Chamber launches Charles County Proud initiative
Residents in Southern Maryland have a lot to be thankful for in their community and the Charles County Chamber of Commerce is showing people why it’s more than OK to be proud of where they live and work.
Billie Stachura, chair of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, says a new initiative, Charles County Proud, is more of an attitude — a positive attitude.
“I was so pleased, that despite all that has been going on in the country, how diverse Charles County is, how small community minded we are, and how we don’t have a lot of the problems that a lot of the other places have,” Stachura said. “People smile at each other here and I’m proud of that. That’s how Charles County Proud evolved.”
Stachura said that a few residents were not fond of hearing Charles County referred to as “Chuck County.” Although she has no issue with the nickname, she thought about ways to raise the bar and have the county referred to as Charles County Proud instead.
“When I mentioned the new initiative, several significant groups of people in the area supported and sponsored it, such as the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Military Alliance Council, the Charles County Department of Economic Development and the Charles County Public School System,” Stachura said.
Stachura said all of the sponsors — either an individual or business — are going to have Charles County Proud flags with the Charles County Proud logo on it and media promotion as a sponsor.
“We don’t spend enough time highlighting the positive aspects of living in this County,” said Brian Klaas, co-chair of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Military Alliance Council. “The MAC is a sponsor of the Charles County Proud and we want to see Charles County move forward. I wanted to be a part of it because we are advocating for a tremendous opportunity here in Charles County to improve the economic situation for all of the residents in Charles County. We really don’t like the idea that more than 40,000 of our residents have to travel out of Charles County for their employment. Lets start bringing those jobs back here, for people to be apart of the local economy.”
“As the county’s largest employer, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is honored to be a major sponsor of the Charles County Proud campaign,” said Virginia McGraw, chairwoman of the Charles County Board of Education. “Even our students are getting involved. Children in elementary schools are writing essays and secondary students are creating videos showing why they believe Charles County is a great place to live. CCPS is committed to quality education and quality of life, and Charles County offers both. We couldn’t be more proud of working and living here. Nearly 80 percent of our 3,500 employees live in Charles County. Many of our employees were born and raised here and are graduates of our school system. We serve more than 26,000 of our younger residents, and we want our children to know about and take pride in their county.”
“Charles County is a great place to live, learn, work and grow,” said school system Superintendent Kimberly Hill. “As a graduate of Charles County Public Schools and a longtime resident of Charles County, I am proud of our community and all that it offers. The Charles County Proud initiative will highlight our strong community spirit and give people a way to express their pride in where we have chosen to live and raise our families. I’m happy to be a part of this effort.”
On Sept. 20, Stachura said there will be a proclamation declaring October as Charles County Proud month.
Marcia Keeth, deputy director of the county’s economic development department, said October is the perfect month to designate as Charles County Proud month because there are some great community activities in the county which present a great opportunity to reach the residents and show off the new Charles County Proud initiative.
“As the northern part of the county grows and transitions to a more suburban-urban environment, people sometimes start talking about Charles County in ways that are negative,” Keeth said. “But with a lot of new families moving into the County we are becoming smarter, better educated, more of a professional community and the workforce available here makes it easier to show companies that they should move to Charles County. We will be focusing on opportunities to get the message out there, especially by putting stickers out there with Charles County Proud artwork that is visible, signs and other merchandise.”
The chamber and the economic development department are encouraging businesses and stakeholders to participate in Charles County Proud as well. There is a fee to become a sponsor and any interested individuals or businesses can contact the chamber at 301-932-6500.
The new Charles County Proud logo.