The Virginia Beach Jaycees have planned, produced and staffed East Coast Surfing Championships. The VB Jaycees were first formed in 1948 by a local group of young men and were officially chartered as the Virginia Beach/Princess Anne County Junior Chamber of Commerce. The Jaycees have never been a political organization, but one that serves the community and offers leadership training.
Today, the organization is comprised of young men and women, ages 18 – 40, and provides development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change in the community. Training is offered in areas of public speaking, writing, management, professional networking, financial planning and much more. The Virginia Beach Jaycees are currently 40 members strong and have historically been one of the premier chapters in the state.
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The Virginia Beach Jaycees have a long history in the establishment of several important community projects. In addition to the East Coast Surfing Championships, the VB Jaycees are credited with founding the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad, Virginia Beach Library System, the General Hospital of Virginia Beach, the Flame of Hope Memorial and many more. A portion of the proceeds of CE ECSC are donated to VB Jaycees Charities.
Throughout the years, Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships has raised funds that support many programs in the community including but not limited too:
The primary goal of the Christmas Shopping Tour is to deliver, through presents under the tree, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters and their families that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive and patriotic citizens.
The objectives of the tour are to help these children and their families throughout Hampton Roads experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; and to contribute to better communities in the future.
The Flame of Hope monument was conceived in 1972 as a volunteer project headed by Attack Squadron 43 at Naval Air Station Oceana. The monument provided squadron personal with a means to express their concern for the Prisoners of War and Missing in Action (POW/MIAs) of the Vietnam War.
The monument was built by volunteers from Construction Battalion 415 and sponsored by the Virginia Beach Jaycees and Oceana wives of the “They’re Not Forgotten” Committee.
The Virginia Beach Jaycees coordinated contributions from the community which enabled VA-43 to obtain 50 cubic feet of cement, a propane gas tank, the 34,000pound centerpiece, and fixtures for the plumbing for the torch. The Flame of Hope was formally dedicated on Friday, May 22, 1972.
The original intent of the monument was to have a live flame light the way for the return of all POW/MIAs from Southeast Asia, after which the flame would be extinguished. The dream of those promoting the monument was that “the flame burn briefly.” However, as the war continued, the Flame of Hope became a rallying point around which the Oceans wives’ “They’re Not Forgotten” committee campaigned for greater awareness of the plight of the POW/MIAs among citizens and the U.S. Congress.
In February 1973, the first of 565 American prisoners were released as a result of the Vietnam Peace Accords returned home and it seemed like the dream to have the flame extinguished upon gaining a full accounting of those missing was drawing near.
When “Operation Homecoming” ended, the fate of over two thousand military men remained a mystery and the Flame of Hope continued to burn. However, the oil embargo of 1973 brought public pressure to extinguish the flame as an energy-saving measure. On November 20, 1973, the flame was extinguished over the objections of those who feared for a loss of awareness of those servicemen who were left behind. A decade passed before members of the “They’re Not Forgotten” committee were successful in stirring public concern when very few remains of missing Americans had been returned and over 2400 Americans remained in an unaccounted status. Their campaign succeeded on March 25, 1964 when the Flame of Hope was reignited.
On May 1, 1994, the Flame of Hope was rededicated as a continuous reminder that those who were killed or remain missing in Vietnam must never be forgotten. The Flame of Hope will continue to light the way for POW/MIA families to gain a better understanding of the fate of their sons, husbands, fiancés and fathers.