Junior League of Omaha Celebrates 100 Years

The 100th anniversary of the Junior League of Omaha is upon us, and the League has planned two events to mark this special occasion. The 100th Anniversary Celebratory Luncheon was held on March 15, at the Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District, and the 100th Anniversary Annual Meeting & Cocktail Reception will be on May 3, at the Joslyn Art Museum. These two events are truly “A Celebration of the Junior League of Omaha’s Past, Present and Future.”

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Bethany Banister and Patricia Stillmock are the co-chairs of the 100th Anniversary committee, and they have been creating and executing the plans that surround the festivities for nearly three years. When asked how the history of the League influenced their preparations, they responded, “The team of historians and our committee did an amazing job looking into the history of the League, and it inspired all aspects of our planning.” The Joslyn Art Museum, for example, not only has historical connections to the Junior League, but the architecture of the building dates back to around the same time as the Junior League of Omaha’s establishment.

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A great deal of time has been spent on making the 100th anniversary celebrations special, and this includes research into the past, as well as interviews with Sustainers and past members of the League. In addition to studying the records at Junior League of Omaha headquarters, the committee has worked with the Omaha World-Herald, the Durham Museum, and the Douglas County Historical Society to locate anecdotes, photos, and stories from the past. Sustainers have been generous with sharing their archives, and Banister and Stillmock agreed that these interactions have been “the most fun and rewarding part of this journey.”

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Highlights from the luncheon include guest speaker, Yesterday’s Lady, Sue McLain, who shared the history of the little black dress. A ten thousand dollar gift was made to The Rose Theater, an organization with whom the Junior League of Omaha has a strong history. And lastly, the anniversary video debuted an interview with the oldest living Junior League of Omaha Past President, who also attended the event!

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As we enjoy these special events, we remember the theme: A Celebration of the Junior League of Omaha’s Past, Present and Future. Bethany and Patricia hope that the “League continues to be a strong organization that teaches women how to be great volunteers while making great friendships.”  

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New Learning and Networking through Junior League Training Opportunities

The Junior League Training Committee is halfway through their 2018/2019 event calendar, but far from finished with offering exciting trainings. I recently sat down with Training Chair, Mary Burnett, to recap the events held in the fall and see what exciting events they have coming this spring.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the Training Committee and the committee’s role in the Junior League?

A: I always go back to the fact that the Junior League is first and foremost a training organization. We like to offer a combination of events that are focused on training women to be leaders in professional and volunteering roles, as well as trainings that offer a chance for League members to learn a fun new skill and network with other League women. This year we’ve already held trainings on financial acumen, parliamentary procedure, Google Drive, CPR/First Aid, cooking classes, mending clothes, and decorating ornaments with kids!

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Parliamentary Procedure training prepared these leaders for future meetings.

Q: How do you and your committee members come up with the types of training events offered? How many do you try to schedule in a year?

A: We use recommendations from multiple sources. We look at annual survey results, talk with League membership, and at the January General Membership Meeting we actually did live polling to help pick some events to plan for the spring. Since our committee has grown, we try to have each coordinator plan one or two events. This year we will have completed twelve trainings by May!

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League members sharpen skills.

Q: What events do you have coming up this spring that you’d like our membership to be aware of?

A: We are super excited about the events this spring. Our big finale is going to be our “Margaritas and Mulligans” event on May 19. This will include a mini golf training and then a sign-up for a Nine-Hole Scramble. We are opening up this training to Sustainers as well. Also based on the live polling from the January General Membership Meeting, we are going to do a training on wine (that was by far the most popular choice) and meditation. “Meditation and Mimosas” will be held on March 8 and March 23. Mark your calendars! We also have one more event that we will plan for April that is TBD! So keep your eyes posted on the Hot Sheet and Facebook for updates.

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Growing financially savvy through Women’s Finance Training.

Recruitment for next year’s New Member group begins in February. For more information about joining the Junior League of Omaha, visit https://www.jlomaha.org/join-us/.  

