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My Blog

Junior Achievement

Good morning to all.   Sitting here listening to the birds chirping outdoors.  Feeling like all is well with the world...only, unfortunately for many, that is not the case.  I pray for all that have been hit with these unbelievable storms these past few days.  The devastation is simply unbelievable. 
I was thinking about some topics to write about and yesterday I had thought about Junior Achievement.  Lo and behold, I go on facebook and a friend of mine was a speaker at one of the JA meetings. 
For those of you who don't know what Junior Achievement is....it is an organization through which the help of volunteer business men and woman help guide children through learning about business.  A company is formed with a certain number of kids, the company's board is elected, a project/business is chosen and then produced, promoted an sold by the kids.  It is a total learning process. 
When I was 14 - 16, I was in Junior Achievement.  I went to the location where the meetings were held which was on North Ave and Pulaski in the city of Chicago.  I took 2 buses to get there.  It was above an old store right on the corner.  We went into a small room and organized our company. 
The first year that I belonged to JA., there was a man who worked for Zenith.  So our company made radios.  A wooden boxed radio.  We built them, learned to do the bookkeeping and sold them.  We learned about the cost and profit margins.  A real experience for a teenager.  We really ran the company and were only mentored by the gentleman.  I wish I could remember his name.  I can't even remember now the name of the company, but I still have the radio.  We use it in our garage while we cut wood.  It is the best made radio ever....after all, it works some 45 years later.   What a challenge that was for me as a girl.  A radio....with wires and all!  
The following year was an exciting year for me in JA.  Same meeting place, new mentor, new company....a new beginning.  Now....this company I remember....it's name was TriJa.  Why such a strange name...well, what we made you see now in Cracker Barrels around the country.  It was that triangle piece of wood that have holes drilled in them with the golf pegs inserted in them.  They have them on their tables and sell them up at the register.  
Now we formed the company and named it TRI for the triangle and JA for Junior Achievement.  Maybe not all that creative...but a great little gadget.  I sometimes wonder now where the idea came from....perhaps our mentorer....but I can't rightly say.  Anyway...that was a great year...at least it was for me.  We attended a convention that was held down at the  McCormick  Place.  I remember each day taking 4 buses to get there.  There were 3,000 kids there in booths selling there products, with people from all over. coming to hear our talks and demonstrations.  
What we didn't know was who was who....you see, there were judges there.  They were judging each of us on our performance of selling, knowledge of the product, etc. 
At one point, late in the afternoon, they announced a king and queen of sales.  Well, imagine my surprise when they announced me as the QUEEN.  I was one of the 2 out of 3,000 chosen.  What a ego booster that was.  I got up on stage....my picture was taken and put into the major newspapers.  And to top it off...I got this big golden trophy, which by the way sits in my treasure room.  I cannot even begin to tell you how proud I was for my ACHIEVEMENT!  Who would have ever imagined ?  But it didn't stop there....I won award after award for being top sales person.  I traveled with JA and spoke to other JA companies and told them about what is was like to be the top in sales.  I remember going to French Lick in  Indiana. for one such event.  Junior Achievement not only taught me about how to run a company.  It taught me about setting goals, accomplishing them.  Boosting moral, working with others.  It taught me about advertising, how to speak in front of audiences, I guess the list could go on and on. 
What an unbelievable experience for any young person to have.  I am delighted to see that it stills goes on and that the main reason for their successes are attributed to those who mentor.  They are outstanding men and women who dedicate their time and knowledge to help the next generation make a better future.  I give 2 thumbs up to all of them and to the parents who support their kids in their endeavor...who expose them to the challenge and to the kids who are out there getting involved...learning perhaps the unknown.  Being in Junior Achievement is like walking on the moon.  One large step for mankind.  Bravo to all the kids past and present who search for friendship, knowledge, a goal and a future. 
Not everyone will get the trophy or be named a King or Queen, but they are all in the Royal Court.  It takes courage, stamina and a thirst for knowledge.  It teaches you that you get what you give.  It is a place where everyone teaches and everyone learns.
Today, as I look back at the past and the trophy's, It is no wonder that I m still in sales....still a talker.  I stand tall and proud of my accomplishments in life an I know that all who ever ventured out into the unknown and accepted the challenges feels the same.  Thanks to all the people who mentored me in my endeavors...I am forever grateful.

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