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Where’s Your Third Place?


The Bridge Builders Community Foundation hosted an excellent event yesterday. Along with representatives from non-profit representatives from Venango and surrounding counties, I attended the Wealth Transfer Symposium at Seneca Hills Bible Conference. The basis for the conference was a presentation by  Barry Denk, Director of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania about the projected Transfer of Wealth in Pennsylvania that is projected over the next 50 years and the potential impact this has on our communities. You can read the report.

There was an abundance of interesting and useful information shared by Barry and other presenters. The challenge posed to all was how you will build the relationships in your community that will move people to include your organization in their planned giving, now and in the future. This is definitely not a “cold call” approach.

I was particularly interested in comments made in the afternoon presentation by Larry E. Haynes, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania & Eastern Ohio. Larry talked about our “Third Place”.  For most people, your first place is home and your second place is work.  Defining your third place may be very telling as to what could motivate your giving. Your third place my be an actual place, like your church, library,service organization or recreational facility.

Your friends and family will look for you at this place if you’re not at home or work.  A community may benefit from establishing where there are third places throughout the community and using these as a focus for development on programming and funding.  It may be worth considering if your organization serves as a third place?

Here’s an interesting video project by Rapid Growth that asks “Where’s Your Third Place?”

Networking-Are You a Bit Rusty?


Networking! Seems all the buzz these days, but is it all they say? For most Chamber members, the first thing that comes to mind when you say network is mixers.  For many, these get togethers provide a great opportunity to meet up with community members and peers, but for others they are a dreaded obligation.  If it’s the later, likely there’s a convenient excuse to beg out.

I have found that although mixers and other face to face gathering are a good (sometimes great) experience for me, there is tremendous value in my online network.  I’ve had the pleasure meeting other chamber professionals with great wisdom to share.  So, here’s a great post by Beth Bridges, Membership Director of the Clovis Chamber in California.  I hope it inspires you as it has me.  Enjoy!

OCHS Mixer – Into the Future!


OCASDThis evening members of the Venango Area Chamber had the opportunity to take a glimpse at just a few of the changes going on at the Oil City Area School District.  Anyone who gets close to the High School complex  will see the evidence of improvements in progress, which includes the nearly complete stage one of the new football field and track. Tennis Courts have been resurfaced, the new high school office is well underway and the addition of the second floor of the middle school has begun.

All of this is reason enough to be celebrated in the community but the real change is taking place inside the classrooms and extends , well, wherever the students go! Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, each student grades 9-12 were issued a laptop or notebook computer, as part of the new one to one initiative.

At this evenings mixer, teachers explained how they have changed the way they introduce curriculum. Science teacher Tim Spuck demonstrated the potential for creating “citizen scientists” and Spanish teacher Becky Leta shared her goal of creating a paperless learning environment. Scott O’Donnell, an English teacher, shared how creating an online school newsletter is providing students with a variety of learning experiences while merging academics and technology.

Visit The Oiler online

Of course change does not come easy. Teachers continue to receive training to implement these new technologies and patience is demanded of all, as the dust settles on building renovations.  All of this is great news for the business community of  Venango County as our students prepare to become our future workforce.  Our thanks goes out to Principal Scott Stahl and other staff that assisted with the mixer.

Read more at the Venango County Daily News

Maven or Connector?


During a meeting I attended today a reference was made to someone being a maven. A quick explanation reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s use of the term in “The Tipping Point”. You can check out the reference in Wikipedia for further explanation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maven.

I’ve always had a bit of a tendency to seek out information (to the extreme) about my current passion, with a strong desire to share with others. Early in my life this would have involved music, needle arts or painting and then with the introduction of really cool technology my interests changed. But the best part has always been the sharing. Gladwell suggests that when mavens meet “connectors”, things really start to happen. Ah, the conflict for me. Am I a connector? Or am I a Maven? What are you and how can you use your influence for good? How can we identify the mavens and connectors in our community, to drive positive change, to find our “Tipping Point”?

I Just Don’t Have Time! Not to…


I attended a Social Networking workshop this morning, coordinated by the Small Business Development Center and the Northwest Commission.  There were about 25 attendees and their experience ranged from beginner to very experienced.  OK, I admit that I count myself the latter. Even at that the amount of information exchanges was overwhelming.  I left the workshop with two pages of notes and a list of new contacts to follow up with.  So when I here people say they just don’t have time for Twittering and Facebook, Linked In and YouTube I have to respond that I just don’t have time to wait and then try to catch up later.  As today’s presenter reminded us, building your networks for ROI will take some time.  So what’s keeping you from getting started?