JLO Past Presidents & Sustainers Luncheon

The Junior League of Omaha Foundation hosted the annual Past Presidents and Sustainer Luncheon on a beautiful October day at Champions Run. Kathy Martin, Junior League of Omaha Foundation Board President, welcomed a large group to the luncheon, introducing past Junior League of Omaha Presidents and past Foundation Presidents. Current Junior League of Omaha President Lindsey Tonniges updated the Sustainers on the exciting projects with which the League is currently involved.

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The 100th Anniversary Co-Chairs, Patricia Stillmock and Bethany Bannister, spoke on the upcoming events for the centennial celebration of the Junior League of Omaha in 2019.  Foundation President Kathy Martin shared, “All the Sustainers are looking forward to attending the March 15th luncheon celebrating our 100th anniversary!” In addition, the Junior League of Omaha Cookbook Co-Chairs, Ashley Rich and Jamie Schneider, were there to promote A Century of Serving: A Centennial Celebration Cookbook.

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For more information regarding the Junior League of Omaha, visit the website at www.jlomaha.org. Learn more about the Junior League of Omaha Foundation at https://www.jlomaha.org/foundation/. To order a personal copy of A Century of Serving: A Centennial Celebration Cookbook, visit https://www.jlomaha.org/cookbook.

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Town Hall Forums: Conversation & Collaboration

This fall Junior League of Omaha members had the exciting opportunity to participate in town hall forums that sought to both educate members on the new community impact focus areas and gather feedback regarding membership engagement. Approximately 130 Junior League of Omaha members attended, and almost 50 shared feedback through surveys!

The Community Research and Development Committee and President-Elect-Elect Katie Triplett, on behalf of the Membership Engagement Ad Hoc Committee, organized these meetings for Junior League of Omaha members as a way to engage in powerful conversations about League experiences and shared visions for the future. According to President-Elect-Elect Katie Triplett, “members really are excited about building a more diverse and inclusive League experience. JLO leadership is committed to participating in AJLI’s Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives, so we are excited our membership is already supportive of these efforts.”

In January, League members will be voting on one of three areas in which to focus future Junior League of Omaha programs: Disenfranchised Youth; Hunger and Access to Healthy Foods; or Abuse in Women and Children. Additionally, the Membership Engagement Ad Hoc Committee’s focus is to ensure that the Junior League of Omaha continues to attract and retain members by providing enriching opportunities. With such significant topics of interest, it was the perfect time to coordinate conversations and seek feedback from the many perspectives shared by the membership.

As a result of the conversations, questions, and suggestions garnered by the town hall forums, the Membership Engagement Ad Hoc Committee will present a report to the Board, which will feature current information on where the League stands, as well as recommendations from other Leagues and from AJLI. Specific ideas and concepts to bear in mind while planning for the 2019-2020 year will also be included.

The town hall forums have provided a wonderful way for League members to meet and engage with other League members in a smaller setting. President-Elect-Elect Katie Triplett stated, “I’m so appreciative so many of our members joined us for these forums and shared so candidly! In addition to receiving great details about how to make League membership even more amazing, we also had an opportunity to meet and visit with members we hadn’t met before. Members also shared with me how much they liked the forums – we are going to try to work these town hall forums into future years! We want to ensure the Junior League of Omaha stays transparent, relevant, and influential for years to come!”

Recruitment for next year’s New Member group begins in February. For more information about joining the Junior League of Omaha, visit https://www.jlomaha.org/join-us/.  

“JLO Class of the Century” Welcomes 86 New Members

The New Members kicked off their League year with their first meeting on Aug. 28 at Security National Bank, where the women got to know their core groups and learned about their upcoming year.

September’s New Member Meeting focused on Community Impact. The women enjoyed a football and fall theme with beer and pizza.

The Communications Council presented at the October New Member Meeting with a Halloween theme.

November activities included a social at the Makery and meeting at The Mattress Factory. New Members learned more about the 100th Year Anniversary Celebration and guest Marian Andersen shared her volunteerism background with the New Member Class.

Additionally so far this League year, New Members celebrated and acknowledged the significance of their membership class, complete with a hashtag they chose (#JLOClassOfTheCentury) and a special class logo.

