Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

April 21, 2022

Why I'm Glad I Joined Junior League - My New Member Year Recap.

       One of the biggest highlights of the past year for me has been joining my local chapter of Junior League! Junior League (JL) is a worldwide women's community service organization, and I had always wanted to get involved at some point in adulthood. Moving to Virginia Beach last summer seemed like the perfect time to finally join. I can say with certainty that joining Junior League Norfolk-Virginia Beach absolutely has 100% exceeded any expectations that I had about JL before joining!! It's been the most positive experience, and as my New Member year is coming to a close, I wanted to recap everything on the blog! 

New Member Retreat - September 2021

       Before I go any further, I should explain what Junior League is if you're unfamiliar. Junior League was founded in New York in 1901 as a local women's service organization. Other leagues popped up in years to come, and in 1921 all of the existing leagues joined forces to become the Association of Junior Leagues International. Local chapters continued popping up nationwide. Today, there are Junior League chapters in most US states, as well as international chapters in cities in Canada, Mexico and the UK! In the state of Virginia, there are currently eight active JL chapters (and Washington DC also has a chapter).

      I first heard about Junior League when I was in college. Charlotte has a really big JL chapter, and their headquarters was very close from where I went to school at Queens University. I remember thinking that it was something that I'd probably like to be involved with post-grad, as I thought JL sounded fairly similar to being involved in Greek Life at my college. I briefly considered joining local Junior League chapters when I lived in both Burlington, VT and Charlottesville, VA for work! But I always knew that living in Burlington and Charlottesville wouldn't be too long-term for me, and I wanted to wait to get involved in JL until I felt a bit more stable in my career. (For the record- if you join JL in one city or state, you can transfer to another chapter easily! So I totally could've joined in Burlington or Charlottesville and transferred once I moved to Virginia Beach. But for me personally- I am glad I waited to join until moving here!)


JLNVB Recruitment Event for potential new members - July 2021

       The Junior League "year" runs similarly to the school year- with things getting going in August, and wrapping up for the year in May/June. Spring and summer are the recruitment season for most JL chapters. A lot of JL chapters, including the one that I'm in (Junior League of Nofolk/Virginia Beach), only bring in a New Member Class at the start of the JL year in August. Some JL chapters in other places do take a New Member Class twice a year, in the fall and the winter. It worked really well that I moved to Virginia Beach in July, as the recruitment season was still underway! I actually went to a recruitment event at a local coffee shop in Norfolk just three days after I moved here- pictured right above! 😊 My longtime blogging friend Kelly-Anne from Crafty Teacher Lady also joined JL this year, and I actually met her in person for the first time at this event!

      Your first year in a JL chapter is your New Member year. You spend this year learning about your JL chapter's community service initiatives, and starting to get involved in volunteering efforts. There are also lots of bonding opportunities with other New Members! While you do get to attend meetings for your whole JL chapter, there are also New Member specific meetings throughout the year. 

     Below is a picture of my New Member Class!! It is such a diverse group of ladies in every way possible (ages, ethnicities, careers, single and married, moms and women without children). 

New Member Cocktail Party - August 2021

JLNVB Meeting, wearing JLNVB Be Bold shirts from a recent fundraising campaign - February 2022

      While I was so excited to join JL last year, I was a bit curious about the time commitment, especially since I was starting a new job. Would it be the type of organization where I had multiple things to do a week and most weekends? Would I be able to participate as much as I wanted to with how frequently I like to go out of town on the weekends? I'm so happy to share that I found the time commitments of my New Member year to be very manageable with working full time, blogging part-time, and everything else I do. On average this past year, I'd say that I had about three JL events per month. Those events are a mix of New Member meetings and general JL meetings (with everyone- not just New Members), local volunteering opportunities, and recruitment events. The JL calendar is so full- with things happening every week! That means that you aren't expected to attend absolutely everything. Out of town one weekend and missing a volunteer opportunity? That's totally fine- there will be plenty more things to sign up for the following weekend or on a weeknight.

      I have also found the financial obligations of JL to be very manageable. Your New Member year is the most expensive as there are some additional dues, but then things go down quite a bit in the years to come. Annual dues for my chapter of JL are a lot less than sorority dues were in college. There are also fundraising obligations that each member has to fulfill each year, but I have found those to be reasonable as well. Doing things like buying JL cookbooks and tickets to our events also count towards fundraising obligations! 

       And speaking of the cookbooks- that's a fun part of JL! Most JL chapters publish their own cookbooks that are filled with local recipes. I own two of the ones that my JL chapter has, and I also recently bought my first one from a chapter in another part of the country! I think I might start collecting more JL cookbooks from other places. 😊

Some of the New Member Class at the JLNVB Christmas Party - December 2021

JLNVB Recruitment Event for potential new members - April 2022

      There are so many things that I like about JL... but by far the best thing has been all of the amazing women I have met that have become my friends!! I couldn't think of a better organization to join being so new to this area. JL has truly made me feel at home in Virginia Beach. I've met so many awesome ladies who have become dear friends. And truly everyone that I've met in JL is nice and welcoming!! One of my favorite things over the past year has been signing up for events or volunteer opportunities where I don't recognize the names of anyone else going. Every single time I've done this, I meet new ladies who are just as wonderful as the JL friends I already have made. I can't vouch that every chapter of JL is as welcoming, inclusive, and friendly as the one I am in... but I can tell you that the friendships I have made have way exceeded what I thought it would be like. 

     If you're also a member of Junior League or were in the past- I'd love to hear about your experience!! And if you happen to live in the Norfolk or Virginia Beach area, come learn more about JLNVB and consider joining us.

       God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese


1 comment

  1. You know how much I love the Junior League! I’m so happy that your experience has been great as well!


Thanks so much for reading Southern Belle in Training! Comments make my day- so feel free to share your thoughts on this post! I read each and every comment.
If you have a question in regards to one of my posts, or just want to say hi, the best way to get ahold of me is by e-mailing me directly at: I am better about responding to e-mails than blog comments sometimes!

Blog Design Created by pipdig