Thursday, July 2, 2020
Young Professionals to Hold a Networking Party
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Matt Gelso, the co-organizer of the young professional’s networking meet, won the 2018 Boulder Mountain Tour.
   
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

The newly established Wood River Valley Young Professionals are holding a post-holiday networking event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, at Ketchum’s Limelight Hotel.

The event is designed to offer young people an opportunity to meet their peers and build relationships that will benefit their social life, their careers and the community.

The organization was founded following two public brainstorming sessions attended by 85 people.

 
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Courtney Hamilton addressed Sun Valley Economic Development’s Economic Summit during a session called “Our Future: Can the Next Generation Live the Dream?”
 

“I’m excited to get this group organized to not only unite those who are feeling isolated in our valley but also to work together as fellow young people to build a strong and vibrant next generation for our valley,” said Co-organizer Courtney Hamilton.

Matt Gelso is organizing the event with Hamilton.

“Today’s young people are tomorrow’s community leaders and business owners,” he said. “This group is looking to provide the foundation for young people’s consistent engagement in our community.”

Anyone is welcome to join, although the focus of the group is on the valley’s under-40 population. The Limelight will sponsor the event with free food.

Hamilton, a Ketchum City Council member, broached the idea of a young professionals network at Sun Valley Economic Development’s annual Economic Summit held at Sun Valley Resort in late October.

She voiced concerns that the Wood River Valley could see a significant economic and cultural decline if young people can’t find a way to make a sustainable living in the valley.

“People are sticking it out in hopes of making it,” she said. “At the end of the day, we’re a ski town  and that’s what brings young people here except for those who grew up here. But we struggle with the question of how we keep people here. And the biggest issue with that is jobs.”

She proposed the idea of a young professional’s network that could lobby for change that would keep the Sun Valley area special. And she pointed to the Young Professionals Network of Steamboat Springs, Colo., initiative as a possible example.

“There also needs to be more young people on nonprofit boards,” she added. “I know a lot of organizations in this room have been trying to get young people on their boards. And nonprofits are a huge part of this community.”

Christy Anna Gerber, who oversees the Ketchum Innovation Center, has no argument with that.

“You can effect change in a small town when you show up to a city council meeting,” she said.

Those planning to attend the meeting are encouraged to take a short survey ahead of the meeting so organizers can understand the group’s dynamics and interests. The survey is at www.wrvyoungprofessionals.org.

For more information, visit www.wrvyoungprofessionals.org or email wrvyoungprofessionals@gmail.com.

 

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