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  • Writer's pictureCasey Ardoin

Looking to join Junior League of Lafayette? Here's what you need to know

Each Junior League of Lafayette Member starts her journey in the League as a Provisional, completing a year of training courses and meeting the requirements to become an active member.

The Provisional year plays a vital role in not only allowing new Members to create special bonds with each other, but ensures new Members have a complete grasp of all the innerworkings of Junior League of Lafayette and an opportunity to immediately plug in and make an impact, said Shalondra Lewis, Provisional Chair.

“The ultimate goal of myself and the Provisional advisors was to ensure that these ladies had an engaging year that allowed them to understand Junior League of Lafayette while making lasting memories,” she said. “It was important to us that the monthly meetings be not only educational but also impactful, fun, and memorable.”

Shalondra Lewis leads a Provisional meeting at Junior League of Lafayette's headquarters. As Provisional Chair, Lewis helps guide new Members in their onboarding year.

Torilyn Williams, a first year active Member, looks back on her Provisional year as an opportunity to bond and learn from her classmates.

“My Provisional experience was amazing! I met a great group of accomplished, like-minded women,” Williams said. “We all bonded immediately. We still hang together as a class all the time.”

In her placement this year on the Sponsorship committee, she experienced all of the hard work that goes into Tinsel & Treasures, the League’s biggest fundraiser, and learned more about how the League operates.

While Emily Bourque’s Provisional year was definitely unorthodox thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she still found connections.

“We didn’t meet each other in person until our March meeting, when we were well underway planning our provisional project. That being said, I think the experience really bonded us,” Bourque said. “We didn’t get to meet or interact with many active members, so we became pretty close as a group.”

Now in her second Active year, she’s helping young women learn the importance of volunteerism through her placement on the newly-created Spark Teen Board.

“Building a program from the ground up and working with these phenomenal young leaders of our community has been such a rewarding experience,” Bourque said. “I feel like I’m making an impact, and these girls are making an impact on me.”

Photos: This year's Provisional class helped with a Collaborative Opportunity Grants project at Scott Middle School's food pantry and packed period supplies for the HER. Committee.

Provisional Members must attend special training meetings in addition to the monthly General Membership Meetings. As they continue their journey to active membership throughout the year, Provisionals hear from representatives from each of the League’s councils to learn more about how the League works and prepare them for their first Active year.

Katrena King, Public Affairs Chair, said her favorite part of her first Active year has been getting to stretch and learn new skills.

“The League has continued to push me out of my comfort zone, while providing support along the way,” she said. “It has guided me to places I never imagined I would be, and I am better for it.”

King joined to be a more active volunteer, and says it’s been all of that and more.

“I saw the League as a structured way for me to plug in and help make a difference,” she said. “Junior League of Lafayette is more than just a group of women; it is a sisterhood that is connected by bettering the world around us, while bettering ourselves at the same time.”

The 2023-23 Provisional Class collected phone chargers for the Happy Wheels Cart at their "Friendsgiving" celebration.

Provisional Chair Lewis says that the sisterhood feeling is a core element of a new Member’s first year. At their “Friendsgiving” celebration, this year’s class collected more than 60 cell phone chargers to support the Happy Wheels Cart. Plus, they’re working diligently on executing an impactful and sustainable Provisional Project.

"I'm grateful to have the opportunity to introduce these ladies to an organization that will allow them to fulfill their need for a sense of belonging while living our values and ultimately moving Junior League of Lafayette forward,” she said.

Bourque said the best part about the League is that there’s a place for everyone.

“There’s room for people of all skill sets. It’s easy to give back to the community in a way that helps you grow and enhance your skills as a leader,” she said.

Williams’ advice for any woman considering joining Junior League of Lafayette?

"Do it! If you’re looking for a group of women to push, motivate, coach, and develop you, Junior League of Lafayette is it,” she said. “If you’re looking to serve the community and help others, Junior League of Lafayette is for you.”

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