Community Resources

Developing a better, stronger community one program at a time.

Over the years, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce has taken an active role in the facilitation and development of key community programs that assist in making Jefferson County a better place to live for all residents.

If you would like more information about any of these programs, please reach out to our office!

Community Programs

Christmas in Jefferson County

Christmas in Jefferson County is a program of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce that brings together all the resources of the community to provide food and toys to needy families of Jefferson County. The Chamber of Commerce and Family Resources Center coordinates all the activities and utilizes businesses, neighborhoods, churches, civic clubs and each school in Jefferson County. With the help of over 200+ volunteers, the Chamber brings together all these resources to provide assistance. In each of the past several years, over 550+ families and elderly citizens received Christmas food baskets and 500+ children received a bag of toys from the Angel Trees placed throughout the community.

Each October, individuals and families needing assistance (food and/or toy box) MUST REGISTER during the three-day registration period (NO LATE REGISTRATIONS ACCEPTED). Each school sends home a letter with the registration requirements, location, dates and times; also, the information is posted on the Chamber’s Event Calendar and Standard Banner Newspaper. If you are unable to make any of the three registration days, please call the Chamber office or Family Resource Center before the last registration day to see how we can assist you.

This program operates as a committee and is divided into two divisions: food and toys. Fred Taylor serves as Chair for the food and toy division, Fonda Garvin as Chair for the volunteers, Karen Blomdahl as Chair for the registration division and Donna Yates as Administration Chair. Anyone interested in serving on the Christmas in Jefferson County committee should call the Chamber office at (865) 397-9642.

There are dedicated days to food drop-off and to toy drop-off at the National Guard Armory in Jefferson City; volunteers and the National Guard Armory are scheduled on these specified days to help inventory & box each item. Please have your donations available on the designated day to ensure as many people in the community will receive this great gift.

To learn more on how to Donate, Volunteer or Register, please call the Chamber office at (865) 397-9642 or Family Resource Center at (865) 397-4466.

Donations payable:

Christmas in Jefferson County

P.O. Box 890

Dandridge, TN 37725

CJC is a non-profit program under a 501(c)(3)

Leadership Jefferson County

Leadership Jefferson County community program logo

Mission Statement

Develop leaders who will have a positive impact on the growth & development of Jefferson County.

The Organization

Leadership Jefferson County is a program of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. It was formed in 1997 from the Chamber’s Leadership Development Committee to design, implement and administer a program to meet the leadership needs of Jefferson County.

The Program

The Leadership Jefferson County Program is designed to create community awareness, encourage discussion of a wide range of issues, and develop leadership skills among participants. The Leadership Program consists of a one and one-half day retreat in the fall, eight top-oriented one-day sessions, and a graduation ceremony in June. Presentations include lectures, panel presentations, tours and a wide variety of group activities. Participants are given the opportunity to explore issues of interest to our county by meeting with county leaders who represent a broad range of community interests.

The opening retreat provides structured exercises and presentations that explore theories of leadership, problem solving skills, and community goal-setting through group discussion and analysis. The one-day seminars, held monthly from October through May, focus on major areas of community life in Jefferson County. Class participants are required to attend the opening retreat and each of the sessions to graduate from the program. The completion of various homework assignments, group projects, and individual projects relative to program topics are also requirements of graduation.

Goals & Objectives

  • Identify a larger, more diverse group of potential leaders to motivate and develop their awareness of their community.
  • Provide leaders with a practical, clear and simple understanding of major challenges and opportunities facing Jefferson County.
  • Foster attitudes of increased commitment, cooperation unity and participation among communities for the long-term benefit of Jefferson County.
  • Formulate and implement an action plan to provide solutions to challenges and take advantage of opportunities to improve the quality of life in Jefferson County.

Program Topics

  • Agriculture
  • Business and Industry
  • Education
  • Local Government and Justice
  • Health Care
  • Human Needs and Services
  • Heritage and Tourism
  • State Government

The Participants

Leadership Jefferson County actively solicits applications from all sectors of the community. These leaders will be active in areas such as business, education, the arts, religion, government, community-based organizations, and ethnic and minority groups. The Leadership Jefferson County class will be chosen so that is reflects the diversity of the county. A maximum of 15 people will have the opportunity to participate in Leadership Jefferson County each year. Participants are selected on their own merits through an application process with final approval from the Advisory Board.

Critieria for selection include:

  • Applicant must live or work in Jefferson County.
  • Applicant must show sincere commitment, motivation, and interest in serving the community.
  • Applicant must demonstrate a record of service in community activities.
  • A diligent effort is made to select participants who represent a cross-section of the community in terms of sex, race, age, occupation, location, and community groupings. The diversity of perspectives among participants generates some of the most meaningful personal interaction and learning in the leadership program.   

Tuition and Dates

Tuition for the Leadership Jefferson County Program is a total of $525 per participant; $425 of the tuition paid by the participant’s employer or sponsoring organization and the participant paying the additional $100 of the tuition.

Youth Leadership Jefferson County

Mission:

To develop young leaders by building individual leadership skills, fostering positive group dynamics and increasing civic and community involvement to equip the next generation of young leadership with the tools necessary to be civically engaged in the development of Jefferson County High School and the entire community.

The Organization

Leadership Jefferson County is a program of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. It was formed in 1997 from the Chamber’s Leadership Development Committee to design, implement and administer a program to meet the leadership needs of Jefferson County.

