By Jared Lindell
Chautauqua County has plenty to offer young and old alike. For those who have left the area only to come back, this is certainly evident. However, there are still many students who leave the area with no intention to return. Why is this? Is it the perception that there is nothing to do, there is no work, and that nothing ever changes? These are all definite misconceptions that the Community Foundation tries to dispel. One way the Foundation has attempted to do so is by co-hosting a “Welcome Home Students” event with the Robert H. Jackson Center each December.
The “Welcome Home Students” concept began two years ago with the intent to invite area students who returned home for the holidays to a social event aimed at highlighting the Chautauqua region and all it has to offer. The main goal of the event is to let young individuals who have left the area know that there are, indeed, good, positive things happening in the county and that there are plenty of opportunities, should one choose to find them. There is no expectation that those who attend the event will turn right around and come back to Chautauqua, but it provides an outlet to increase awareness of the good things taking place.
This year’s “Welcome Home Students” event will take place on Thursday, December 28th at the Robert H. Jackson Center and will run from Noon to 2:00 p.m. The event is free to all college students, both undergraduate and graduate, who wish to attend, and the first 100 students through the door will receive a free t-shirt. The program for the event will feature two short presentations from local organizations. These organizations and presentations include: Peek n’ Peak, which will discuss tourism and their upcoming, large-scale renovation plan and the Chautauqua County IDA, which will talk on development and growth taking place within Chautauqua County. Both organizations will focus on the fact that there are fun places to spend your time, great places to eat, and that the area is growing.
For the community’s part in making this a successful and free event, a number of local area organizations have pledged their support. These organizations include: Chautauqua County IDA, The Resource Center, Peek n’ Peak, Lutheran Social Services, ChautauquaWorks, the City of Jamestown, WCA Hospital, the Board of Public Utilities, Jamestown Area Medical Associates, Buffamante Whipple Buttafaro P.C., the Morton Club, the Kendall Club, KeyBank, and the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce. All of these organizations firmly believe in the value of promoting the Chautauqua region and also hope that events such as this will help plant a positive seed with those who leave the area.
If you would like more information on this year’s “Welcome Home Students” event or wish to RSVP, please contact the Community Foundation at 661-3390. Again, the event is free and open to all college students. For those truly interested in the Chautauqua region or possibly returning someday, this event is a great place to learn about the many good things happening!