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This is where it all began:


JCI was first established in 1915 by a young man named Henry Giessenbier Jr, who lived in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. During a time of rapid economic boom and advancement, he marvelled at the talents and passions of the youth around him, who were all just about his age. 


He had great foresight and envisioned the positive changes they could create if they worked together with the right resources. The first JCI movement in the St Louis area had quickly spread and it was not long before youths from all across the nation and globe started coming together to create positive differences in their communities on a local, regional and international scale and the rest is history. 


Over the decades, young leaders from across the globe have come together to solve global challenges, striving for a better future. Members have had opportunities for personal development, entrepreneurship, community problem solving and even forging international ties with global business leaders. The organisation has come a long way and envisions an even brighter future ahead with new members continuously contributing innovative ideas. 




Singapore first heard of the Junior Chamber movement at a Rotary Luncheon at Adelphi Hotel in October 1949.  The then JCI Vice President for Asia, Gregario M. Feliciano, was describing in moving terms a civic organisation which was capturing the minds and hearts of young men around the world. The meeting heard that the Junior Chamber had been established in Manila, Philippines on December 20, 1947 with an initial membership of 18 members. On September 3, 1949, a second Asian Chapter was established, this time, in Japan.


Covering the luncheon was a reporter from " Malaya Tribune", Ted Goh Tuck Chiang, who with other non-Rotarians further queried Feliciano on the aims and objectives of Junior Chamber. Feliciano told them that Junior Chamber could inculcate civic consciousness among its members through active participation in constructive projects designed to improve the community, the nation and the world. Ted and the others were so inspired by Feliciano that they held a discussion on their own at Washing¬ton Cafe, Bras Basah junction of North Bridge Road. These inspired young men then went around  recruiting like-minded young individuals. They went more for executives (managing directors etc) rather than "junior" executives because they needed not only organisational ability but also members who could subsidize the projects that they would be implementing. Their hard work culminated in the forming of the Singapore Junior Chamber of Commerce on December 8, 1949. The 30 or so young men gathered together to elect Ted Goh as the first President of the Singapore Junior Chamber of Commerce.


To learn more about the Jaycee movement, the Chamber sent representatives to the Regional Conference of Asian Jaycees in Hong Kong in 1951. 


Ted Goh's initial efforts at getting the Chamber going came to a standstill with his departure to the States for further studies in late 1951. Founder members who faced personal difficulties stopped coming to the Chamber. Only one sole delegate attended the VI World Congress in Montreal.



In August 1952, with the return of J.S. Lee from the VII World Congress, the Chamber comprising 8 members. The president then was Frank Wakerman who was also present when three members attended the 3rd Asian Regional Manila. Later in the same year, he was also a sole representative of the World Congress at San Francisco. This congress is a formal affiliation of the Junior Chamber of Singapore.



Membership and extension programmes were aggressive in the 1970's, thus moving slowly towards a multi-lom. The Singapore Jayceettes (ladies chapter) founded in 1971 was Junior Chamber of Singapore in 1972.


In 1973 on the advice of Mr Royce Pepin, the JCI World President during his  visit to Singapore, the name Singapore Jayceettes 'Orchid Jaycees' pending the approval of the Registrar of societies. The change in name was to avoid confusion as the word 'Jaycettes refers to the wives of Jaycees. The Singapore Jayceettes was an independent organisation insofar as the Constitution & By-laws were concerned. This gave rise to problems of presentation to JCI. The solution was then for the representatives of the Junior Chamber and Orchid National (NOM) Constitution.


A pro-tem NOM committee was formed in 1973 which also recommended the creation of two new chapters (LOMs)- Serangoon and Jurong. With the formation of these two new LOMs, a fresh subs constitution of the four LOMs were made to the Registrar for approval in late 1973.


On 2 April, 1975, the Registrar of Societies formally gave us a reply which included also a guideline on the desired constitutional structure. Jurong and Serangoon merged to become a new chapter - Merlion Chapter. Singapore Jayceettes was officially dissolved, becoming the Orchid chapter. The founding chapter became known as City Chapter. 


Extension programmes proceeded well in the 1980s. Currently, there are five LOMs under the umbrella of Junior Chamber of Singapore.

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