Swine Flu Inoculation program. Recurring projects such as Career Night, the second Distinguished Citizen Award, the Shad Derby and carnival events, and a leadership role in modification of the Shad Fest Bureau by-laws to admit additional members to the group were all activities in which the chapter took part. The chapter also broke new ground by participating in the Windsor nature trail project. Although membership size remained flat, the members took part in Speak-Up, Personal Dynamics, and Leadership Dynamics. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, the chapter finished 3rd out of 21 north region chapters, 21st out of 105 in the state Parade of Chapters and was awarded a Blue Chip for its excellence throughout the year.
Bob Gange was the chapter's twelfth President in 1977-78. The theme for the year was improving Jaycee spirit and community image. The Fellowship Program was initiated early in the year and included a softball team, improved social functions, and a series of quarterly dinner meetings in addition to regular business meetings. A new booth for both food and Xmas tree sales was purchased. Several new projects were initiated, one of which was Picture with Santa in return for a food bank donation. A cardio-pulmonary resuscitation course was run for both Jaycees and their wives. The highlight of the year was the first annual Alumni Dinner held in January. Over 80 current and former Jaycees attended, including Larry Griswold, the chapter's first President. Recurring projects such as the Golf Tourney, Career Night, Punt, Pass and Kick, Shad Derby, Special Ed Athletics, Special Olympics, Coin and Stamp Show, and the Xmas Tree Sales were also run. The chapter continued its prominence on the state level by winning project and chapter of the month awards for 6 out of the 12 months in the north region.
"Make it happen" was the 1978-1979 theme employed by thirteenth President Mike Zawrotny, and the chapter's members did just that. With member enrollment dropping to 44 due to age and relocation attrition, the 16 new members touted by Vice President Mike Rabbett were put to the immediate task in assisting in the successful completion of 25 community service projects, five fund raisers, and two individual development projects, the most projects ever run by Windsor and unheard of at state level for size of membership. The existing portfolio of projects was augmented by Voter Education, Trip to See the Lights, Halloween Disco, and the Ellsworth Homestead Sidewalk Renovation program. The chapter's Distinguished Citizen Award winner, Doug Savelli, was further honored by being chosen one of the Conn Jaycees' five Outstanding Young Men for the year. In this member-transitional year, Windsor captured two statewide Project of the month awards and several district trophies. Special efforts resulted in the chapter's highest awards being presented to Al Sidney, Jim Bridgeman, and Bill Blake, and accomplishments great rewards were earned by each member who contributed to the year's great success.
Mike Rabbett was the chapter's President in 1979-80. The year was highlighted by 6 new projects. Run, Pass and Score, a soccer derivative of Punt, Pass and Kick, saw 100 kids register in its first year. Over 20 children participated in our Special Ed swimming program, with the final event of the year being a swim meet with 7 other Special Ed schools held at Wethersfield High. The highlight of the year was our Town Council Dinner held during Jaycee week. Over 40 town employees attended the dinner to see john Bernardini, Youth Service Director, receive the Distinguished Citizen Award. Our recipient went on to be selected one of the five outstanding young men in Connecticut. The devastating tornado that struck Windsor Oct 3, 1979, will not be forgotten for a long time. The town, as they have in the past, called on the Jaycees for help and we responded. The Jaycees continued to chair the green and parade activities on Shad Derby Day along with our usual children's rides and our beer booth. The Parade of Chapters found Windsor again in the top 25 percent.
Bill Blake was the 1980-81 President. The year was highlighted by some new and exciting firsts. With the growth of the membership as the main priority, the first "Meet the public on the street" recruitment approach was attempted using a free raffle idea. This, along with a follow-up smoker was very successful in bringing in 12-24 new members. The first "Past Presidents' Dinner" was held with a presentation of a plaque that now hangs in the Windsor house. Some other firsts were the "Halloween Funfest" for children as an alternative to the dangers of trick or treating and a new event was added to the Shad Derby calendar, our first Special Ed fishing Derby. A proud and challenging project came to us when the Windsor fire companies asked us to run a carnival for the annual "State Firemen's Convention. This was a large scale three day event and we won the state Jaycee Project of the Month Award. The annual "Town Council Distinguished Citizen Dinner" was again successful with 86 people honoring Rev. E Hollman / Grace Episcopal Church. The Windsor Jaycee's were the dominant force in providing another excellent Shad Derby enjoyed by 15-20,000 each year.