New Member Committee Chair Megan Horn focused on creating a theme and tone of building League relationships and sharing the experiences and community impact opportunities available. The committee has revised the format of the meetings and focused more on providing experiences and helping build connections.

Recruitment for next year’s New Member group begins in February. For more information about joining the Junior League of Omaha, visit https://www.jlomaha.org/join-us/.

The Scoop on Mentorship

As the Mentorship Program enters into its sixth year, Chair Kayla Petersen and Vice-Chair, Lakelyn Hogan, are excited to give you the scoop on what is in store for the 2018-2019 League year!

The Mentorship Program was created to provide an opportunity for League members to connect with each other on a more personal level. Mentors and mentees are matched based on their mentorship application, where they indicate what they hope to gain from taking part in the Mentorship Program. For some, they join purely to make new friends. For others, they have a goal of networking or learning more about the Junior League of Omaha.

Mentorship matches have traditionally met in October but this year, the program is kicking off earlier in June 2018. Below, Kayla and Lakelyn share the details on the changes and what you can expect for the next League year.

9_succulant groupThe Mentorship Program hosted their 2017-2018 kick-off event at The Makery with a succulent bar activity.

Q: When will the Mentorship Program start and why did it change?

Kayla: The outgoing Chair, Sammi Kaiser, and I made the decision to move up the start of the Mentorship Program for several reasons. We have typically kicked things off in October after the start of the League year. However, we felt that this did not allow mentorship matches enough time to connect and develop a relationship due to the holidays and the business of people’s League placements.

We decided that a start in June would offer matches more time to form friendships and more opportunities to connect throughout the year. Also, summer months are typically a slower time for many people in the League. Matches will hopefully be able to take advantage of the summertime to foster their new mentorship relationships.

Q: What are some of the top reasons people join the Mentorship Program?

Kayla: In the past when we have surveyed participants on what they hope to get out of their mentorship experience, overwhelmingly the response is always to make new friends and meet more people in the League. Most people who join are simply looking to create more touch points and opportunities to interact with League members. Some of the other top responses from our surveys include looking for someone who can answer League questions and provide League guidance. Occasionally we also get requests for someone with a similar career who can provide mentorship on how to advance within a particular field.  

IMG_0907Lakelyn and her mentee Allison Kousaie enjoying happy hour at Timber in Countryside Village.

Q: Do you have to know a lot about Junior League to be a mentor?

Lakelyn: You certainly do not have to be an expert on the Junior League to be a mentor.  Even after being in the Junior League for over five years, I still don’t know all of the answers. I try my best to share my experiences in the various placements I have had during my time in the League. If my mentee ever had questions that I couldn’t answer, I would help them find the answer and we both learned together. Even being a second or third year active, simply sharing your experience with your mentee can be a powerful way to provide mentorship.

Q: Who is eligible to be a mentee?

Kayla: As long as you are an active member of the Junior League of Omaha, you can be a mentee. Typically, first and second-year actives are mentees. However, second-year actives can still apply for a mentee role if they feel strongly about it. New members already have a lot on their plate and have a whole committee that mentors them through their New Member year. Once those New Members become actives, it is a great time to join the Mentorship Program so you can continue to build friendships within the League.

Lauren AndersonMentor Lauren Anderson and her two mentees Michelle Pernicek and Lauren Weber at the Olympic curling trials.

Q: What kinds of activities do matches do together?

Lakelyn: The sky’s the limit when it comes to mentor and mentee activities. One year, I had two mentees and we met every other month for lunch at Flagship Commons. This year, I have had happy hour with my mentee and we even had a puppy play date so I could meet her new pup! I have heard of other matches going to sporting events together, taking on the Escape Room challenge, meeting for coffee, crafting together and so much more. As a match, you get to decide what interests you both and have fun during your time together.

IMG_7540The spring Mentorship Program event was hosted at Whisk and Measure, where matches took part in a cookie decorating tutorial.

Q: Are there group Mentorship Program activities?

