Junior League New Member Year: What to Expect

Thinking about joining the Junior League of Omaha? 

It can be scary to try new things, we get it, and we’re here to help!

Here’s a rundown of what to expect when you join Junior League of Omaha:

First things first – Before you join:

  1. Get acquainted with the League: Current members meet with prospective members online and in person at various events to get to know each other. 
  2. Complete a Membership Application 
  3. Pay Dues: Membership Dues support the League’s overall programmatic, training and administrative needs, including our physical headquarters, event facility rentals and food and beverage at in-person meetings. 

Enrollment opens up for new members every year between late May – June. 

Membership is open to all women, at least 21 years old, who have an interest in voluntarism, a commitment to community service and an interest in developing her potential for voluntary community participation. The Junior League welcomes all women who value our mission. We are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations and communities. 

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2021-2022 New Member Committee Members

New Member Requirements and Commitments

Your New Member year is typically a commitment of approximately 50-60 total hours between the months of August through May.  

It might sound like a lot, but it’s not!

 You will participate in monthly meetings for 1-2 hours that include:

  • Training Sessions on the Junior League of Omaha and its history in our community.
    • Did you know that members of the Junior League of Omaha began the Gift Shop at Children’s Hospital in 1948, which still operates today and serves as income to assist with many of the hospital’s programs and services?! Children’s Hospital is one of many local organizations impacted by the service and talents of our League. 
  • Social Time to Get Connected with Junior League of Omaha members – both new and active.

You will be assigned a cohort of new members who live in nearby geographic areas so that you can continue the conversation between new meetings. Each group is kept intentionally small with about 10 members, with an active member who mentors and helps guide the group in questions and activities. 

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2021-2022 New Member Music Bingo Night

New members also get to attend:

  • General Meetings with all other active members (held monthly, with members asked to attend 5 per year)
  • Fundraising activities and events, such as the JLO Classic at Top Golf and more
  • Community service shifts, experiencing the ability to immediately and directly make an impact on the community especially related to food access and hunger in Omaha.
    • New members always report they love the immediate impact they can make in just a few hours time, through shifts at area non-profits like Together, Inc., etc. 

Then what:

After completion of the new member year, you enter Active Member status. As an active member, you serve a placement on one of many committees. Each placement lasts one year (August-June).  After seven years as an active member, you can become a League Sustainer. 

You will learn all about what active service looks like as part of your new member year. 

New Member Q&A

Read what one new member, Jazmyn Brown, had to say about her experience: 

Jazymn recently completed her new member year and is currently in her first active year placement as Shift Coordinator for the Food Access Committee.  

Q: Why did you join JLO? 

A:  I joined to meet like-minded women, to network and to volunteer, helping the community I care about.

Q: How would you describe your new member year?

A: It was so much fun. I built friendships that will last years and learned a lot about the league.

Q: Did you find it easier or harder than you expected to fulfill the responsibilities of new members?

A: It was easier because I learned the expectations upfront. I was able to complete all my shifts by Fall simply because I signed up for any of them that I was interested in.

Q: What would you say to someone considering JLO?

A: It’ll be the best decision you’ll make. You’ll meet amazing women who want to make a difference in the community. What other organization can say that?

Learn more about joining:  Email Join@JLOmaha.org

Support the Junior League of Omaha Annual Fund.

Sustainer Engagement

Did you know that Sustaining Members make up almost 60% of The Junior League of Omaha’s total membership of 682 members? Sustainers are the true backbone of our organization, providing support in a variety of ways. Whether it is offering advice and guidance to the Board, financially supporting a fundraiser, or training a group of members on a professional or personal skill, Sustainer support is an integral piece of JLO’s ongoing success.

Data from 2019-2020 League Membership

One of the strategic priorities going into the 2020-2021 League year is to provide additional quality opportunities for Sustaining members to connect with the organization and with each other. We know this membership group is looking for unique and varying ways to engage, including through mentoring, community service, socials, providing guidance and advice, and training.

Sustainers spoke… and we listened! The Junior League of Omaha has formed a NEW group to prioritize these efforts. The Sustainer Engagement Committee (SEC) will sit on the Management Team and be responsible for planning and implementing engagement opportunities. The committee leaders will collaborate closely with the president and Management Team to bridge the gap between New and Active Members and Sustainers. Current Board Member-at-Large Lisa Buckentine was selected this month to serve as chair for 2020-2021. Lisa is excited for next year and says, “We have so many wonderful Sustainers looking to engage more with our Active and New Members. I believe that this committee can provide opportunities for more Sustainers to share their thoughts, talents and time with the League!”

