Orlando Junior Chamber of Commerce

serving Orlando since 1927

The Orlando Jaycees

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It was in April, 1927, seven years after the founding of the United Sates Junior Chamber at the urging of A. P. Phillips, Jr., formerly an active member of the Atlanta Jaycees, a group of young men formed the Orlando Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to this time, few young men in the Orlando area had taken part in civic affairs but this club gave them the opportunity of community service combined with leadership training and over the years thousands of Orlando's men and women have taken advantage of this opportunity.


Need for such a club in Orlando was evidenced by the fact that membership swelled rapidly until it was recognized as the world's largest club just prior to World War II. During most of its existence, the Orlando Jaycees have tried to maintain the position as the largest club in the state of Florida. The club is usually to be found in the top 40 Jaycee clubs in the United States.

In addition, the Orlando club has extended over 30 chapters including Tallahassee, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Deland, Sanford, Winter Park, Melbourne, Vero Beach, Winter Haven, Lakeland, St. Petersburg, Ft. Pierce, East Orange, Silent World, Special People, and West Orange.


The first major project undertaken by the club was creation of the Orlando Municipal Airport (now known as the Orlando Executive Airport) followed by a fund raising project that helped to light the facility for night flying.

The club sponsored the formation of Community Chest in the Orlando area which was the fore runner of today's United Appeal. They later furnished a room for the patients at the old Tuberculosis Sanitarium.

During World 'War II, many members fought for their country and the club assisted the effort through such projects as bond drives, scrap metal drives, and setting up job clearing house to, alleviate the man- power shortage by providing employment for boys under the draft age. During the Korean War, the club set up a 'Blood for Korea' drive resulting in over 400 pints collected.

Right after World War the club organized the Orlando Safety Council and was later instrumental in setting up the Orlando City Parks Department.

Get-Out-The-Vote campaigns Over the years have resulted in registering thousands of new voters and record turnouts at the polls.

In later years, the club had taken over operation of a four-story building in downtown Orlando which housed a number of non-profit public service agencies as well as had provided the clubs offices. They also maintained a one story building over looking beautiful Lake Ivanhoe for several years. We then moved to Langford Park, 1808 F. Central. After Langford Park we met at the Orange County Southeast Library. Today, the club meets the Second Thursday of each month at the office of Keller Williams Realty, 708 E. Colonial Drive, Suite 200, at 6:30pm.

The club also sponsored a massive polio immunization drive Orange County and obtained the first public approval of a bond issue by the citizens of Orlando. 

We also hosts the International Pee Wee Golf Championships.


The Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Seminar was organized in Florida in 1979 by the Orlando Jaycees.

Each High School in the State is given the opportunity nominate it's most outstanding sophomore student to attend the Seminar.

Florida's Seminar has been one of the fastest growing in the nation. In 1995, over 400 high schools sent outstanding sophomores to this Seminar which is now held in three sites. The Tallahassee Jaycees and the Coconut Grove Jaycees help host the Seminar in their area.


Today, many of central Florida's business, civic and political leaders readily acknowledge their early training in the Orlando Jaycees. The club has provided several Presidents for the Florida Jaycees: W.R. Smith, Jimmy Milligan, Campbell Thornall, Burton Thornall, Don Asher, Bob Bishop, and Scott Gabrielson.

Seventy Six years ago the voices of young men and women could rarely be heard in Orlando's community affairs. Today, the Orlando Jaycees stand proudly on their solid record of accomplishments and look forward--eagerly to the challenges of the future as we train tomorrow's community leaders today!

In 1994 The Orlando Jaycees were proud to host the 74th Annual National Convention Meeting of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce.