Imlay chamber seeks help for 2008 Blueberry Festival
I recently saw "The Lion King" musical stage play, which was excellent, but not my point really. Though, the 'Circle of Life' theme may help illustrate my comments concerning the current state of the Imlay City Chamber of Commerce.
In the three years I have volunteered on the Board of Directors and in my brief stint
as interim director, it has been interesting to learn what the chamber is, what it is does and how we can improve it.
What is a Chamber of Commerce?
The main component of the chamber is its membership—businesses, service organizations, individuals. It is a non-profit organization which depends on the contributions from membership and fundraising to pay the bills— everything from salaries, taxes, and utilities to festivals, promotions and printing, just to name a few. The more members we have, the more services and opportunities we can provide. Circle of life.
The board of directors recently revised its purpose to four main objectives, and I will paraphrase: To find a common, clear voice of chamber members and to share that voice with local and state governments, and with each other; to provide assistance to local businesses through such tools as technology, workshops and promotional activities; to work together with other organizations through networking and other events; to welcome and assist new businesses and to promote Imlay City in general. This is what most Chambers of Commerce strive to accomplish.
The challenge lies herein: One director, eleven board members and a dozen volunteers can hardly get the job done to everyone's satisfaction. To those businesses and individuals who have volunteered, joined, and donated in the past, thank you. Research says you are probably active in other civic organizations as well. To the rest, read on.
We will very soon be introducing a new director to the Chamber, which is exciting in the sense that change can bring a fresh new energy and purpose to an organization. The new leader will be immersed in the day-to-day tasks of bill paying, phone answering, letter writing, order placing, newsletter production and long range tasks of fundraising, membership drives and event planning. May I encourage our community to have patience and understanding during the transition time with the new director? I would also invite positive and helpful, community minded people to step forward with support for the Chamber of Commerce and to volunteer for 2008 events.
The most visible event in past years has been the Blueberry Festival, which has become an overwhelming commitment for the basically volunteer staff of the chamber. Though we are planning a festival for 2008, at the same time we are examining every aspect of it, and we invite the community to an open meeting presented by the Imlay City Chamber of Commerce, Monday, January 28 at City Hall at 7 p.m. for the purpose of hearing new ideas and forming committees.
Please thoughtfully consider getting involved—there isn't a better time to get started. If you cannot attend, please put your thoughts in writing and send to Imlay City Chamber, 150 N. Main.
Yvonne Wilson, Interim Director, Imlay City Chamber of Commerce
January 23, 2008