Stay tuned for more exciting news about Sustainer engagement!

Member-at-Large Lisa Buckentine

Prepare to Whisk Away with bRUNch 5k!

bRUNch 5k is excited to announce that for this year’s event, the League is whisking away to Aksarben Village on May 4, 2019. 

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I visited with Jess Winter, Communications Project Manager for the event, about why people should consider participating in the Junior League of Omaha’s annual bRUNch 5K. She shared, “Running with a group is a great way to build community.  Exercise groups empower one another and can be your best cheerleaders. You’re all in it together.”

Are you beginning to prepare for bRUNch 5k? Consider downloading apps that feature running programs for beginners, such as Couch to 5K. These programs combine walking and running  each week until reaching a continuous run.

Already a seasoned runner? Cross-training options that will add to your endurance include weight training and barre classes.

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Jess Winter offered additional insight for those who are unsure about running. “If you are hesitant about running, start slowly and modify if needed. Essentially, you want to set yourself up for success, and if you feel like you’re doing too much, then take a step back and train one less day until you feel confident. If you have knee issues, recovering from an injury or had physical therapy, talk your physical therapist. They are a great resource in supporting your goals and can give some great exercises, stretches and programming if needed.”

Most importantly, Jess advised, “Share your goals! People want to support you.”

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Run, brunch, or both! Enjoy the best of both worlds at bRUNch 5K

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Additional local resources to keep you motivated and offer support, whether you are an experienced runner or just starting out, can be found at locations below.

  • Peak Performance
  • Omaha Running Club
  • Moms on the Run
  • Pure Barre West Omaha and Loveland locations
  • Barre Code West Omaha and Dundee locations
  • Well Mama
  • Moms Run this Town – Facebook Group

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Junior League of Omaha bRUNch 5K Committee members pose during the 2018 event.

 

Please join us by registering at https://runsignup.com/Race/NE/Omaha/JuniorLeagueofOmahabRUNch5k2019. For more information on joining the Junior League of Omaha, visit https://www.jlomaha.org/.

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/.  

Big Red Block Party Celebrates Husker Spirit

This year, the Junior League of Omaha’s Big Red Block Party fundraiser hosted 108 people at the Scott Conference Center. The silent auction was a favorite among attendees with 62 fun, unique packages with a wide range of starting bids, appropriate for all spend levels! Attendees also enjoyed a delicious buffet with rotating, heavy appetizers, two bars, and yard games.

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This was the final year for this special event, and Lauren Anderson, the Big Red Block Party Co-Chair, stated, “The most meaningful moment during the event was honoring the previous Chairs and talking about the fundraiser. This event has raised $176,000 for the League over the last nine years, and that deserves to be celebrated.”

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Collaboration and communication were two key elements that contributed to Big Red Block Party’s success. As Lauren Anderson, Big Red Block Party Co-Chair, described, “Our committee worked really well together…between our (almost) weekly committee hot sheets and our committee meetings, we were able to efficiently plan our event.” Anderson also credited working with Jen Bartlet, their JLO Sustainer Advisor, and a past Big Red Block Party Chair, as a vital resource who gave both Co-Chair Hunter Taylor and herself additional insight into making the event a success.

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When asked if she had any advice for future Junior League of Omaha fundraisers, Anderson responded, “Yes! Create a timeline and stick with it. Check in with your committee, but don’t bombard them with emails. Say thank you. And most importantly, seriously evaluate your event every year to make sure it’s still relevant.”

For more information about upcoming Junior League of Omaha events or to become a member, visit our website at http://www.jlomaha.org.

 

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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Cornhole and Cornhuskers

Big Red Block Party is just around the corner on Saturday, November 11th, are you ready for it?  This year features a fun spin on tailgating with none other than a “Tailgating Olympics.”  So whether or not you call it Cornhole, Corn Toss or Bags, let’s prepare you with a few game rules, after all… there is a Stock the Bar Tailgate prize package on the line!

Let’s start out with a more common game that most have played- Bags.  Let’s review some of the rules and see if you have been playing correctly all of these years!

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Bags

How to Score During the Game:

Once all bags have been thrown, a bag remaining on the board is worth 1 point and a bag that went in the hole is worth 3 points. Add up how many points you earned and compare them to your opponent’s points. Equal points cancel each other out so that only one team can score per round. 

