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Kettering Jaycees Foundation

Friday Night Cruise-In

The Kettering Jaycees Foundation Friday Night Cruise-in began in the late-summer of 1994. Before then the Hail and Hearty restaurant on Woodman Drive hosted a Friday night cruise-in with radio station Oldies 94.5 providing music. The restaurant was closing due to development plans for the area.

The Kettering Jaycees was invited to take over the event with the understanding of their moving it to a different but nearby location. The local Jaycee chapter was not interested in pursuing the offer. At about this same time a group of former Kettering Jaycee members began in earnest to create a Foundation to further the community service goals of the Jaycees with the possibility of purchasing a building.

This collection of active people stepped in and began to organize and promote the cruise-in. The first step was to move the event across Woodman Drive to the Kettering Towne Centre. It was held on the east-end for a couple of nights then moved near the west-end in front of Sears Hardware.

This setup worked well for the rest of the 1994 season and the beginning of the 1995 season. Then development and construction once more made it difficult to conduct a cruise-in. Early in the 1995 season the event was moved to the Sugarcreek Plaza on Wilmington Pike. This relocation proved to be very successful with 95% of the participants following along. That same year the Kettering Jaycees Foundation was formerly created as a non-profit corporation in the state of Ohio.

The following season, 1996 was again a time for a new location due to construction. The cruise-in was moved to a shopping center at the intersection of Spring Valley Pike and Route 48. The Auto Zone management was very helpful in providing electricity for our equipment, storage for our food and supplies and the use of the restrooms. A much needed addition to the equipment was the purchase of a concession trailer. The event was able to remain there for two long years then was again displaced by construction.

The 1998 season found the Friday Night Cruise-in back at its roots – the Kettering Towne Centre. The extreme west-end and rear of the facility was now used exclusively by the cruise-in. The event remained at the Kettering Towne Centre until the Kettering Jaycees Foundation decided to pursue other opportunities and offered ownership of the event to others. During this 5-year period the Foundation donated funds to the Kettering Summer Field Studies (KSFS) program as well as other organizations. In 2001 the Foundation began to provide a $500 scholarship to a deserving, community-minded student in the Automotive Division of the Kettering Career Academy.

The Friday Night Cruise-in continued to flourish under new management. In 2003 the Kettering Jaycees Foundation began operating a concession booth at the annual Holiday at Home event. This endeavor continued, including the scholarship, through 2008.

Over the 14-year life of the Kettering Jaycees Foundation the organization was able to donate thousands of dollars to various organizations and deserving members of the community including the City Of Kettering Fitness Track at Delco Park; the Blind Veterans Association; the Kettering Police Department.

The hard work of hundreds of volunteers over the years, the generous contributions of the sponsors of dash plaques, and the cooperation of our hosts have all combined to create another example of the volunteer spirit that exists in the City of Kettering.

In 2008 the officers of The Kettering Jaycees Foundation – Dave and Mary Kinninger, Rick and Maryann Atkinson and John and Pat Tschirhart – decided to terminate the organization and donate the remaining funds to the Kettering Education Fund as an endowment to be used primarily for fees associated with attending the Automotive Division of the Kettering Career Academy.

Through the many years of selling hamburgers and Pepsi’s the Kettering Jaycees Foundation ended with a presentation to the Kettering Education Foundation of a check for $50,000.

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