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The Birth of Junior Chamber
The very next year, 1916, saw another change of name as the YMPCA became Junior Citizens, commonly called JCs, which later became Jaycees. The year 1918 marked another change as the JCs were affiliated with the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce and officially became the St. Louis Junior Chamber of Commerce. After WWI, Giessenbier contacted other cities in the United State with similar young businessmen’s groups, and subsequently, 29 clubs from around the nation formed the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. Henry Giessenbier was elected the first President of the national organization.
Junior Chamber, Concept and History
The origin of Junior Chamber can be traced as far back as 1910 to the city of St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States of America. A young man named Henry Giessenbier and his friends formed the Herculaneum Dance Club with the main objective being the preservation of the dance styles. Five years later, in 1915, Col. H. N. Morgan, a prominent St. Louis citizen, inspired the members of the dance club to become more involved in civic issues. Giessenbier and 32 other young men formed the Young Men’s Progressive Civic Association (YMPCA) on October 13, 1915. This organization grew to a membership of 750 in less than five months.
Crossing the Atlantic
The international chapter of the organization began in 1932 with the Winnipeg Board of Trade becoming the first Junior Chamber outside of the United States. By 1928, the idea of an international body crossed the Atlantic Ocean to England. In 1940 a resolution was passed by the United States Junior Chamber approving a program to further mutual interest among countries in Central and South America. This led to the establishment of Junior Chambers in Mexico City, Guatemala City, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama City in 1943. The realization of Junior Chamber International had begun. In 1944 the first international conference was held in Mexico City. Raul Garcia Vidal of Mexico was elected the first President. The countries which formed Junior Chamber International were: C osta Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and the United States.
First World Congress
Two years later, in February of 1946, the first Congress was held in Panama City. This congress was attended by 44 delegates from 16 different countries. The international organization was approved, and the word “Commerce” was omitted from the official name.

Erasmo Chambonnet of Panama was elected the second JCI President at that Congress, and Australia and Canada were officially affiliated.

In 1948, the JCI Creed was officially adopted at the 4th JCI World Congress in Rio de Janeiro, and in 1952, a permanent Secretariat was established. In 1972, the name was changed to Jaycees International, however, in 1988, the name was changed back to Junior Chamber International.
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