Kayla: Yes! The first group activity is a kick-off event at in June where we will reveal the mentor/mentee matches. Our goal is to plan the event around an activity where participants can learn something new while having an opportunity to socialize with their match and other participants in the Mentorship Program.

We highly encourage everyone to attend the kick-off so every mentee has an opportunity to meet face-to-face with their mentor. We also plan a wrap-up event at the end of the year to conclude the Mentorship Program. This year we are hoping to provide a few additional opportunities for mentorship participants to get together. This will give people a chance, not only connect with their match, but also allow for more connections to be formed within the Mentorship Program.

Q: How can I sign up to take part in the Mentorship Program?

Kayla: We want everyone who is interested to fill out the Mentorship Program Application. It will only take you 5 minutes or less. Applications for the 2018-2019 league year are due May 28th. 2018. Then, Lakelyn and I will meet to pair our mentor and mentees together. We will email mentorship participants with more information on the kick-off event which will be taking place in June of 2018.  

Kayla and Lakelyn hope you will consider joining the Mentorship Program and they look forward to making many mentorship matches in June!

If you have questions, please email mentorship@jlomaha.org.  

What’s to Gain from New Member Year?

As we “spring” into the final months of the 2017-2018 League year, the Junior League of Omaha New Members reflect on their experience so far.

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Back in August 2017, a group of 74 New Members came together to start their Junior League year. Since then, they have formed friendships, learned the inner workings of the Junior League and gained exposure to various organizations in the Omaha community.

In talking with several of the New Members about their New Member year, we learned that there is a lot that they have gained in such a short period of time. Here are some of the highlights:

My New Member year…

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Opened My Eyes to All the League Does

“The best part of my New Member year has definitely been learning more about what the league does and how we help the community. I had no idea that the programs we launch are then sent out to be run by other community organizations!” – Lauren Harlow Fischer

Increased My Community Involvement

“I joined the Junior League of Omaha to take the next step in my community involvement.  The best part about my New Member year is learning about all the different charities and organizations that the Junior League of Omaha impacts. It is truly amazing to know we are the difference makers within our greater community.” -Maggie McGlade-Palmer

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Helped Me Connect in a New City

“I joined Junior League as a way to meet new people since I’m not from the area. I moved here almost three years ago and was focusing on getting settled in our new home and my new job. I realized it was time to start connecting with other women who are interested in serving the community. I had been a provisional member in the Junior League of Memphis where I’m from and knew that it was a great way to be involved and make new friends!” -Lauren Harlow Fischer

“I am relatively new to Omaha, so I thought Junior League would give me the opportunity to meet new people and get connected to the community.” -Mo Marmesh

Gave Me the Opportunity to Give Back

“I joined the Junior League to give back to my community.  I had not done a lot of community service after coming back to Omaha.  It is the perfect combination of new friendships, community service, and professional development.” – Jess Winter

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Allowed Me to Meet Like-Minded Women

“The best part so far has been seeing the incredible potential of so many young women in Omaha. Each New Member I’ve met has something unique to offer and they’re all so willing to share their time and resources to make others’ lives better. It’s really inspiring!” – Natalie Ellis

“The reason I joined the Junior League was to make connections and friendships with other motivated and philanthropically-minded women.” – Elizabeth Kraemer

Helped Me to Discover New Interests

“In my New Member year, I have found new interests and hidden passions. The most memorable thing I have learned are all the awesome things the League does. I had no idea of the impact!” -Jess Winter

We also asked the New Members what they are most looking forward to in their first active year, this is what they had to say:

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“I’m looking forward to really plugging into a smaller group that meets consistently to work towards a goal. I hope to bring my own skills to my placement and to garner some new ones from other other women in the group.” -Natalie Ellis

“I look forward to finding my roots during my first active year and finding my passion within the League. Right now I am enjoying the education I receive on the various aspects but I am ready to jump start my ability to make a difference.” -Maggie McGlade-Palmer

“I look forward to being a part of a committee and working on a project or event. I think working towards a common goal will be a great way to get to know some more of the Junior League ladies and feel more connected to the organization’s impact on the community.” – Mo Marmesh

“I’m looking forward to getting to the point of recognizing more faces and developing closer relationships.  And figuring out my first placement where I can really make an impact!” – Elizabeth Kraemer

We are so excited to have the New Member class of 2017-2018 officially join as actives in May at our Annual meeting. Congratulations New Member and cheers to all you will accomplish in the League in the coming years!

