Spring Time = Spring Fling Time!

With all this cold weather, it’s hard to believe that spring is just around the corner.  To help usher in this wonderful time of year, the Manatee Chamber is holding the Spring Fling Business Expo on Thursday, March 4th, at our Lakewood Ranch Office at the McClure Center.  Last year’s event was so much fun that we just had to do it again!  This year, though, we’re adding even more fun by holding a silent auction featuring items from many of our participating members.   I’m talking jewelry, vacations, restaurants, specialty services, and so much more!  We’ll also have Suncoast Gem Lab onsite to weigh your gold and write you a check…on the spot.  There is going to be so much going on you won’t want to miss anything!  And best of all, there is no cost to attend this event.

So come on out and join me for complimentary appetizers, music, cash bar, an opportunity to win some wonderful auction items, and network with hundreds of Chamber members and guests.  I hope to see you on Thursday, March 4th, from 4:00-7:00 PM, at our Lakewood Ranch Office at the McClure Center, 4215 Concept Court.

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Real Life 101 – Another Successful Year!

It’s hard to believe but Real Life 101 has come and gone!   There was a lot of scheduling and rescheduling, but thanks to nearly 100 awesome business volunteers, we covered all 105 eighth grade classes at 10 middle schools in Manatee County.  Real Life 101 is such a great opportunity to help develop the work ethic of our future workforce.  Here are some of the comments our volunteers shared about their experiences:

“Enjoyed all of it.  The experience was rewarding!”  SuAnne White, Tropicana Federal Credit Union

“It was an enjoyable experience.  I’d certainly do it again.”  Matt Ruch, Volunteer

“This was my first experience with Real Life 101.  I was a bit uneasy, but felt very comfortable with the students at the end.  It was a rewarding experience and I would do it again!”  Vera McGill, Superior Bank

“I enjoyed this.  The kids were great and really got into the activity.”  Ray Dweck, Northern Trust

“I had a wonderful group of gifted students that made some great observations regarding issues of accountability in fulfilling work orders.   Once they were done with their activity, we discussed feedback (giving and receiving) and communication skills.”  Bruce Willingham, LandMark Bank 

Not only did the volunteers have an enjoyable time, the students and their teachers had some great comments, too:

“Great Program.”  Teacher, Lincoln Middle School

 “I wasn’t sure what to expect at first…what a great program!  I support this effort 100 percent!”  Teacher, Braden River Middle School

 “Can we do this more than once a year?”  Eighth Grade Student, Buffalo Creek Middle School

So, with the storing of over 3,400 t-shirts, I bid a fond farewell to Real Life 101 and a huge THANK YOU to all our volunteers.  We could not accomplish such great programs without you!  (And thank you to student volunteer Logan Phillips for preparing all 3,400+ t-shirts for storage.)

Real Life 101…Preparing Tomorrow’s Workforce Today!

Do you remember your first job?   Were you prepared to be a successful employee?  Boy, do I remember how unprepared I was.  Most teens today starting out in the workplace have no idea what qualities make a “good employee.”   Sure, they learn a lot by just observing their parents; but wouldn’t it be nice if they were taught how important it was to arrive on time, or to be accountable for their productivity? 

Now they can!  You can help the Manatee Chamber of Commerce directly influence tomorrow’s workforce by volunteering for Real Life 101 the week of November 2, 2009.  During this task-oriented activity, eighth grade students are asked to deal with “real-life” workplace situations, such as punctuality, reliability, performance, and morale.  I love to see these teens work hard at overcoming some of the common pitfalls to productivity we see every day in the workplace.  You know some of those pitfalls…your co-worker calls out sick and you have to double your work load just to stay afloat.  Or better yet, they come in late to work because they were out late last night. 

Now you can help instill a good work ethic in our future employees.  Just complete this registration flyer and help today’s students succeed tomorrow!