by Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter July 2000
Recently, the Foxboro Human Services organization was merged with the Council on Aging (COA). The move so angered Human Services that five members resigned. From published reports it at least appears that the Human Services volunteers themselves had little to say about the merger, and the decision (or vote) was taken out of their hands. It would seem that many people affected by this merger were the last to know it was happening.
Also recently, there was some confusion at Camp Lincoln Hill regarding the Jaycees, their role at that site in the future, and the chapter not being informed that certain cleanup and repair work was going to be done there.
In recent weeks, both the Board of Selectmen and Recreation Department have assured the Jaycees that they may use Camp Lincoln Hill for the foreseeable future for their haunted house fund-raiser. That’s great news.
It’s very important to remember that the great majority of people who do things for this town are volunteers. From the late First Night Committee, to the Farm Stand, Discretionary Fund, Food Pantry, Founder’s Day Committee, to countless others—most are operated or supplemented by many people who volunteer their time and talents.
The Jaycees exist to make Foxboro a better place to live. We’re all volunteers; we all have lives, families, work and other concerns, but we love Foxboro and want to make a difference here.
With the current Jaycee project to visit churches and organizations to introduce ourselves and solicit membership, as well as confusion over Camp Lincoln Hill, now seemed like a good time to write about a group I am proud to be a member of.
I joined the chapter in 1993, mainly to be part of that group that runs the amazing haunted house. I found what many volunteers fine: It’s addictive. The more you do, the more you want to do.
The reason I’ve stayed with the Jaycees, beyond the feelings of friendship and a great haunted gig every October, is that every time I do something with them, I’m helping this town, and have fun doing it. The group is not perfect, not saints, but each one in his or her own way contributes something that makes Foxboro a better place, and makes it special.
We are hard working, yet have fun. I remember last year at the haunted house, as construction was going along at a feverish pace, one Jaycee made us a delicious boiled dinner. Another made sure we had plenty of chips and soda. Another kept the hamburgers cooking and the music playing.
The level of enthusiasm at Jaycee projects is contagious. And yes, for the many that have asked, it IS as much fun as it looks. It’s a blast.
As you might know, the Jaycees run a large amount of Foxboro community service projects, such as 5K run for charity, SHARE, the summer concerts on the common, teddy transfer, Senior Appreciation day, DARE National Family Night Out, sand for seniors, CYO basketball clinic, Easter egg hunt, pancake breakfast, many Founders Day activities, blood drives, mothers / fathers day activities, as well as Christmas activities such as tree sales, Santa on the common, and refurbishing and setting up the nativity set.
Around Foxboro, we are also actively involved helping other worthwhile causes, such as the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, the Discretionary Fund, Foxboro Human Services, Council on Aging and the Rodman Ride for kids, scholarship awards, donations to worthy charities and organizations, and much more.
We also have a web site where you can see pictures of our many community service projects (including the haunted house)! Check it our at home.ici.net/~fjaycees.
Of course, most people know the Jaycees from our haunted house. That event is the chapter’s number one fund-raiser of the year. All the money raised goes right back into the town. Simply put, the more we bring in, the more we can sponsor events like those listed above. The better we do at The Haunted House each year, the more we have to give back to the town.
Because of the Haunted House, the Jaycees can afford to run our Road Race for community development rather than our own ways and means. In September, Bill Gaffey’s granddaughter will be the beneficiary of the proceeds from the fun run.
The Jaycees have never shied away from hard work and doing more than our share. Two times at the old State Hospital Haunted House site, the septic tank needed to be repaired. Jaycee Tom Saran and his committee did the impossible —twice—and got new tanks installed in time for the opening of the haunted house.
Last year, the Jaycees had to leave the State Hospital because new state-mandated sprinkler systems and other new regulations would cost over $120,000. Undeterred, the Jaycees went to plan B, and secured the Camp Lincoln Hill location. For months, the Jaycees descended on the site. Jaycee Lynda Walsh, last year’s chairman, and many, many Jaycees, did an extraordinary job in a few short months and made the impossible happen on Oak Street. The Jaycees would still have a haunted house.
Many members pulled over-niters there, working round the clock to get things ready. I remember stringing wire for the new outdoor speakers with Sue’s cousin and Onsy. I thanked them for their help; they thanked me for bringing them to all this. They were having so much fun.
The move to the new location had an unforeseen benefit for Foxboro—Camp Lincoln Hill got cleaned up for free! Not just brush removal, but trees came down, electricity came in, paths were carved, shrubs were pruned, unsafe conditions were corrected, and trash and debris were removed.
Last October’s “Camp Fright, Foxboro’s original Haunted House” was a huge success, welcoming nearly 8000 people and giving us the majority of funds to run the rest of our community projects.
The next time you attend a Jaycee Concert on the common, or Santa on the common, or any of the many Jaycee events we offer each year, remember It’s all free (or, in the case of the fun run and pancake breakfast, It benefits a great cause). The Jaycees don’t make a profit on these events—they do it for you, Foxboro. And we’re all volunteers.
When you buy a Jaycee glow-stick on founder’s day, some ice cream or popcorn at our concerts, or one of our Christmas trees in December, you put money back into Foxboro.
If you can help the Jaycees in any way (especially with the upcoming Haunted House) or you are interested in becoming a member, call us at 543-0712 or drop by one of our general membership meetings, on the second Wednesday at The South Foxboro community Center.
Volunteers are always welcome—you don’t have to be a Jaycee to help. Our haunted house will begin construction in August. We can also use more people.
The town of Foxboro has always supported the good works of the Jaycees. Business such as Home Depot, Bradlees, Stop and Shop and many others have also been extremely generous with supplies and donations. We appreciate all of it, because the more support you give us, the more we are able to help Foxboro and provide these wonderful events for you.
Of this group, It’s been written, “If simply for their irrepressible spirit and determination to overcome adversity, the Jaycees really are the heart and soul of Foxboro.”
We hope to help Foxboro for many years to come. Please support us, stop by one of our events, visit our haunted house, and get to know us. You might find you’re just the member we’ve been looking for.
Above all, support your community volunteers. Not the just the Jaycees, but all volunteer organizations. They deserve respect and courtesy, because each of them are truly the heart and soul of Foxboro.