In 1981-82 Chuck Greenawalt was President. During the year one project was added to an already active year and that was the Spoke Benders Basketball Game. The wheelchair team from Conn played an exhibition game with the New Jersey Blue Devils. The game was attended by 200 spectators, one of the largest crowds ever. John Delnegro and Nils Richardson did a great job. During the year many new programs were run by I.D. V.P. Warren Cardone. Speak Up was offered again with many interesting new speeches. Other programs offered were Financial Planning, Personal Dynamics, Chairman Training, and Wives Appreciation night. Many new members participated in these programs. Community action projects filled the calendar and kept many Jaycees busy during the year. These included Special Ed Swimming, Special Olympics, Run, Pass and Score, Xmas Tree Sales, Picture with Santa, a carnival, Voter Info Fact Sheet, Candidate's Night and the Shad Derby activities.
John Del Negro was the President in 1982-83. The chapter initiated some administrative changes including a shift to monthly meetings, an increased emphasis on dinner meetings, and a change in the meeting place to the Riversedge Restaurant. The planned year contained a full schedule of CD projects including two new projects: Summer Fest '82 for the benefit of the HTFD Easter Seals, and the Oldies Dance for the benefit of the Scholarship Fund. One of the highlights of the year was our Distinguished Service Award / Town Council Dinner ran by Key man Warren Cardone, more than 80 people packed the Riversedge restaurant to pay tribute to our guest of honor Dorothy Barrett. The roosters were eyeball to eyeball when Mike Zawrotny staged a roast for Kaz Skoczylas. Chaired by the Jaycee of the Year, Dave Gardner, we ran Special Ed Swimming, Special Ed Fishing, helped on Special Olympics and Bill Moriarty Special Olympics. This marked the first year Special Olympics were hosted by Windsor. The Shad Derby green activities chaired by Paul Jary ran as smooth as ever while Ted Anderson ran one of the best parades ever. We were able to close the year with the presentation of an Ambassadorship Award to Michael Rabbett in recognition of his dedicated efforts on behalf of the Windsor Jaycees.
The 1983-84 year was one of the most successful to date. While Howard McCormick was President the membership began to grow. Public exposure was enhanced by 2 projects. The DCA dinner was chaired by Ian Rickard and was the most successful to date. The selection of Paula Finstad, as our recipient produced great amounts of publicity and resulted in the largest turnout ever. The second project, a new one, was the Senior Citizen Brunch that all enjoyed. The chapter's involvement with the state Jaycees increased thru efforts of John Kozak. The project of the year was the Tree Sales which was also the state Project of the Month. This project was chaired by one of our new members, Darrell Michalek. Windsor celebrated its 350th anniversary during this year. The Jaycees were advisors for the parade and green activities. The chapter's finances swelled due to the 350th and Tree Sales. The Jaycees purchased a trailer to use at the tree sales and Shad Derby. Through the outstanding projects mentioned above and also Special Ed Swimming, Candidates' Night, Shad Derby and various socials, the year was truly outstanding.
Growth in membership was the theme of the 1984-85 year. Under the leadership of President Paul Jary, twenty new members joined. A group of young enthusiastic people were prepared to guide the chapter in the coming years. With the influx of new members came an increase in attendance. In December we had a very successful joint meeting with the Lions Club. The Tree Sales hit another record high. Under the guidance of Darrell Michalek and John Waters, over $2300 w as made from the sale. Fred Weisher, long active in the little league, was honored as the chapters' Distinguished Citizen. The chapter continued to run its CD projects such as Special Ed Swimming, Picture with Santa and others. Brownfield Award winner, Ken Kohnle, ran a very successful Senior Citizens Brunch. In May came the annual Shad Derby Day. Some rain in the morning impacted the level of activity on the green but the skies cleared in the afternoon in time for the parade and another successful Shad Derby Day.
Warren Cardone served as President in 1985-86. The year will be remembered as a year of transition. Many new members came forward to serve in leadership positions. The year started with a new fund raiser, a Flea Market/Tag sale held at Mountain View Nursing Home. Under the leadership of Ken Kohnle this project got off to a great start. In August, our bowling team, anchored by Paul Jary, captured all the trophies at the MDA Bowl-Athon and contributed $250 to Muscular Dystrophy. In Sept. the chapter entered in the annual Town Raft Race. Although unable to finish the race, the crew was able to win the "Most Traditional Award". Under the leadership of the Jaycee of the Year, Patrick Smith, the Tree Sale was a tremendous success with record setting income. Mike Rabbett was the chairman of a well run DCA / Town Council Dinner. The recipient of the award was Dr. Gordon Taylor, a person long associated with the environment and quality of life issues in the town. The year ended with another busy May which included Special Ed Fishing, Special Olympics and of course Shad Derby. Finally the chapter was honored to present the Ambassador Award to long time member and past President John Del Negro. For the record- the chapter finished 20th in the Parade of Chapters.
