JCI excited for return of beach event

After taking a one-year hiatus, the Penticton JCI is hopeful they can bring back the Mr. Muscle and Miss Bikini contest.

After taking a one-year hiatus, the Penticton JCI is hopeful they can bring back the Mr. Muscle and Miss Bikini contest.

“It’s just in the process, so we are doing the paperwork with the city and we are trying to bring it back. We are really excited about it,” said Rylan Hernberg, Penticton JCI president.

After 28 years of awarding beach bods on Skaha Lake in the one-day Mr. Muscle and Miss Bikini contest, last year the JCI received an offer to do something else. The members voted to take part in the more family-orientated Driftwood Festival, but unforeseen expenses to run that event came up and it was eventually cancelled too. Hernberg said there are new members in JCI that are excited and committed to bring the Mr. Muscle and Miss Bikini contest back.

“There is so much work that has to go into it and I don’t think people realize that. It is a six-to-eight hour event, but there is hundreds of hours to make it run and the amount of people that need to work on it is challenging. This year we have new members and they are excited about doing it,” said Hernberg.

The signature event of the JCI raised $5,000 for the group in 2010 to help support projects like the JCI Summer Day camps offered through the Penticton Community Centre. Hernberg said JCI members heard from the public last year that the Mr. Muscle and Miss Bikini contest was missed.

“The community really wanted this event to happen again. Last year we got comments all the time from people wishing the event was still happening. It helps bring more business to hotels, restaurants and bars from visitors from Vancouver and Alberta who come to Penticton solely to attend Mr. Muscle/Miss Bikini. We listened to the community and are bringing it back on Aug. 5,” said Hernberg.

Hernberg stepped into his new role as president of the Penticton JCI chapter after being in the organization for over three years. He is excited about being elected to the role after all that JCI has done for him.

“There is excellent training here and especially for public speaking. Before I joined I would be absolutely terrified to do any public speaking. I recently spoke at the Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence awards and three years ago there is no way I would be doing that,” said Hernberg. “Also we learn about business plans, co-ordinating fundraiser, how to run effective meetings. These are all such valuable skills.”

Above all that, Hernberg said, giving back to the community is the most fulfilling.

“Joining the JCI has been the best thing I have ever done. I have seen myself grow so much compared to when I first started,” said Hernberg.

Projects this year for the JCI include the summer day camp for kids, Salvation Army food drive and a few new community initiatives. The JCI has committed to bringing more awareness to the Downtown Penticton Association graffiti removal program which provides paint and brushes for any service group, business or individual willing to remove graffiti in the downtown area. They also are working at bringing the Adopt-A-Road program to Penticton, where a business or service group choose a road to clean throughout the year. The JCI are also kick starting a program called dinner for people in need. This will help feed people in need once a month through the Soupateria. They hope to get local businesses and restaurants on board to help fund each month’s dinner. On Feb. 18, starting at 7 p.m., the JCI will be holding a fundraiser at the Best Damn Sports Bar to help with Soupateria and jumpstart their dinner for people in need initiative. Tickets are $20 and Hernberg said they are hopeful that they can raise enough money to host a turkey dinner at the Soupateria.

JCI is always looking for new members between the ages of 18 to 40, who want to make the community better and are willing to learn and grow. For more information email president@jcipenticton.com or visit www.jcipenticton.com.