The annual luncheon seems like a great time to share some of our big successes, so every January, I plop down in front of my office computer and sort through the last year’s activities. I am looking for highlights to share with our membership… things they may not necessarily know about their Chamber.
A few weeks ago, as I thumbed through the calendar and looked through my staff reports, I had an epiphany. I always knew our Chamber office did big things, but until I started compiling my list, I had just never realized just how much of an impact we make each year.
For instance… did you know that our Ambassadors raise scholarship money for Colby Community College through the Ambassador Classic basketball tournament each fall… and each winter Leadership Thomas County trains our next generation leaders through their annual classes? Well they do, and they have. These groups are equipping our kids for future success.
Last year our Diplomats were extremely busy! They raised thousands of dollars through BrewFest and then pumped that money right back into local charities. They were also instrumental in starting one of our area’s most popular summer events. (I can’t wait for you to see what they have planned for this year’s Sunflower Festival!) In the midst of all of that, they also operated a clothes closet for people who need interview clothes, which was such a great idea that a state agency called to ask if they could take it over. Talk about leadership!
Our Young Professionals group is growing and ready to help young people make those vital professional connections, and encourage them to stay in Colby and call western Kansas home. They have a really large project in their sights and if they succeed, it could mean big things for Colby and Thomas County.
Our Downtown Business Association is working with the city to come up with plans to revitalize downtown, and our Board of Directors have identified five areas they want to focus our efforts on, including tackling the workforce shortage and helping our nonprofits as they serve our community.
In the last year the Chamber has been instrumental in getting groups together and getting conversations started. It’s a role we take seriously and one we embrace whole-heartedly.
As we were packing up at the annual luncheon last week, a member came up to me. ‘Wow,” he said. “I didn’t realize just how much you guys did and how much of an impact you make.”
To be honest, my friend, I’m not sure I saw the full picture until last week either, but I am proud of all the work our volunteers do.
And we’re just getting started.