The 1986-87 year saw Ken Kohnle take the reins as President. As the youngest President, Ken's plan was to have fun while still serving the community. The year turned into high gear as we hit the midway point with successful projects like Warren Cardone's Candidate's Night and Marty McMahon's Senior Brunch. Under the leadership of Patrick Smith, Jaycee of the Year for the second consecutive year and Kevin Deneen the Tree Sales was the most successful ever. How can we forget the Xmas party at John Kozak's; what a party. Mark Ferriana chaired the DCA / Town Council Dinner, Barry Loucks recipient. Don Trinks ran the Scholarship Dance and with dedication and enthusiasm was the Key Man of the Year. This year the fee structure was changed to eliminate the 15% and raise the basic rate to help recoup the loss of booth space due to the changing of routes 159, 305 & 75. We had no outstanding receivables and gross was a new record for the green. The board established a new program called the Student Council Health Awareness Program.
Ken Jameson became our 21st President in 1987/88. When the Riversedge restaurant changed owners we were without a meeting place. Meetings held before April were held at the Knights of Columbus hall. After April we were able to have meetings at the Windsor House. Windsor was put on the national map by an excellent article in the national Jaycee Magazine about our Shad Derby. We became more active in the state Jaycees, hosting both a regional board meeting and a regional training program. A national ruling changed the ages of Jaycees from 18-35 regular member and 35-40 associate to 21-40 regular members. Our motto for this year was to be "Under budget and on time". This was accomplished and shown directly by our overflowing bank accounts which rose to an all time high. At the same time we ran three new projects for community development; Fred Weisher Clean-up, WILA Driveways and spear headed (along with the town) the House Numbering project. The Distinguished Citizen Award recipients were Hub and Jean Kastner. The Chamber of Commerce put an additional band into our parade at no cost to us. Project of the year was the Shad Derby Green. The size being cut by construction, people being moved and the change in the fee structure were overcome by co-chairman Tim Connelly and Mike Deneen. Key Men of the Year were Patrick Smith and Tim Connelly, while Jaycee of the Year and next President was Kevin Deneen.
1988/89 Jaycee year brought the presidency of Kevin Deneen. The year was marked by many accomplishments, including record setting revenues from the Christmas Tree Sales. The Senior Citizen Brunch and the Special Olympic food booth blossomed this year with the unveiling of the culinary talents of big Andy Zlotnick who presided over the grill at both events. The increased involvement of many members, including Bill "open what pocket?" King foreshadowed the more visible role of the Jaycee's in years to follow. Beer Sales on the green at Shad Derby became an issue, once again. We successfully fought off an attempt to make Shad Derby Day dry, and became more involved with the administration of the day in order to maintain control of the event.
Don Trinks led the 1989/90 Jaycee year. Membership was solid, finances were in order and new projects were being established. The tradition of co-chairman continued with Bill King and Dave Walsh running a successful Xmas Tree Sale to the ultimate project of the Jaycees Shad Derby Green, whose responsibilities were shared by Patrick Smith and Craig Mann. Thanks to the work of Chris Martin, the Jaycee trailer was moved to its final resting place. John Waters once again ran a successful Special Ed Fishing tournament despite construction and heavy rains the night before. Newcomer to the group, Bob Isner took on the Special Olympics food booth as his first project and enjoyed much success. President, Don Trinks was fortunate to have a lot of Jaycee input in running the Shad Derby this year also. Derby co-chairman, Kevin Deneen and Steve Erickson saw to it that there were no problems for any of the service groups who participated. Kevin will long be remembered for his quick response during the Kick Off brunch of the Shad Derby Committee. Our queen candidate, Amita Bhatt, went on to be crowned Shad Derby Queen for 1990/91. This point was certainly the culmination of the Jaycee year.
Stan Gryskiewicz was president in 2004. One of Stan's goals was to make sure that Windsor Jaycee meetings are always held in the town of Windsor. In previous years, the club had met in various establishments, many of which were outside of Windsor. The group committed to keep their meetings in town, and they have been in Windsor ever since. With Joe McAuliffe as our Treasurer, we were able to get a better handle on our financials and optimize our budget for the year. This enabled us to continue projects such as the senior breakfast and coffee stop. Christmas tree sales went very well, with a record year in revenue for the club.
Brian Rouse was President in 2009. Under his guidance, the Jaycees maintained and improved annual events such as the Shad Derby Parade & Green Activities, the Sheila Schmidt Family Fishing Derby, the Chili Challenge Beer Sales and the Christmas Tree Sales. The year was highlighted by a special September 11th Happy Hour at Hooker Brewery in Bloomfield, which well over 100 people attended. The Happy Hour helped promote the Jaycees and developed a new camaraderie within the Jaycees for years to come.