Junior Achievement President Jennifer A. Connolly presents Douglas Crane with the Founders Award in recognition of Murray Crane's establishment of the youth business program.
Volunteer recognition awards were presented, including to Richard Alcombright of MountainOne, who has been working with Drury High School students in North Adams.
Julie Pelletier of RSVP has volunteered at Stearns Elementary in Pittsfield, helped coordinate the JA program and, more recently, is teaching crocheting at Putnam Vocational Technical Academy in Springfield.
Alissa LaMotte, human resources specialist at Interprint, has been volunteering since high school.
Vicky Layden, sales and marketing manager at Molari Inc., has been offering a career success program at Taconic High School in Pittsfield.
Crane Museum Director Jenna Ware demonstrates how paper is — using a few modern shortcuts.
Douglas Crane says JA is one of his great-great-grandfather's 'most enduring and most impactful actions.'
DALTON, Mass. — A century ago, Sen. Winthrop Murray Crane joined with two other prominent business leaders to create an organization that would help prepare young people for careers in an industrialized society.
Junior Achievement, now an international organization, has touched the lives of more than 100 million young people since it founding.
On Friday, Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts recognized Crane's role in its success by presenting a Founders Award to one of his descendants, Douglas Crane, at the Crane Museum of Papermaking.
"Senator Crane felt very strongly that there was a need to instill a spirit of work and thrift in young people," said Jennifer A. Connolly, president of the Western Mass branch.
With Theodore Vail, president of American Telephone & Telegraph, and Horace Moses, president of the former Strathmore Paper Co. in Westfield, Crane established Junior Achievement as an entrepreneurial training program.
"They had a vision of an organization that will prepare and inspire young people to succeed in the changing economy," Connolly said. "Back in 1919, they saw that the economy was moving from agrarian base to manufacturing base. So they created the JA company program where young people come together to create a product and sell it."
Crane & Co. has been making paper in Dalton since the early 1800s; Murray Crane, as he preferred to be known, would land the "elusive" U.S. currency contract in the 1880s that it has held since, Douglas Crane said.
Murray Crane would also become lieutenant governor and later governor of Massachusetts and be appointed to the U.S. Senate, serving for nearly a decade.
He was small of stature but had an outsize impact, his great-great-grandson said, and was known for the advice and guidance he gave presidents, legislators and businessmen.
"And he contributed willingly of his time and advice, but only offering it upon being asked," Crane said. "As a politician, I'm unsure if we would recognize his intellect very often today. But our county, our state, and our country benefited from his guidance, and in many ways, for long after his withdrawal from public office, his commitment to public service persisted."
Junior Achievement is "one of his most enduring and most impactful actions," he said. "It is a testament to their foresight and their desire to help in the improvement of our community that these gentlemen chose to emphasize the importance of imparting business skills into the education of our younger population.
"The fact that their vision as a thriving multinational organization today, is due in large part to those who followed in their footsteps and fanned the spark of their concept."
Junior Achievement's triangle logo symbolizes the three sides that make it successful: educators, business and community volunteers. Its programs include financial and entrepreneurial courses, hands-on activities, and real-world applications of business theory.
Organizations have been critical in offering both volunteers and the monetary support to keep Junior Achievement going, Connolly said, including Guardian Life Insurance Cos. of America, Interprint, General Dynamics, Molari, MoutainOne Bank, Adams Community Bank, Integrated Eco Strategies, Retired Senior Volunteer Program and local colleges.
Connolly presented recognition awards to volunteers including Richard Alcombright of MountainOne, who has been working with Drury High School students in North Adams; Julie Pelletier of RSVP, who has volunteered at Stearns Elementary in Pittsfield and more recently is teaching crocheting at Putnam Vocational Technical Academy in Springfield; Alissa LaMotte, human resources specialist at Interprint, who has been volunteering since high school; and Vicky Layden, sales and marketing manager at Molari Inc., who has been offering a career success program at Taconic High School in Pittsfield.
Afterward, those in attendance were offered a brief tour of the museum by Director Jenna Ware and the children in the group given the opportunity to make and decorate their own pieces of paper.
"We really must recognize those who continue to advance the ideals and objectives for providing younger, aspiring people with supporting skills and a pathway toward reaching their dreams," said Crane.
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