The match shall be played until the first team of contestants reaches 21 points at the completion of an inning.

Ladder Golf

Ladder Golf

Another game that will be a part of “Tailgate Olympics” this year is Ladder Golf.  In case you haven’t played this entertaining game before, let’s break it down so you will be more than ready by November 11th!

Space the game ladders about 15 feet apart and start tossing your bolas. Each player tosses all 3 bolas, and then the next player tosses all 3 bolas. Landing your bola on the top rung is worth 3 points; middle is 2 and bottom rung is 1 point. The first one to 21 without going over is the winner!

Giant Jenga

Giant Jenga

Last but not least, let’s not forget to mention a crowd favorite- Giant Jenga!

Any number of players can join in a game of Giant Jenga. First, the tower has to be built. Then each player takes a turn removing a block from any level of the tower- except the top. From there the rules are pretty straight-forward- Don’t knock over the tower!

Now you have a leg up on the competition at this year’s Big Red Block Party.  These are just a few of the MANY games that will be there. And don’t forget the best part of any great tailgate game- They are often played with a drink in hand!

Grab your friends and start practicing, because this is an event you won’t want to miss!

 

Recipe of the Month: Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip

What is your go-to for game day? If your spread includes jarred salsa and a tub of pre-made dip, served with a side frozen wings and a store-bought pizza, know that it does not have to be that way. You can have a tasty, homemade dish in just minutes.

With a few hearty pantry staples and a handful of fresh flavors, Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip can transform you from second-string to the Most Valuable Player. A real crowd-pleaser, Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip is one of the recipes in the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook, available in Fall 2018.

Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip    

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Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 2/3 cup bottled picante sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili powder
  • 1 can black beans (drained and washed)
  • 1/4 cup Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons Tabasco-if desired

Instructions

  • Heat oil in skillet.  Add onion and garlic, and sauté until tender.
  • Add tomato, picante sauce, chili powder, cumin, and black beans to skillet.  Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.
  • Partially mash mixture with a potato masher.  Add cheese, cilantro, and lime juice.  Stir until cheese melts.
  • Serve warm with tortilla chips.

After you make Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip, share a photo on social media using #JLOCookbook.

Boots & Belles Roundup

Boots & Belles (formerly Barn Bash), a fundraiser for the Junior League of Omaha’s projects and initiatives, took place on Friday, August 4, 2017, at the home of Lexie and Shane Frahm in Gretna, Nebraska.

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The theme of the evening was a rustic BBQ. White and blue gingham tablecloths popped against the rich, warm tones of the Frahm family’s barn. Vintage outdoor string lights illuminated the venue in which fresh wildflowers adorned each table.

IMG_0795_FrahmFamilyBarn{Inside the Frahm family’s barn}

2017-08-04-BootsBelles Table Arrangement 1{Mason jars filled with colorful wildflowers decorated each table.}

Hog Wild Pit BBQ catered the meal of pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans and macaroni and cheese. The Junior League of Omaha Cookbook Committee sponsored a dessert tasting featuring ten decadent and sugary treats, including Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Cookies, Rum Buttercrunch Toffee and Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Sables.

IMG_0730_DessertTable{The Junior League of Omaha Cookbook dessert tasting was a big hit!}

“This year’s event was a lot of fun. The weather was perfect and it was great to see so many JLO members and guests show their support for the first fundraiser of the year. The planning committee can’t thank the Frahms enough for hosting us at their beautiful property!”

The event drew 70 attendees who enjoyed BINGO, raffle prizes, a specialty cocktail of vodka lemonade and s’mores by the fire.

2017-08-04-BootsBelles Raffle 3{Raffle prizes were abundant and included tickets to the Big Red Block Party, an Oktoberfest-themed package (complete with German beer, pretzels and a gift certificate to Gerda’s Bakery), passes to Ditmar’s Orchard and so much more! }

IMG_0725_Guests{Guests relaxed indoors and out, many clad in denim and boots!}

IMG_0741_BingoGuests{BINGO aficionados enjoyed several rounds of the game while also giving the dessert selection a taste.}

IMG_0749_Dinner{Host Lexie Frahm and guests dined al fresco on Hog Wild Pit BBQ and refreshing summer cocktails.}

Host Lexie Frahm said, “Thanks to all who attended and planned the Boots and Belle’s event! We couldn’t have asked for better weather for an August evening. Shane and I look forward to hosting this event each League year!”