My grandfather, James Coleman, Sr., started the original Jimmy Club in the 1930s while attending Tulane University and Tulane Law School. He would work with and train young boys in both summer and after school programs. He ran the Jimmy Club for ten years.
In 1962, my father, Tommy Coleman, and his two brothers, Jimmy and Peter, had the vision to recreate the Jimmy Club for boys. The facility, in St. Rose, Louisiana, 30 minutes from New Orleans, was the ideal location for the camp. There already was a very large clubhouse on the grounds, an Olympic size swimming pool and large fields surrounding both. This facility was the perfect setting for the second generation of the Jimmy Club. For four summers the three brothers ran the camp with help from their college friends from Princeton, Stanford, Principia and even Oxford. The activities offered were horseback riding, swimming, boxing, arts and crafts, football and cricket. Their younger sister, Dian, was the arts and crafts teacher and was quietly taking notes.
In 1966, when the boys graduated from college and began their careers, a dramatic change took place. My Aunt, Dian Coleman Winingder, started the Jimmy Club for girls. With her spirit and enthusiasm, she ran the camp for 25 years, from 1966-1990. The first summer there were 50 campers and each summer it grew until the final year reaching 350. Several thousand young girls in the New Orleans area attended the Jimmy Club and several hundred high school and college girls were counselors. I am sure that anyone who ever attended can remember their color group, the many songs, dance class, free swim, Pow Wow and those wonderful snowballs at the end of each day. Each summer there were always new things added: a new barn, new tennis courts or a new rope obstacle course.
I was born and raised at the Jimmy Club for girls and started as their mascot. I soon became a real camper, then a counselor and in 1990 became the Assistant Director. After college, I moved to Colorado and worked with children. The Jimmy Club has always been a part of me and now that I have returned to New Orleans with my family, I am excited to reopen the Jimmy Club for girls.
I am proud to announce the beginning of the third generation of the Jimmy Club. Many of the campers this summer will carry on the tradition as daughters and grand-daughters of the previous campers. If you are new to Jimmy Club it will soon be in your blood also. This year will offer many of the traditions along with many new and exciting activities and facilities.
Come join me in the new beginning of the third generation of the Jimmy Club for Girls.
Vanessa Coleman Miles