Great Bend is making a revived effort to get young working adults involved in the community by reorganizing the Barton County Young Professionals group. To show prospective members what it’s all about, the group will have a free membership mixer from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, at Straub International, 214 SW 40 Ave.
There will be free beer and appetizers, and everyone who attends can receive a free year of membership in the group, said Rachel Mawhirter with the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development, the sponsoring agency for the Barton County YP group.
Membership isn’t just for white collar employees, she said. "The demographic we’re targeting between 21 and 40 years of age is made up of hard-working, motivated individuals who may want to show their employers that they’re a part of something bigger."
Membership is normally $30 a year, but the group is waiving that fee through 2012 as part of its revitalization effort, said Kristy Straub, YP committee chairwoman. Members can attend social events including four business mixers a year, where they can network and learn more about a local business. There will also be four luncheon programs offering professional leadership training.
"YP membership looks great on a resume and those who complete the leadership training we offer will receive a certificate for their professional portfolio," Mawhirter said. She hopes employers in Barton County will encourage employees to join the group and assist them in their ability to attend events.
There are YP groups in several Kansas communities, including Wichita, Hutchinson and Topeka.
"Every community needs a Young Professionals program, and ours has been severely lacking over the last few years," Straub said. "We’re going to work hard on getting this group involved in the community."
At a time when civic organizations are losing members, Straub considered what would make young professionals want to join.
"Young people want an opportunity to network, to grow personally and professionally, and to give back to the community," she said. "The new format for the Barton County Young Professionals group will give them those opportunities."
Members will receive other benefits, such as half-price meeting room rentals and discounts at local businesses.
For more information about the Young Professionals program, contact Mawhirter via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, find the group on Facebook, or plan on attending the mixer on Nov. 18. Straub International can be reached by going 4 miles west of Great Bend on U.S. 56 and turning north on SW 40 Ave. (Airport Road).