Community bonding

The Dubuque Jaycees is best known for its community involvement, participating in everything from local food drives to international projects that create an impact and with an eye toward fostering self-improvement and leadership skills among young community members along the way.

It also has produced a friendship in a group of 13 local women that has been going strong since the early 2000s.

“I was a transplant,” said Beth McGorry. “So, I didn’t know a whole lot of people outside of work when I first moved to Dubuque. Not until I joined the Jaycees.”

Answering a call for deeper community involvement, it didn’t take long for McGorry to find herself among a group of like-minded individuals — among them, spirited women who also sought out a deeper community impact, as well as a bit of respite from keeping things together on the home front.

“It became a group for self-care,” McGorry said.

It also has helped see one another through times of great joys and great sorrows, such as love and loss.

“One of the most broken times in my life was when my mom died,” McGorry said, welling up. “My head was in a fog, and these girls held me together.”

Others have had one another’s back through marriage, divorce, career changes, health issues and, of course, motherhood.

“You need that time with your girlfriends,” said Libbie Bettis. “And now, we’re in a place in our lives where our older kids can watch each other’s younger kids when we get together. We all have those times when we need our girls.”

With ages ranging from 37 to 55, the women attributed part of their closeness to being able to draw upon each other’s life experiences.

“We’re all very different women, with very different careers,” said Lisa Foley. “But we all have the same values, and I think we found that working in a group like the Jaycees. We wanted something that gave us an opportunity to serve our communities, and we got that and more.”

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