A League of Our Own

Cover Story
2016
September/October

"Recognizing a need for organized volunteer service in a rapidly growing city with ever-changing needs, 13 civic-minded women met in February of 1950 to make preliminary plans for the organization of the Tyler Service League. In May of 1950, the Tyler Service League gathered for an organizational meeting with its 13 sponsors and 32 chapter members in attendance. The immediate goals of the organization were to serve and strengthen the Tyler community and to become a member of the national organization of the Junior League. On February 1, 1960, the Tyler Service League was admitted to the Association of Junior Leagues of America. Today, the Junior League of Tyler, Inc., with its 215 active and provisional members and 475 sustaining members, continues to be an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. To date, The Junior League of Tyler, Inc. has given back more than $7.5 million, and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours, to better the community. This year alone, the League will contribute over 20,000 volunteer hours and over $290,000 to worthy community projects and endeavors,"  as stated on juniorleagueoftyler.org.

 

Brenda Cagle:

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Tyler?

•31 years.

Why did you decide to join? 

•As a student in the 1960's at Orr Elementary, I loved having the JLT "Picture Lady" come and show us artwork and tell us all about the artists. Later, while at TJC, I worked at the Stewart Blood Bank and was well aware that the Junior League ladies founded that wonderful entity. By the time I was in my early twenties I knew I'd love to be a part and had friends in League who I'm forever grateful to for inviting me.  I've loved every minute and experience!

What is the biggest thing you have learned or how has it helped you develop your potential? 

•League offered the most amazing scenario of training and equipping us to get out and help our community, and it was inevitable that we, then, grew in ways and skills we may have never have otherwise. I learned to stretch my comfort zone and try things I may not have thought I would ever be able to do and learned the power of "we" as a group of compassionate and motivated women.  I see how my League experience molded, for the better, almost everything I do in ways large or small from teamwork, organization and service both personally and professionally. 

What is your favorite memory of the Junior League?

•Chairing Mistletoe & Magic in 1990 was my favorite placement but the dearest memories are of the people I was placed with or the people we served that continue to enrich my life. I'm now so proud to watch my daughter, Catherine Hammond, and daughter in love, Amy Cagle, making a difference and making memories of their own in JLT.

 

Lacie Massingill:

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Tyler?

•10 years.

Why did you decide to join? 

•I wanted to find a rewarding way to give back to my community, but had a hard time choosing with so many worthwhile non-profits in the area.  JLT was the only option that allowed me to serve them all because I would be working in tandem with 1000 other women who serve making our reach go farther.  If my formal placement wasn't at a specific non-profit, I knew my overall commitment to JLT could still benefit them because it serves so many.  I felt like my opportunity to make a difference would be multiplied because of the way the League operates.

What is the biggest thing you have learned or how has it helped you develop your potential?

•I've learned to step out of my comfort zone and try new things.  Everyone is capable of so much more than they give themselves credit for.  You just need an environment with a foundation for success, and you have to not take yourself too seriously.  I think, in general, women are too timid to try new things due to insecurity or fear of not living up to some expectation.  In JLT if you make it about the service you are providing to this community and not about yourself, you let go of all of that insecurity, which is usually when you discover new capabilities.  I try to carry that mindset over to other areas of my life.  It's so liberating to wake up every day, give it your best try, and be comfortable with where things stand at the end of the day. Somedays I'm better at this than others!

What is your favorite memory of the Junior League?

•Hands down, it's Tonya Boozer and most specifically our detailed conversation about me wearing maternity jeans an entire year after Miles was born, simply because I thought they were cute.  Ok Ok.  I think it would have to be memories made in the Member Hospitality Room at Mistletoe & Magic.  The volunteers are working long hours to make M&M an enjoyable event, and a lot of friendships cross the threshold from the acquaintance stage to true friendship when you are delirious yet determined to achieve success.  I can't think of a single M&M that I have participated in that doesn't include at least one episode of serious belly laughter with women whom I hardly knew at the time. 

 

Jennifer Walsh:

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Tyler?

•13 years.

Why did you decide to join?

•My grandmother and mother were Junior League members and so it was just a natural feeling that I wanted to volunteer with this great organization also.

What is the biggest thing you have learned or how has it helped you develop your potential?