If you are considering joining the Junior League, we are now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 New Member year. Please plan to attend one of the following a New Member information sessions to learn more!

New Member Information Sessions:

  • April 26, 2018
  • May 10, 2018

New Member information sessions will take place at Junior League of Omaha headquarters (12135 Pacific St, Omaha, Nebraska 68154) from 6:00-7:30 PM.

If you have questions, please reach out to Megan McFarlin at 402.740.1396 or join@jlomaha.org. You can also learn more about the Junior League of Omaha at www.jlomaha.org.

 

All That Glitters Is the (Newly Redesigned) Column

Allison Hardy  the Column co-editor

Ladies, I’m conducting a poll. Who here keeps glitter around in their homes? While I haven’t touched the stuff since elementary school, I recently learned that glitter is a staple at the homes of League members Sara Huse, Katie Triplett and Jennifer Peters. I also learned that it’s quite difficult to photograph.

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To introduce some major (read: incredible) changes we’ve made to to the League’s magazine, we, the editorial staff of the Column, thought it would be fun to do a fall photo shoot with our incredibly talented Social Media Coordinator, Jillian Humphries. For the finale, we thought we’d throw some red glitter up in the air and would get some great shots of it sparkling in the September sunshine. Long story short: what we got, in addition to these shots, was glitter everywhere – eyes, hair and covering our bodies. I’m quite sure my pillow is still sparkling.

When you try something new, you take risks with the hope that they are outweighed by the reward. This year’s Communications Committee, headed by our fearless, visionary leaders Communication Committee Chair Katie Triplett and Vice Chair Jennifer Peters, and armed with our ambitious Graphic Designer Sara Huse, decided to take the plunge to provide you, our readers of the Column, with a fresh new look. To that end, we’ve moved the Column to a full color, 20-page, magazine-like publication to keep you updated with what’s happening in the League. We’re putting a new spin on stories to make them more engaging and are including more attention-grabbing photos and infographics.

While it’s not entirely clear if our glitter photoshoot passed the risk-reward test (but hey, we had fun), we think you’ll agree that the redesign of the Column has. We invite you to check out our new style and weigh in with your comments. The Fall edition of the Column will be hitting mailboxes in early December.

For now, check out some of the fun outtakes from our sparkling photo shoot.

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Top five ways to maximize social media for your event both before and after!

Planning an event can be stressful. You spend months figuring out every detail, from venue to food to programming to donor recognition. So the last thing on your radar may be your social media plan of action. Never fear, here are our top five ways to maximize social media for your event both before and after!

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  1. Facebook Event Pages – Talk about a one-stop shop! Facebook event pages allow you to do so much, for instance: share time, date and location, ticket link, gather a head count, allow people to continue to invite their friends, give updates to attendees, share donation links to those who may be out of town and not be able to attend themselves, tag sponsors… the list goes on.  

We create a Facebook event pages for almost all League events open to the public.

  1. Instagram & Facebook Ads – Does your event need participants? Make a Facebook Advert –  it lends itself over to Instagram as well. You can manage this from a business or personal page. Just head over to your Ad Manager page to get started. Not sure where that is? On the left bar of your Facebook home page, at the very bottom is a button that says “CREATE” with Advert, Page, Group, Event, etc. below it.

We used Facebook & Instagram Adverts to advertise registration for our American Girl Fashion Show.

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  1. Live tweet your events – Now you don’t have to go all news reporter and we won’t expect your AP Style to be on point, so don’t be shy. Prior to the event, ticket links can be shared along with raffle prizes and auction items. Add to that showcasing and thanking sponsors via Twitter which can help get your tweets shared fast! Then, during the event you can share your event hashtag like #BRBP2016 (this should be used in all tweets prior to event as well) with attendees and give incentives for tweeting, or even have a live stream of tweets being shared at the event. Don’t forget to give shout outs during the event! Live tweeting allows social media users who follow your guests to see the fun during and after the event.

