I’m not sure how many of you have noticed, but the month of November has a strong theme of thankfulness. I have dozens of friends on Facebook taking part in the 30 days of Thankful trend by posting a new item they are thankful for each day. And as we gear up for the holiday season, I can’t help but think many of you are the same way, whether you are sharing it through the wonders of the Internet or not. Here at the chamber, while I don’t want to bore you with a list of 30, I thought I’d share my top five.
Number one: I am thankful for our wonderful volunteers who help support all of the programs and events happening at the chamber. Hundreds of people lend their time and talent to graciously help us with a mile-long list of items. Without our volunteers helping to set up, tear down and work at our events, we wouldn’t be able to welcome the thousands of visitors we see at the chamber-hosted events each year. Volunteers help us to organize our programs like Leadership Oneida County, Young Professionals and I Buy Local. Our board of directors and Ambassador groups work as an extension of the chamber, reaching out to the community on our behalf, and their work is truly appreciated. Volunteers are the backbone of the chamber and without them, I don’t know what I’d do!
Second on our most thankful list could really count for 350 different items. I am thankful for each and every one of our 350 chamber members. Through their support each year, we are able to work on behalf of the Rhinelander community. Our members allow us to work to expand and promote all of the businesses and great features of the Rhinelander community. Through the support of our members, we are able to host great events, continue some amazing programs and collaborate with partners across the community, Northwoods and state and to continue to work to make Rhinelander a stronger community. The next item on my list is the staff I have at the chamber. It is true what they say about great things coming in small packages. I have a total of three staff members, only one of whom works full time, but you’d think we have a hundred with all the great things we accomplish at the office. My staff truly has a passion for what they do and helping the community. They want to not only do the best they can, but continue to do better. And they can list the benefits of being a member and supporting the chamber for days, so only ask if you really want to know!
Number four on my list is that I am thankful to be able to provide what I believe is a great list of benefits, resources and help to this community. When I talk to people about joining the chamber, I feel like I’m talking a mile a minute and I feel like I can’t ever truly communicate enough what I think your membership investment in the chamber helps us do. We want to make sure that people know about the great businesses located in Rhinelander. We work to promote tourism in the area and draw in visitors, such a huge part of our economy. Our website, Facebook, weekly newsletters, Area Guide and so many more activities help us reach out to potential visitors, and in turn, potential customers for so many of our chamber members. I work with so many other community-based groups on different projects and initiatives to keep our community moving forward and without the support of our members, none of that would be possible.
The last item on my list is having such a great community to live in and work for. The overall reaction I get on a day-to-day basis from the Rhinelander community is that they are pleased with the job we’re doing at the chamber. Now, that’s not to say we can’t continue to grow and improve, but when you hear people say that what you are doing is on the right track, that makes you feel like the work you are doing, the programs you are supporting and resources you are providing to businesses in our community are on the right track. The chamber truly is a community organization, and if we didn’t have the support of those of you living in and working in Rhinelander, the chamber could not be successful.
Now trust me, it was hard to narrow my list to just five, which is a great problem to have. If you are interested in learning what it means to be a member of the chamber, give me a call. Or if you want to lend a hand at one of our events, give me a call! And don’t forget to stop and think about what you are most thankful for this holiday season.