On March 13th, I was honored to deliver a speech to the Optimist Club of Westfield, at their monthly dinner, at Echo Lake CC. When considering how to approach the task of writing my speech, I did what most do these days.... I started by looking at their website, http://westfieldnj.com/optimist.
I was struck by how the work that the Optimist Club accomplishes each year ties directly into some similar opportunities I was afforded, growing up. It was those opportunities, coupled with my ability and hard work, which led to the successes I have been fortunate to experience many times over.
By formally recognizing great teachers, the Optimist Club acknowledges that passion and creativity send a few teachers into the realm of being truly inspiring. The annual oratorial contest, for Intermediate school students, lends credence to the argument that public speaking is a worthwhile skill that will distinguish any person in any occupation, or vocation, in our society. And, like anything else... practice makes perfect, so best to start early!
Soliciting for high school Juniors and Seniors with long resumes of volunteer work demonstrates how the Optimist Club values teaching our youth to be productive members of society. And, Graduation BASH reminds all of us in the area that our young ones, although quite close to adulthood, are still vulnerable, precious gifts. By offering up a wholesome, fun graduation evening the adults who plan and implement are modeling good choices, and leading our youth by example.
In the end, my speech, which initially was called to be a review of what is going on at our Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce, ended up only being partially about that. My speech ended up being about how honored I felt to be speaking to a group doing such good work. And, I tied in the fact that those very values that the Optimist Club apparently holds dear, overlap greatly with our values at the GWACC. Those values include: strong work ethic; passion for a purpose; volunteerism; and community focus.
This year, the GWACC hopes to roll out a new initiative called the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. We are in the planning stages, so more information will follow as we gain business sponsors and details. The program is planned to be offered up to high school students in our area, and will give them the opportunity to develop a real business! Stay tuned!
Heather L. Robinson is the executive director of the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce.
For over 60 years, the GWACC has been working to promote the economic prosperity of the businesses in our area. The GWACC is simply a community of business owners, and operators, who have relationships, and support one another.
We at the GWACC understand that there are compelling business reasons for business people in adjacent towns to build relationships with one another; to identify opportunities for partnering, to make referrals, and to buy from one another. Our members are primarily in Westfield, Garwood, Mountainside, Fanwood and Scotch Plains.
The GWACC hosts 2 street fairs a year in Downtown Westfield and operates the Westfield Farmer’s Market. Our monthly open networking events--one in the early morning and one directly after work--serve as an opportunity for current members to network with each other regularly, and for prospective members to come see what we're all about.
For more information about the GWACC, please visit our website, www.westfieldareachamber.com
, where you will also find links to our active Facebook and Twitter accounts. You may also call our office, (908)233-3021
, to speak to staff directly Monday through Friday between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Our office is located at the top of the Bank of America building, 173 Elm Street, 3rd
Fl, Westfield, NJ 07090.