•I had never thought about being on the board or ultimately being president.  A lot of people saw potential in me and allowed me to push myself out of my safe zone and really step out and make a difference.

What is your favorite memory of the Junior League?

•This summer has been fun. I have had the opportunity to bring my girls with me to several volunteer events so they can see firsthand what it is like to help others and they LOVE it! One episode of serious belly laughter with women whom I hardly knew at the time.  

 

Ginger Haberle:

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Tyler?

• Active Member 2005-2013. I joined OLD! Currently I am a Sustainer.

Why did you decide to join? 

•I was new to Tyler and thought it would be a great way to be involved, to meet people, and to do my part in Tyler.

What is the biggest thing you have learned or how has it helped you develop your potential?

•So much! I was terrified to ask for donations of any kind. Now I am an executive director of a non profit and fund development is pretty much what I do! I leaned how to keep good records with projects. I learned how to create a budget for events, and I've learned that everyone has a heart to help in some way and this city bursting with opportunities to do so.

What is your favorite memory of the Junior League?

•So many! Loved being the historian. I took photos of our members in action with our agencies we partnered with. I really saw the whole picture. I had a ball being Healer the Dog at Therapet. But for pure fun ... I loved doing Mistletoe & Magic! I'm laughing as I'm typing!

 

Karolyn Davis:

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Tyler?

•I was a provisional in 2004-2005.  I’ve been in a LONG time!

Why did you decide to join? 

•I was interested in joining the JLT after speaking to the members as the Executive Director of St. Paul Children’s Foundation.  I was very young…just out of college.... and didn’t know many people so I thought it was a great way to get involved in the community with like-minded women.

What is the biggest thing you have learned or how has it helped you develop your potential?

•The Junior League of Tyler has given me the opportunity to meet other like-minded women who want to give back to our community. Through my many volunteer opportunities at JLT, I must be honest, a few of them… I had previously said, I will never do that job.  However, the “idea” of serving in that capacity was much harder than serving due to the wonderful leaders, sustaining advisors and committee members.  It truly feels wonderful to complete a job that you “never” imagined you could do thanks to the guidance, direction and support of other League members – as we were able to accomplish much
more together!

What is your favorite memory of the Junior League?

•Oh, how there are so many fun memories with some amazing friends... it's hard to pick just one!  Volunteering on the Mistletoe & Magic committee in many different capacities is probably where some of my most fondest memories are from. You work closely with a group of amazing women who give a huge amount of time to plan and organize an event to raise funds for the Junior League of Tyler to then give back to building a stronger community.  

 

Tish McGuire:

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Tyler?

•Since 2008.

Why did you decide to join? 

•I attended an open meeting and was truly moved when I learned about the number of organizations the League serves and all of the different ways our members contribute to the community. I immediately wanted to be a part of this amazing group of women!

What is the biggest thing you have learned or how has it helped you develop your potential?

•First, being a part of the League has shown me how great and varied the needs are right here in Tyler. The League is a vehicle to meet those needs in tangible ways. Second, on a personal level, being a part of the League has helped me to realize that although we are all different, we can learn from and encourage one another to do amazing things we could not accomplish alone. We value each member and her contribution to our organization. I have been blessed by those who have put their faith in me and allowed me to develop my organizational, communication and leadership skills through my involvement in the League.

What is your favorite memory of the Junior League?

•Definitely writing and designing our children’s book, Goodnight Rose City. I formed deep friendships and stayed up way too many hours planning and laughing. But I also learned so much about the publishing process, and we were thrilled to have so many of Tyler’s top organizations and leaders invest in our vision as well. It was truly a community effort that resulted in a quality product that will give back to our town for years to come, and I am humbled to have been a part of that.

 

Mary Ann Cozby:

How long have you been a member of the Junior League of Tyler?

•26 years.

Why did you decide to join?

•I was invited by my friends, and being new to Tyler, JLT membership was appealing because it provided an opportunity to learn about Tyler and many volunteer opportunities.

What is the biggest thing you have learned or how has it helped you develop your potential?

•JLT membership has taught me invaluable teamwork, leadership and organizational skills. 

What is your favorite memory of the Junior League?

•My favorite placement was serving as the Mistletoe Merchant Co-Chair with Jennifer Smith.   

 

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