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Alexandria Jaycees gear up for community projects

The Alexandria Jaycees chapter hosts an annual Punt Pass Kick football event for local youth. Last year's Jaycees volunteers included (back) April Schmidt, Shawn Thelen, (front) Kathy Schlosser, Molly Schmidt, Melanie Landberger, Tammy Roth, Jenny Walsh, Karee Kopet, Kim Roering, Shawn Kupcho and John Kopet. (Contributed photo)

The Alexandria community hosts hundreds of conventions and conferences each year and this weekend, the spotlight is on a convention with a local connection.

The Alexandria Jaycees organization will host the spring Minnesota Jaycees State Convention this weekend. The convention is just the beginning of a month packed with events hosted by the local organization. First, the state convention, then a couple popular community events.


Approximately 120 Jaycees members and their families will attend the convention for a weekend of networking, training and competitions. There will be 70 chapters represented at the convention hosted at Arrowwood Resort Hotel and Conference Center.

Also part of the agenda is the awards presentation. The local chapter is up for 10 state-level awards this weekend, including nine individual and one chapter award. In addition, local Jaycees alumni member Joe Korkowski will be honored with the Hall of Leadership award for his leadership within the chapter, community and profession.

April Schmidt, Alexandria Jaycees' 2013 management development vice-president, explained, "We assist behind the scenes with ideas for the children's room and we are the welcoming committee for all who attend." Plus, local Jaycees provide help with check-in and directions to meetings and events.


The Alexandria Jaycees will host the popular Pitch, Hit and Run event on Sunday, May 12 at Knute Nelson Field in Alexandria. Registration starts at 1 p.m. and competition starts at 1:30 p.m.

This event is free for boys and girls, ages 7-14, to test their ability to hit a pitched ball, run from first to third base, and distance and accuracy of throwing a ball. The top kids in each age and gender group will then proceed to regionals. This year, the Alexandria Blue Anchors baseball players, along with General Manager Joe Dempsey and Field Manager Al Newman, will assist with the competition.

Winners from the regional event then go on to compete at the state level during a Minnesota Twins baseball game at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Details are available at


The annual Alexandria Jaycees Sandbox Fill fundraiser is set for Tuesday, May 14. Jaycee chapter members load and deliver sand to Alexandria community members beginning at 5 p.m. To order, send an e-mail to or call (320) 834-3030, or visit The cost is $10 per wheelbarrow.


MAY 21

The Alexandria Jaycees will also take part in the Adopt-a-Highway program. The group's ditch cleanup date is Tuesday, May 21.

Schmidt said, "We have a three-mile stretch on County Road 61, which runs between county roads 34 and 22. In the past, approximately 10 to 15 members and their families have met at 6 p.m. to clean our stretch and, afterwards, gather at a local restaurant for dinner, drinks and hand out some scavenger hunt prizes [for items] found during the clean-up. Although [it is] a dirty event, we certainly try to make it more enjoyable. We clean our ditch twice a year and it generally takes about 90 minutes to do."


The Alexandria Jaycees chapter was established in 1948 and currently has 32 active members. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month at Glenwood State Bank in Alexandria at 5:30 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.

"Our focus is volunteering through events that help our community," Schmidt said. "We host Jingle Bells, Pitch Hit and Run, Punt Pass and Kick, Adopt-a-Highway, Taste of Home cooking show concessions, Sandbox Fill, and numerous other events, as well as provide manpower for concessions at sporting events."

New members are welcome. For membership details, call (320) 834-3030, e-mail or visit

"We have a lot of fun while helping our community be a better place," Schmidt said.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

(320) 763-3133