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Chamber seeks 'new blood'
Lykens group wants people 'with heart for community'
willing to take leadership roles

By Duane Good, EDITOR






Karen Perkins and Aaron Kennedy admire jewelry during last year's Glen Park Fall Festival. (Sentinel file photo

In summer, concerts. In autumn, a festival. Before Christmas, a tree-lighting ceremony.

No doubt it would be hard to imagine Lykens without these events.

It’s not something that members of the Lykens Area Chamber of Commerce want to imagine either.

That’s why a call is going out for fresh faces to come on board with the chamber, particularly people willing to serve in leadership positions.

According to longtime chamber members Kevin Jury, Don Sauve and Allen Trawitz, the organization is in transition as 2015 begins.

‘‘We’re at a crossroads with change in our leadership positions need for some new people to step up to the plate,’’ said Jury, the current president. ‘‘We’ve been fortunate that we always have people willing to serve in volunteer positions at our events, but now we are looking for people to be a major part of helping to carry some things out.’’

‘‘We are looking for ‘new blood,’ so to speak,’’ Sauve said. ‘‘Our goal is to keep the organization going and that’s what we think will do it.’’

At this time, the chamber is seeking a new secretary, vice-president and a president-in-training, someone willing to be groomed to eventually assume Jury’s responsibilities in running meetings and providing overall leadership.

Sandra Oxendine will retain the treasurer’s position.

The chamber meets the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m., either at the railway passenger station or one of the local businesses. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 5.

‘‘We have half a dozen to eight people in regular attendance at the meetings,’’ Jury stated. ‘‘Our hope and dream is for the chamber to continue on, but for that to happen, we need to have some new faces come on board in the area of leadership.’’

People in the community always are happy to help at the events, but at this point there is less interest among those people to assume a larger, leadership role, Sauve noted.

According to Jury, Sauve and Trawitz, these new faces need not reside in Lykens Borough, nor do they need to be a business owner in the community.

‘‘Just the desire’’ is what Trawitz called the chief requirement for anyone new.

‘‘The financial support from the community is always there; what we really need are active new members,’’ Jury noted. ‘‘We need people with a heart for the community, wanting to see it grow and prosper.’’

In addition to helping create and oversee events such as the summer Concerts in the Park and the annual Glen Park Fall Festival, the chamber bought and restored the former train station; secured the Family Practice Center for the community; and assumed oversight of the Memorial Day observance.

‘‘We took over the Memorial Day event because they were going to drop it,’’ Sauve said. ‘‘It’s not that we needed it, but our town needed it.”

“We put a lot of ‘sweat equity’ into a lot of things,’’ he added.

‘‘We’ve never had a nickel’s worth of dues, and this is after 30 years,’’ Trawitz said. ‘‘I think it’s remarkable that we have been able to get a lot of things together without charging dues.’’

‘‘As business people in the community, we had a stake in the claim, but we were never trying to run the town like some people may have thought,’’ Sauve said.

‘‘To be in leadership, you don’t have to be known at all; it’s not a ‘seek glory’ type of thing,’’ he added.

New leaders are needed to not only sustain the existing events, but to bring ideas to the table for new activities and new incentives to bring new business to town and enhance the community in other ways.

The men said the vice-president and president-in-training would need to be willing to work together and have one another’s backs when necessary.

‘‘When you both have businesses like Kevin and I did, it can be tough, but I was able to do what he couldn’t, and vice versa,’’ Sauve said, adding, ‘‘Al helped keep us all together.”

They said the secretary would serve as recording secretary for all meetings; send out all correspondence and other mailings; and take a supporting as the chamber plans and executes various events and other activities.

‘‘She would be the ‘go to’ person, the person any of us can call and ask, ‘Can you do this?’ ’’ Sauve said.

‘‘Having a personal computer can be a bonus, since you’d be able to do the work from your own home,’’ Jury added.

Regarding a time commitment, the monthly meetings typically are one to two hours in length, then there is extra time needed each month to assure that the necessary things are getting done, the men said.

Jury knows of organizations that carry on with less members than the fingers on one hand – only because for the membership, the alternative is unacceptable.

‘‘Some groups have two or three people hanging on, doing the work, because they don’t want to see things not happen,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s what it is – dedication to their community,’’ Sauve added.


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