Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Winters are simply better in TC

Guess what I would have been doing if I was still in Florida right now? I most likely would be either:

a.) Doing the same exact things I do during summer (run, lay on the beach, complain about how hot it is all the time)
b.) Shivering and cursing any temperature below 50 degrees -- 60 degrees is a cause to whip out the "winter coats"
c.) Wishing it was snowing
d.) Complaining that it isn't snowing

Meanwhile, in Traverse City, I am getting to experience outdoor activities that are not the exact same all year round. Yes, tropic temperatures may be great...but when you do not get the chance to get outdoors and throw on snowshoes, hop over the the local outdoor shop and rent some cross country skis, build snowmen (sandmen just are not the same...nor are sandcastles. There is always that one rude individual who feels the need to stomp them down. Always.), throw snowballs with your family and friends (again...sand balls are definitely not the same)..."winter" gets real old real fast.

Traverse City's winter may seem to go on a bit long sometimes, but I personally am glad that we actually have snow and are able to engage in fun outdoor activities. Sure, it's a pain to shovel and not the most fun to drive in, but at least we are not cursed to frigid temperatures with no snow at all. Places who experience that kind of winter are subjected to weekends spent indoors wishing it was warmer outside.

Plus, we get to have winter festivals and go ice skating and are able to tell all of our out of town friends that "Yes, it really is still snowing." or "Eh...probably another 6-12 inches, no big deal." The benefits are endless!

So, I've said it once and I'll say it again: enjoy your Traverse City winter. It won't be around for a whole lot longer (or shoot, maybe it never really know!).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Get Involved -- State Theater Volunteer Shifts

I could write a blog about how cold it is outside and how I don't remember what life without a down coat is like (seriously. I have one in both black and khaki. They go down to my knees...the khaki one kind of looks like a trench coat, which is great because if all else fails I can solve mysteries.), but instead I am going to make sure everyone is aware of a wonderful volunteer opportunity that the Young Professionals program offers.

Let's start out with a few very important questions:
1. Do you enjoy making new friends?
2. Do you enjoy volunteering and supporting local establishments?
3. Do you enjoy free movies at The State Theatre?
4. Do you enjoy eating a whole bunch of popcorn & sipping on some free soda?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you should consider volunteering at The State Theatre! The Young Professionals work concessions and help to usher every fourth Tuesday of the month. You get the opportunity to interact with movie-goers, help out a well-known Traverse City establishment, mingle with other YPs, and most of the time you are invited to watch the featured film during your shift!

...and did I mention free popcorn and soda? Or that you receive a free voucher to a future show?

The weather may be on the chilly side, but the State Theatre is nice and warm. You can sign up for a shift and check out other YP events right here.   The next opportunity to volunteer is next Tuesday, February 26th. Argo is playing. You really cannot go wrong with Argo.

We hope to see you at future State Theatre volunteer events and at the Young Professionals meeting tomorrow morning (Thursday, February 21 -- 8am at the Chamber).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Attention: New Guest Bloggers Needed!

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being "mehhhh" and 10 being "that sounds like a great opportunity!"... how interested are you in being one of our 2013 TCYP Guest Bloggers?

For those of you who are not aware or are new to the blog, we have a guest blogger on the first week of each month to spice things up a bit. We love allowing our YPs to share their unique experiences so that our readers can see how well rounded the TCYPs really are (see -- we aren't just making it up!).

We are currently on the hunt for a few more guest bloggers for our 2013 calendar year, so please read the following qualifications and if this sounds like something you were born to do (or that you'd just be a good fit for... I tend to be a bit dramatic), please email me at

1. You must live in the Traverse City area
2. You must be a member of the Traverse City Young Professionals program
3. You must be between the ages of 18-40 (although you would have had to already cover this requirement in #2)
4. You have a unique story to tell that would interest readers -- whether it be how you came to live in Traverse City, why you stay here, anything in relation to your own personal experience with TCYP.
5. Please be able to keep your blog post interesting.If you wouldn't want to read something, chances are your readers won't either.
6. Type like you speak. Blogs are meant to tell a story and allow you to utilize your own voice. I have a whole lot to say and anyone who knows me is aware that there is a really great chance I'm going to ramble...hence why I type out my blog posts the way I do.
7. You have to care about Traverse City and all that it has to offer. If you're writing about the area and the YP program and you aren't actually a fan, you're not going to fool anyone. It's going to show. Passion is powerful
8. You cannot use the blog post to promote your business. This is not the place for that -- if you happen to have an exciting job, we'd love to hear about it...but a blog post that is blatantly an advertisement for your organization is not what we're looking for.
9. You have to sing me a song while standing on one leg.

....#9 was a joke. But on a serious note, please contact me if you're interested! We'd love to have you on board.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Guest Blog: Valarie!

It is time again for another guest blog. This week's guest blog is brought to you by Valarie Handy (who is an extremely involved TCYP, especially with our volunteer-related events). Take it away, Valarie!

I’m a small town girl. I’ve lived in Traverse City my whole life. I didn’t even move away for college. I landed a great job right out of high school that has allowed me to plant roots in my hometown and I couldn’t be happier about the decisions that have brought me to where I am today. My position with USDA Rural Development has provided me the opportunity to travel throughout the country and the world. In my travels near and far I’ve noticed that more and more people are beginning to know of our little city tucked away in the north woods. As I get more involved in the community through the Traverse City Young Professionals and other avenues I am meeting more and more people who have moved here from other places.

When I was younger I remember hearing comments about “those people” the “out-of-towners” who were moving to Traverse City. I always liked meeting new people and hearing about the places they came from, but quickly learned that not every local Traverse Citizen felt the same. I thought that our community was improving how we treat newcomers until I recently heard a story from a friend who is working as a paralegal at a local attorney’s office and moved here from Boston by way of Colorado and Detroit. He told me how he was at work one day talking to a Traverse City native about a crime that had just occurred in our community. It was something that would have been rather small in the cities he had lived in, but here it was all over the news on the way into work. His co-worker’s reaction to the crime itself was not the disturbing part of my friend’s story. It was her comment after discussing it a bit. She said something to the extent of “see this is what happens when you people move into our town.” My friend’s reaction was “us people from the east coast who wear blue blazers with gold buttons?”

I was appalled when I heard his story. I realized that since I enjoy finding out about where people come from and how they came to be in Traverse City so much I began to assume our whole town was full of locals who want to share this community with good people from all over the world. I was wrong. Whether my friend’s co-worker meant her comment as a joke or as an “every outsider but you” sort of statement is beyond the point. We live in a country built on the premise that we are a melting pot and that’s what we need to continue building ourselves into.

I work with municipalities all across Northern Michigan on building, maintaining and adding value to essential community facilities. Someone I met through work once told me that invisible fences are for dogs, not people. I completely agree with that notion. It shouldn’t matter which side of a City or Township line you live on or whether you have lived in Traverse City your whole life or not. A good idea is a good idea. We all live in this community together so it shouldn’t matter who an idea comes from as long as it makes the community better as a whole.

Since the aforementioned story from my friend was told I was accepted into and completed the Leadership Grand Traverse program offered through the Chamber. There, I was pleasantly surprised to find that even as a Traverse City native, I still had a lot to learn about our community. As I continue learning, I just want to point out that everyone comes from somewhere. Whether you were blessed to be born in a beautiful town like Traverse City or you’ve made your way here through trials and tribulations from all over the country or the world, I’m glad you made it here. I look forward to working with you in whatever aspect of the community drives you. Thanks for making Traverse City your home.