Jay Focus Group History - How it Began - the future!



The Jay Focus Group, 501 (c)3 Non Profit Charitable Organization, was born out of a Focus Group Workshop held at the Jay/Westfield Elementary School on November 7, 2007 with over 40 townspeople attending. One committee brain stormed ideas relating to finishing the renovation of the Town Hall and how best to utilize the building for the community. A second committee talked about Communications, Signage and construction of the Town of Jay web-site. A third group, the largest of the three, brain stormed ideas on the best utilization of nearly 300 acres of land given to the town of Jay by the VT Land Trust in 2005. Since the inception of the "Jay Focus Group" many townspeople have come together to raise funds, work on town events and look to the future of the town of Jay.

The Jay Focus Group Board of Directors was formed in October, 2008 to not only research non-profit status, but to keep communications open with all the different Focus Groups members, events and fundraisers. When the Jay Focus Group was formed in 2007, members had no idea it would lead to becoming a Charitable Organization. But after just a year of fundraising for the Jay/Westfield Elementary After School Program, The Jay Area Food Shelf, the Jay Community Land Trust, Jay Community Center, Annual Children's Halloween Party and the Jay Volunteer Fire Dept members found that more and more businesses required a 501 (c)3 designation for donations and sponsorship.  The process began in April 2009 and notification was received in September 2009  that the Jay Focus Group was awarded  501(c)3 Charitable Organization classification under the Internal Revenue code, as of April 30, 2009.

Once the Jay Focus Group attained 501(c)3 status, various committees (Land Trust & Jay Community Center) were transferred to the Jay Select Board for stewardship and guidance. During summer and fall you can find many people hiking, walking, and mountain biking in the Jay Community Recreational Centre; winter brings people on snowshoes and cross country skis. Since 2005 many volunteers have worked hard to make the Jay Community Recreational Centre a reality. Todd Alix, Mike & his son Casey Pappalardo, Linda & Mike Brady, Doug James, Jeff & Laura Romanowski, Jeff & Harold Morse, Denis Desjarlais, Peter Fina, Chris Young and most of all Sally Rivard (Land Trust Chair). Many projects are on the burner for the park, as it all takes time, manpower and money. As of September 14, 2009 the Jay Community Recreational Centre is overseen by the Jay Select Board and JCRC volunteers

On December 1, 2008 the Jay Select Board asked Pat Sanders to  head a separate Signage Committee under the auspices of the Jay Select Board to look into new signs for the Town Hall. In January 2010, Pat received a 50/50 Grant from Signs-A-Rama in South Burlington, VT for a new Town of Jay lighted changeable lettering sign for in front of the Jay Town Hall. The sign was installed August 20, 2010. A Welcome to Jay sign was installed in October 2016. 

The Jay Community Center is now a reality. The Jay Community Center Committee  now under the auspices of the Jay Select Board  is working to find uses for the center that would include wellness, exercise and activities for all ages. The Community Center will also be able to be rented for a nominal $25. fee to residents for meetings, gatherings and  social events. 

The jayVT.com website is also under the auspices of the Jay Select Board and maintained by volunteers.

The Jay Focus Group, now an independent organization, has raised funds on a yearly basis for the Jay Area Food Shelf (covering the towns of Jay, Westfield, Lowell, North Troy & Troy), Jay Volunteer Fire Dept, Jay/Westfield Elementary School Enrichment Programs, Jay Community Center, Jay Athletic Association, NCUHS Visual Arts Trips to Europe & NYC Program, NCUHS & Jr High Music Programs,  annual area Children's Halloween Party,  JCRC Annual Easter Egg Hunt, JCRC Leprechaun Scamper/Romp, Knights of Columbus Coats to Kids Program, Annual Orleans County Snowmobile Safety Course and the Green Mtn Farm to School Program.   We have also donated funds for the newly developed (2018) BBBSVT of Orleans & Northern Essex County, Halo Foundation, North Country Hospital Paliative Care Program, Troy PTA,, Troy Fire Dept,  Old Stone House Museum, Orleans County Seed Program, Rotary Club of Newport, VT and the VSO.
The Jay Focus Group now offers a Community Service Scholarship to an Orleans County Senior for continued education as well as an opportunity for an Orleans County Elementary or Junior High School student to go to a Summer Camp of their choice. 

Our annual fundraisers include Super Tag Sale,  Jay Summer Fest, and Jay Oktoberfest. Our grant writer Denise Rossignol is tireless in seeking grants from foundations to help sustain our mission.

In 2020 the Jay Focus Group has their own website www.jayfocusgp.com Please do visit us for fundraisers, news and updates. 

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