County’s Chamber Launches New Pro­grams, Ex­pands Mar­ket­ing Ef­forts

McDonald County Press - - COUNTY - Sally Car­roll McDon­ald County Press scar­

The McDon­ald County Chamber of Com­merce is mak­ing leaps and bounds in progress as the or­ga­ni­za­tion seeks to pro­mote busi­nesses and services through­out the area.

One of those new ideas is a Student Chamber of Com­merce pro­gram that will uti­lize teens who want to gain valu­able work ex­pe­ri­ence. Chamber ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Charla Sue Brewer said the Chamber is be­ing gifted a great deal of man­power from the teens, who can carry out the day-to-day du­ties of the Chamber of­fice.

Most of the Chamber mem­bers find it dif­fi­cult to carve out some time to as­sist with cler­i­cal and pro­mo­tional work.

Sev­eral teens will be able to lend that kind of help and re­ceive credit via a high school class, Brewer said.

The ju­niors and se­niors will en­gage the com­mu­nity, pro­mote the Chamber of Com­merce and learn more about con­duct­ing oper­a­tions, Brewer said.

“It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing. I am pas­sion­ate about youth and try­ing to in­flu­ence and fos­ter them in the di­rec­tion they’re headed,” she said.

The pro­gram will be a long-stand­ing com­mit­ment and keep the mo­men­tum go­ing, Brewer said.

The Chamber also brought a new staffer on board last week. The pho­tog­ra­pher will as­sist the Chamber and be paid by the State of Mis­souri through the Sum­mer Job Pro­gram, Brewer said.

Call­ing it a “neat op­por­tu­nity,” Brewer said the staffer can bring needed help to the Chamber’s mar­ket­ing ef­forts.

Other plans call for open­ing the board meet­ings to all mem­bers, a change that will take place in Septem­ber. The meet­ings will be held on the sec­ond Wed­nes­day of the month at the old 71 Com­mu­nity Room in An­der­son.

The meet­ings will now give a busi­ness owner the op­por­tu­nity to show­case his or her busi­ness, and the Chamber will then pro­vide an ed­u­ca­tional re­source.

“We want to en­gage and add value” to the mem­ber­ship, Brewer said.

Later this fall, Chamber of­fi­cials will open the Pineville of­fice to Chamber mem­bers as well as non­mem­bers, to dis­cuss Chamber ben­e­fits and so­cial­ize. Brewer hopes the open plat­form will help drive mem­ber­ship and fa­cil­i­tate dis­cus­sion for such.

Chamber mem­ber Monty Muehle­bach, who serves as Sims Cor­ner Church pas­tor and owner of Cow­boy Cater­ing Com­pany, vol­un­teers his time as an am­bas­sador to help grow the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Muehle­bach is reach­ing the small busi­ness com­mu­nity, let­ting peo­ple know that they can change the out­come of a teen’s life by help­ing pro­vide train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion.

The Work­Force Pro­gram is of­fered in McDon­ald County and sanc­tioned by the state. Stu­dents work at se­lect lo­ca­tions and re­ceive free train­ing that en­ables them to tran­si­tion into a full-time po­si­tion upon grad­u­a­tion.

The pro­gram has been in play for quite some time. Muehle­bach be­lieves that keep­ing the pro­gram in front of peo­ple will help build par­tic­i­pants.

“It’s a dif­fer­ent ap­proach for get­ting the young peo­ple in­volved, to have jobs ready for them when they grad­u­ate,” he said.

Con­nect­ing stu­dents with po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers through the work-forceready pro­gram ben­e­fits all in­volved.

In ad­di­tion to the pro­grams al­ready in­sti­tuted, Muehle­bach be­lieves the new pro­grams be­ing launched will bring the com­mu­nity to­gether even more.

“We have some vi­able ideas that will con­tinue to hap­pen. It’s only go­ing to help,” Muehle­bach said.

The county used to be flooded with peo­ple who va­ca­tioned, floated the river and en­joyed the nat­u­ral beauty of the area. Of­fi­cials want to build on that theme again.

“We’re hop­ing to drive that,” Muehle­bach said. “It’s time to come back.”

“It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing. I am pas­sion­ate about youth and try­ing to in­flu­ence and fos­ter them in the di­rec­tion they’re headed.”

Charla Sue Brewer

McDon­ald County Chamber of Com­merce

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