We love sharing details about our events and community partners via Twitter before and after events for the League.

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  1. Instagram videos & Boomerang – Photos can capture a moment, but video & boomerang tell a story! Log into Instagram and you can capture or upload videos you’ve already taken. (We always recommend horizontal for Instagram. Leave the vertical videos for Snapchat.) Or, create a Boomerang! What’s a Boomerang, you ask? It’s Instagram’s take on stop-motion and it often gets a lot of likes (which will turn into follows!) Open Instagram, click on the photo button, look for the infinity symbol and you will be taken to the Boomerang app.

This year Big Red Block Party has made quite the impression with their Boomerang videos.

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  1. Snapchat Geofilters – Who doesn’t love a good filter? Am I right ladies? Some may say oh, it’s just a filter for those attending your event, but trust me it goes WAY beyond that. How many people are going to see their friends on Snapchat that attend your event and want to know how they can attend next year? Or, join the organization that put on the event? A LOT. Everyone wants to a part of something fun and Snapchat is a way to touch an audience you may not have realized you could reach. Head over to Snapchat.com to create or upload your filter. You choose where, when and how long your filter lives with a corresponding cost and after a day or so, BOOM, it’s approved and your guests are ready to get your Snap on. Even better, it won’t break your budget!

The league has created filters for several upcoming events, the American Girl Show this weekend for instance! Prepare for the cuteness.
And there you have it. These are five amazing options, but don’t be afraid to get a little out of the box. Social media is all about having fun and being creative.

Special thanks to Jillian Humphries, Junior League of Omaha Social Media Coordinator, for sharing these tips!

JLO Summer Wrap-Up

In just a few days, the Junior League of Omaha will be kicking off its 98th year with the first General Membership Meeting. It has been a busy summer for our League filled with training sessions, committees kicking off their projects and fundraisers and meetings to gear up for the upcoming year.

Many of our members have already been hard at work throughout the summer donating their time to various projects. In July, many members volunteered at the Color Run during packet pick-up and on race day at water and color stations throughout the race course.

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Done-In-A-Day partnered with FITGirl, Inc. and provided volunteers for the FITGirl Empowerment Camp for girls ages 8-14. Junior League of Omaha members were assigned a group of girls and assisted them through activities during the day that included focusing on fitness, good eating choices and group team building activities.

Project shifts have also started with volunteers sorting books for A Book Of My Own and getting backpacks ready for distribution through Project Hope Pack. In addition to all of the volunteer opportunities for our Active Members, the League is also excited to welcome 92 New Members to our organization this year.

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Each year, the incoming President is tasked with choosing a theme for the League year. For 2016-2017, our President, Chaley Chandler, selected the theme of “Giving Back is Always in Style.” Giving back is just one part of the mission of The Junior League of Omaha and voluntarism has always been second nature to our members. All of our League Members share many different strengths that make make an impact on each other and our actions. Our members gain training and knowledge from both our General and Committee meetings, and also from each other. Supporting other League Members, learning from each other and giving back to one another are all of the keys we’ll need to have a successful year. Our mission and our relentless act of giving back to the community and to each other will always be in style! You’ll be seeing this year’s logo all year long to help serve as a reminder of the one goal we all are working towards.

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As fall rapidly approaches, there’s even more exciting things to look forward to beginning with Barn Bash on September 9th. There will be salsa and guacamole tasting, a nacho bar and BINGO! The League will also be hosting the American Girl Fashion Show Grand Finale on October 8th and 9th at Shadow Ridge Country Club. Please join other League Members as we commemorate the Fashion Show and how it has created shining stars out of both children and adults. Rounding out the season is the seventh annual Big Red Block Party on November 5th. Watch the Nebraska vs. Ohio State football game on multiple big screen TVs while enjoying tailgate-themed faire and the opportunity to bid on a wide variety of silent auction items. Finally, Our Cookbook Committee is also hard at work and needs your submissions. If you have any great recipes to share, please visit www.JLOCookbook.com.