A Letter from the President

Thank you.  Two simple words that mean so much and are so easy to underestimate.  Our League has been through so much over the past two years and while thinking on what “theme” I would like to adopt for the 2022-2023 year, these are the only words that came to mind when thinking of the extraordinary women that make up our League.  Thank you for leading, past and present, to make our organization phenomenal.  Thank you for staying to keep our League active and engaged in our community.  Thank you for keeping us strong in the face of so many unknowns that at times seem to never end.  Simply put, the Junior League of the Great Lakes Bay Region remains a phenomenal organization because of you.  Thank you.

I have had the privilege to serve in a leadership capacity for several years and have had the interesting, and at sometimes comedic, experience of reviewing a marketing survey that was done to gauge how the community viewed us.  The results varied from thinking we were a softball team to ladies who lunch in pearls.  The concept of pearls came up multiple times and it has always stuck with me on how this is not a negative thing.  I am a confessed lover of all gemstones and find the lore and process of how pearls are created fascinating.  

Pearls are the only gemstone that are not formed in the earth.  They are symbols of generational wisdom and divine feminine energy.  A pearl is created from a small piece of grit that becomes lodged in a shell.  The shell, not liking this rough around the edged addition, begins to coat this piece of grit in a beautiful coating until the grit is smooth and polished.  

Our League is a shell to our community.  We see an issue, or one is brought to us like the need for the CASA program 20 years ago, and we start to add our expertise, our coating, to the issue.  If there is a need for increased foster care legislation, our League has worked and testified for years to get better laws passed for youth throughout Michigan.  We share our wisdom, our passion, and our time to make the community a shining pearl for all to enjoy.

The League is also a shell for each of us.  It gives us layers of knowledge, experience, and practice to shine as leaders however we choose in our community and in our own lives. 

Pearls come in all shapes, sizes, and colors - each unique with layers of complexity and history.  No two pearls are identical and none are formed through the exact same process in the shell.  They are very much judged by their outermost appearance, even though there are layers upon layers of experiences that have happened to become what you see on the outside.  The same can be said for our members.  Who you meet this year as President of the Junior League of the Great Lakes Bay Region is not the same girl who grew up in a small town in the Thumb of Michigan.  A girl who had a lot to overcome.  A girl that would have given anything to know that one day she would belong to an organization of amazing women and be lucky enough to serve as the President for the 2022-2023 League year.  

For this, and so many more reasons, I simply say…Thank you.

Carrie Strohkirch
President 2022-2023