History:

Youth Leadership Jefferson County was established by the Chamber of Commerce in 1998 as part of its Governor’s Three Star Program. It was the class project of the first LEADERSHIP Jefferson County program and the Chamber served as its presenting sponsor. In 2001, Louis Vesser, Vice Principal of Jefferson County High School and a Chamber Board member, asked the Chamber to consider making the program a full-time class at JCHS. Daryl Brady, Chamber President and CEO, obtained the approval of the Chamber and the Jefferson County School Board while Mr. Vesser wrote the state’s Dept. of Education for approval of the curriculum. Today, the class is taught during the spring semester and begins with a retreat featuring speakers from the Chamber and team building exercises. Ms. Brandy Arnold, a LEADERSHIP Jefferson County alumnus, serves as the class instructor along with JCHS Principal, Scott Walker.

The Program:

Youth Leadership Jefferson County is an accredited class offered at Jefferson County High School for rising juniors during the spring semester. Class size is limited to 25 students and the selection process is highly competitive with both a written application and personal interview. The class meets each day for 1.5 hours during third period from January to May. In addition to rigorous classroom work in a diverse curriculum, the class has outside assignments including required visits to meetings of the following legislative bodies: County Commission, City councils, School Board, and Planning Commission. The program concludes with a graduation ceremony in May for both the students and their families.

Retire Jefferson County

We invite you to take a few moments to understand why so many people choose Jefferson County, TN, for their home.

Enjoy the ease and security of a small town with convenient proximity to larger metropolitian areas like Knoxville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Nashville. It is a step back into history and southern hospitality.

Imagine yourself relaxing lakeside and gazing at the mountains, taking a quiet walk through one of the historic towns or challenging yourself to a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Jefferson County is an ideal place in which to spend your golden years. Its location places you minutes from Knoxville, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and to interstates that can swiftly move you to destinations further from home.

We are a growing community that maintains its southern values and beautiful natural scenery. The citizens take great care and watch out for each other. Friendly faces and warm smiles will greet you no matter where you are. Jefferson County is a place that can return you to your roots and keep you turned in to the modern world at the same time.

Jefferson County has access to two of the largest lakes in Tennessee. Douglas Lake is in the southern portion of the county and Cherokee Lake is in the northern portion of the county. Both lakes have several access points with docks, marinas, boat ramps, campgrounds and parks. Each lake provides its own unique charm and provides some of the most fertile waters in the Southeast.

Wanna know what people are saying about us:

“My husband and I moved to Jefferson County in 2011. The milder climate was a big motivator. We were tired of being housed-up all winter. We love to golf, hike and take the boat out. We bought a motorcycle and enjoy driving through all the back-country roads.” – Linda P. from Ohio

To request information, visit www.retirejefferson.com or contact the Chamber office to request a relocation, retirement or visitor packet.

Jefferson County is a proud partner of Retire Tennessee. To learn more about the Retire Tennessee program, visit www.retiretennessee.org.

Three Star Community

History 

Jefferson County has received the Governor’s Three Star award for 25 years. From this award, the Chamber has developed such programs as Leadership Jefferson County, Youth Leadership Jefferson County, as well as Imagination Library

Overview 

The Three-Star Program is designed as a road map to assist local communities in their effort to acheive excellence in community and economic development. Participating communities are guided through a comprehensive plan of essential criteria developed by collaboration of various state agencies. These combined efforts have made the Three-Star Program an important component of our Chamber’s economic strategy.

Committed to the Future of Jefferson County

This program is designed to help communities take full advantage of economic development opportunities. The goals are to preserve existing employment, create new employment opportunities, increase family income, improve quaility of life and create a strong leadership base.

Certification Process 

To achieve Three-Star certification, communities must complete a formal review and evaluation process conducted by a team of economic and community development (ECD) professionals.

Recertification Process 

Three-Star Communities are recertified annually to ensure each has maintained the basic program requirements and added new elements to expand or enhance their development plans.

Five Steps to Three-Star Status

  1. An ECD team member works with the community to meet certification criteria.
  2. The community develops, then submits to ECD a strategy documenting that the criteria have been met.
  3. The review team evaluates the community and makes recommendations on how to improve economic competitiveness.
  4. The review team recommends Three-Star certification to the Governor.
  5. The Governor personally presents the Three-Star Award to the community.
Imagination Library

In Jefferson County, over 1,800 children ages birth through five receive a free book each month through the Imagination Library.

The county was one of the first to participate in the program, founded by Dolly Parton in 1996 as a gift to the children of her hometown of Sevierville, with the Jefferson County Chamber being the initial presenting sponsor for this program. The state and local communities joined as partners in 2004, and to date Imagination Library has provided over 109 million, 29.4 million in Tennessee alone, books to children without cost to their families. Today we are also proud partners with Governor Books from Birth Foundation.

68.3% of Tennessee’s children under five currently receive Imagination Library books.

Currently, 43 percent of Tennessee third graders are reading on grade level. Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out later.

In a recent study conducted by the Urban Child Institute, research showed that programs like the Imagination Library lead to early childhood language development, school readiness, grade progression, on-time graduation and college attendance.

Donna Yates of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce coordinates the Imagination Library program locally. For more information about enrolling or giving a monetary donation, please call (865) 397-9642 or email us.

To learn how to support your county’s Imagination Library program, or for information on how to register a child, visit www.GovernorsFoundation.org, www.facebook.com/TNImaginationLibrary, or call toll-free at 1-877-99-BOOKS.

more than a membership
IT’S A PARTNERSHIP