Tag Archives: Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce

How our city will, and should, look in the near and distant future

Baird_Lindsey Headshot 2By Lindsey Baird
Brown & Brown Insurance

Class 29 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

A transportation hub connecting our unique city to the expanse of the state and the world, the Scottsdale Airport seemed to me a fitting location to host Economic Development Day. Watching planes take-off and land, surrounded by hundreds of local businesses, drove home the idea that progress in our thriving city is ever-present.

IMG_5738Councilman-elect David Smith opened the day with his views of progress in our city. To some members of the community, progress means moving forward while essentially staying the same, not losing the essence of the city they have grown with and loved. As the day progressed, we were exposed to differing perspectives from the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, Scottsdale’s Economic Development Department, and others in public and private enterprise. We heard from multiple panels that discussed what current demographics look like in our city compared to other areas of the state, what is being done to attract business to the area and whom they look to attract, and what development looks like from each of these unique perspectives.

Throughout the course of the day it was clear the amount of pride and passion that exists within the citizens of this city. There certainly are various ideas and visions that exist about how our city will, and should, look in the near and distant future.

IMG_5739A great example of a unique perspective came from Dr. Dennis Hoffman, Director of L. William Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University’s Department of Economics. He shared with us facts and figures in a way that had us laughing and beginning to think differently about the numbers before us. While he had us laughing, our afternoon group exercise had us tackling issues associated with the Scottsdale Tourism Advisory Task Force. My group specifically looked at issues related to attracting young, well-educated and well-compensated professionals to our city and how to keep them here long term. We discussed transportation development as a key feature of this movement, as well as housing and ways to create a more urban downtown district while maintaining a unique identity that belongs solely to Scottsdale.

The information shared by our extremely knowledgeable lineup of presenters was bar none. I would also like to thank APS and CAP on behalf of the entire class for their sponsorship of this class day and for contributing to the wealth of information that was presented via their representatives who joined us!

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Understanding Youth

Mike Binder, Class 27
Marketing and Communications Manager, Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

Some of us are closer to the realities of youth than others. Many of my classmates are mere years away from actually being young, so the memories of youth’s struggles remain fresh. I, more often than not, see youth through the eyes of my own children, the youngest being 16. I am incredibly fortunate that the experiences of youth I see most often, through my daughter, are positive ones. The daily realities for many young people however, are much more daunting. That’s why Youth Issues Day was such an eye-opener for me, and for Class XXVII.

We began our day at General Dynamics, where New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development expanded the definition of “youth”. Entering this day, when I thought of Youth Services, I had a mental image of children from perhaps 5 years of age on up to twenty, lumping those younger into a separate category. Ms. Phillips showed us that infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers benefit from specific interactions and tools that help to develop a healthy brain and enter school ready to learn. There can be no understating the benefits these interactions give children as they begin their journey toward “youth”.

Teen Lifeline then outlined one of the most difficult realities of youth, Teen Suicide. When asked if anyone in the class had been affected by suicide, the overwhelming number of hands in the air was both shocking and heart wrenching. The incredible work they do is made all the more effective by staffing the facility with teens, many of whom have also been touched by this kind of tragedy. We discussed the statistics (Each year, nearly 26,400 teens in Arizona attempt suicide; and since 1985, Arizona has ranked in the top 10 states for teens who completed suicide.), risk factors (Divorce, relationships, pressure to succeed), and signs and symptoms (Ominous statements, depression, changes in behavior).  If you can find a silver lining in this very dark subject, it’s the strong success of the program and their volunteers, who donate more than 7,000 hours annually to assist those in need.

Our final area of study for the morning was that of Youth Mentoring. We met two groups doing incredible work: New Pathways for Youth (formerly Greater Phoenix Youth at Risk) as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters. Both groups outlined the very real need for role models in the lives of youths who typically come from a single parent household.

The organizatinos showed a video that demonstrated not only how much a mentoring relationship can do, but how it can also turn into a lifelong friendship. This was reinforced by class 27’s own Jason Ganawardena, who described the value he found in his experience with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. The two biggest themes from these guests were the overwhelming need for mentors (mentees can wait more than 2 years to get paired up), and the incredible rewards that the mentor receives in these relationships.

We enjoyed lunch with many of our next guests, Teen Peer Counselors from Workshops for Youth and Families. The teens at our table were bright, engaging, and eager to share what they do. After lunch, Frances Mills-Yerger, Ph.D., Class 16, the Program Director & Founder of Workshops for Youth and Families, outlined their mission to foster personal leadership and resiliency in youth and families. Their target is teens that seem perfectly healthy on the outside, but may be struggling with personal issues, friends and family on the inside. These kids are bombarded with mixed messages from parents, peers and the media; and the Workshops provide tools to expand social, emotional and life skills; negotiate new demands; and foster a healthy transition through the adolescent years.

To end the day, we took a tour of the Paiute Neighborhood Center, a former Scottsdale elementary school that now provides a safe and diverse environment where people from the adjacent neighborhoods can come together for social, recreational, cultural and educational programs and services. While we were there, the Police Department was showing their equipment, dogs and officers to a rapt crowd of local kids. The families of this neighborhood are mostly lower income, and are in need of the incredible services offered to them at Paiute including: Early Childhood (Bi-Lingual education, early childhood development, car seat education); After-School Programs (Sports, arts & crafts, math & science, tutoring and computers for ages 6-11); Teen Center (Homework help/tutoring, teen council, open recreational activities); Senior Center (Movies, excursions, exercise classes, potlucks, recreational activities); and Social Services (Translations services, notary, food boxes, clothing bank, information & referral). This facility, and the fine staff and volunteers who make it run, are in incredible asset to the city and to this neighborhood

My takeaway for this day was that issues for youth are much more complicated today than they were just a few years ago. It was eye-opening to remove the shackles of my narrow focus and business day, and see this need in our community. Thank goodness there are people and organizations dedicated to being there for those in need, to educate them, support them, and to catch them if they fall.

Youth Services Day was recognition of the challenges of youth, and a joyful affirmation of the spirit of the young.

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YMCA helps our community, you can help the YMCA!

By Jane Blacker,Class 19
Realtor, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty

Participating in Scottsdale Leadership is one of the best ways to enhance your leadership opportunities in the community. Since graduating from Class 19, I have had the good fortune of serving on the board of directors for Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce and Scottsdale Leadership to include a year as board president.

Currently I’m focused on building support for the Scottsdale/PV YMCA.  Each year the Strong Kids and Families Campaign provides multiple resources and funding for many different programs. The programs benefit infants through seniors. Our Golf Tournament is coming up!

Please register for the Scottsdale/PV YMCA golf tournament to be held on Friday, Nov. 16 at Stonecreek Golf Course starting at 7:30. Included with your registration is complimentary dinner and silent auction at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort the night before along with complimentary pastries and coffee, lunch buffet, and free practice balls at the tournament. And of course we’ll have many fun contests and prizes! To register, contact Tracy Vick at 602-212-6038 or tvick@vosymca.org.

If you are not interested in golf but would like to enjoy a wonderful evening for a great cause you may join us for food, drinks, and entertainment the night before the golf tournament. This gourmet dinner and silent auction will be held Thursday, Nov. 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort.

Golf rates are $600 for a Foursome
Individual $175
Just Dinner tickets for $50
**If you book a foursome or sponsorship package, additional dinner tickets are $25!

I truly enjoy serving on the Y’s board of directors and know our community is healthier because of its presence. I hope you also appreciate its value and join me at this FUNdraising golf event!

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