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Visioning for Ourselves & Our Community


Where do you hope to be in 10 years? What growth do you wish to see in your business in 5 years? What is your goal of a certain project you are working on for the next month?

You may have an idea in your head of what you want the future to look like, whether it’s for your personal life, career, or a smaller project or situation, and writing a vision can help make that happen.

On November 6, about 50 people came together at Wanango Country Club for a Zingtrain Workshop hosted by our Be Here initiative. Based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Zingtrain is part of a community of businesses that started as the Zingerman’s Delicatessen and has grown to add a coffee shop, bakery, candy shop, restaurant, and much more.

After spending years visioning for themselves and practicing great customer service, Zingerman’s added Zingtrain to their group of businesses with the goal to not only provide training to their own employees, but also to share what they’ve learned with outside organizations and individuals.

We brought Zingtrain to Venango County for a full day—half about “Creating a Vision of Greatness” and the other half on “The Art of Giving Great Service.”

You can learn more about our ZingTrain Workshop at beherevenango.org/zingtrain-visioning, and be sure to check out the “ZingTrain Tip of the Month,” a new feature in our 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletters.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s December 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

New Be Here “Youth Ambassadors”


Ashley Sheffer, Program Manager at the Venango Chamber, recently met with two local groups of students and trained them to be “Be Here Ambassadors.”

At Rocky Grove High School, Ashley talked to about 20 junior and senior high students of the gifted classes. These  students learned about Be Here and opportunities in the area, and participated in an activity to become official Ambassadors. The presentation was covered by The Derrick & The News-Herald and the story can also be found on the Be Here website at beherevenango.org/news.

Ashley then visited the eAcademy, a new program of the Venango County Economic Development Authority in collaboration with Clarion University – Venango focused on teaching high school students leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

The four students, all from different school districts—Cranberry, Oil City, Rocky Grove, and Titusville—along with teach Taylor Snyder, heard a similar presentation, then became Be Here Ambassadors.

Are you interested in your class, employees, or organization learning about the Be Here initiative? Ashley is happy to come in and speak to them! Contact her at (814) 676-8521 or acowles@venangochamber.org, and learn more about the initiative by visiting beherevenango.org.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s October 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Be Here Quarterly


Our Be Here initiative was launched in January 2017 with a goal to change the narrative of our region, attract and retain people here, and work together to help our area thrive.

There have been many topics that come up often, such as workforce, community development, and quality of life.

We’re hosting the first Be Here Quarterly on Wednesday, March 27, as a way to bring the community together and discuss challenges in our region and how we can work together to come up with solutions.

Learn more about Be Here Quarterly by visiting beherevenango.org/be-here-quarterly.

Youth Connection Seeking Mentors


BYOUTH CONNECTIONig Brothers Big Sisters of the Oil Region has become Youth Connection. After serving the community as an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), the organization has decided to disaffiliate from the National Association. Assisting them in their new venture as Youth Connection, they have partnered with The Mentoring Partnership of Southwest PA who will provide support, training and technical assistance.

Youth Connection will continue to serve youth in Venango, Forest, Clarion and Eastern Crawford counties as a program of Family Service and Children’s Aid Society of Venango County and continues to be supported by The United Way of Venango County. Jessica Walters, program director, noted that there are many ways to become involved with Youth Connection, including volunteering as a mentor. As a mentor, you will have the opportunity to make a connection with a local youth and empower them to be successful in every aspect of their life.

Another way to get involved is to join the Advisory Committee, which is always in need of dedicated community volunteers, or by donating to Youth Connection, where your contribution stays in the community. For more information, contact Jessica Walters at 814-676-9940 extension 28 or by email at jwalters@fscas.org.

 

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s November 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

When Furious, Get Curious


When Furious, Get CuriousWritten by Ashley Cowles, Be Here Program Manager 

“When furious, get curious.” This quote from Paul Saginaw, co-founder of Zingerman’s Deli out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, can be applied to multiple situations, including thriving in Venango County.

What started as Zingerman’s Delicatessen in 1982, has become 10 different businesses over the years, including a bake house, catering and events business, creamery, coffee shop, and more. The business has eight guiding principles, such as great food, great service, a great place to work, and strong relationships.

Much can be learned from such a successful and growing business, including the meaning behind the quote at the beginning of this article.

In an interview with Business Insider, co-founder Saginaw said: “The assumption that others are out to get us, that something bad happened because of others’ ill will or malice, rarely makes for anything productive. Learning to breathe deeply, get grounded, and be sensitive to others’ suffering can help get us back to a more productive place.”

Is there something about Venango County that makes you furious? Maybe you think a nonprofit organization should be using their money on different projects, a specific business should be downtown, or a community leader isn’t making the right decisions.

It can be easy to get frustrated with these things and assume they happen because people don’t have the community’s best interest in mind. As a result, you may decide to share your opinion to friends and family or on social media where the whole community can see.

While it’s important to speak out, we encourage you to also be curious and productive. To be curious means to be eager to know or learn something. Rather than remain furious  not do anything, here are ideas for learning more and taking action:

Do your research

Before forming an opinion about something you think should be happening, do research to see if it already exists. We live in a smaller area, but there is a lot going on and it’s hard to stay on top of everything.

Ask questions

Part of doing research involves asking questions like: Does this already exist? Who is making the decisions? Why is it done this way?

Meet with community leaders

The best people to ask questions to are the movers and shakers in our area getting things done. The county commissioners, city councilmen, chamber directors, and other community leaders know what exists or why things are done certain ways.

You also have the opportunity to ask these leaders how you can impact change in positive ways. How can you help them be better at what they do, or how can you develop into these leadership positions yourself?

Volunteer

The best way to get an understanding of what is here and how things are done is to volunteer for local organizations or events. If you aren’t happy with the flowers chosen to beautify downtown Oil City, volunteer for the Oil City Main Street Program’s Safe, Clean & Green Committee. If you would prefer the 5K during Applefest was run differently, help out at the Franklin YMCA during registration. If you don’t agree with the speed limits in your neighborhood, attend a city council meeting or call or write to the mayor or city councilmen.

These are just a few examples of ways to volunteer and get involved, which can help you get informed and have a say.

Fill the void

After doing research and learning why things are done certain ways or what exits, there still may be a void that needs filled. This is your opportunity to step up and become an active community member! Whether it’s planning an event, starting a business, or becoming an ambassador for our region, it takes a whole community to create change.

So, how will you get curious?

(This article was originally published on the Be Here initiative’s website. Visit beherevenango.org for related content)

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s September 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.