Young professionals from throughout Hardin County met to share information and ideas at the first organized meeting of the Young Professional Alliance on Thursday evening in Kenton.
The purpose of the gathering was to determine what the members see as the role of the new organization, said Jesse Purcell, Director of Chamber and Tourism at the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance.
The professionals range in age from 21-45 and share an interest in improving the community.
“We have to stick together because we are going to be together for many years to come,” said Jon Cross, President and CEO of the Alliance. “It is important that we help each other out.”
The Alliance had seen the need for such a group in 2015, said Cross, and had invited a group of 35 people to help chart how to create a successful program. Thursday’s gathering, said Cross, was just the beginning. The Alliance is hoping to see membership flourish in the coming years.
Dustin McCullough said he thinks the young professionals should set goals and find new approaches to issues.
“The younger generation is more open to changes in the community,” he said. “As a group, I think we can accomplish our goals.”
The guests then divided themselves into small groups to determine what type of goals they should address. Their concerns often dealt with those younger than them and convincing them Hardin County has a lot to offer coming generations.
One of the problems in doing that, said Dane Jeffers, is the fact there are not many houses available in the county where they would want to live and no business space for investments.
“If you want the future to be better, we need to convince young people to stay here,” said Jeffers.
The county needs to be honest about the problems here, said others, especially the drug issue, but create activities to bring the community together.
Many expressed ideas on the future of the organization itself. The Young Professionals should meet on a regular basis and welcome others to join in their efforts.
“We are an organization which could mesh with Farm Bureau or 4-H and make both organizations better,” offered McCullough. “We want to make this organization something people want to be a part of.”