Chamber of Commerce addresses Lions Club

Published 1:28 pm Thursday, June 6, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

For their meeting in late May, members of the Bainbridge Lions Club enjoyed hearing from Mrs. Karen Tobin, President of the Bainbridge – Decatur County Chamber of Commerce.  To begin, Ms. Tobin introduced the people who serve with her: Mrs. Frances Edmunds is the Office Manager and Melissa Mills is Director for Events and Communications.  Since Mrs. Tobin took on the role of President in March, 2023, the Chamber has been prominently active in the community.  While grounded in the present, the Chamber is markedly forward looking.  They organize and manage several programs that are designed to develop leadership qualities among youth and young adults.

The First Port City Bank Youth Leadership Program graduated 29 students in February.  The program provides opportunities for high school sophomores and juniors to become well acquainted with various local businesses and industrial operations.  Students come from all three local secondary schools, and over the eight months of activity they merge into a cohesive group of people with clusters having various specific interests that develop from shared experiences.  There are 98 nominations for the 2024/25 class, from which 30 (which makes a busload) will be selected.  They will kick off the Leadership Program with a retreat in August.

The Bearcat Workforce NOW program is another Chamber investment in high school students.  The Chamber works closely with Sgt. Scott Morehouse, CtAE director at Bainbridge High School to coordinate curriculum and presenters from industry partners.  The goal is to match local industries with trained and qualified graduates who can embark on a productive and satisfying career.  That goal was achieved for eight students hired to work with local industries and recognized in the recent Chamber Connect Luncheon in May.

Email newsletter signup

The Leadership Decatur County will also begin in August, 2024, made up of 30 community leaders and professionals.  This upcoming program will be sponsored by the First National Bank.  In addition, the Chamber Ambassador Program is being reinvented to cultivate a bridge for current and new members with the wide array of benefits and services available.  A group of engaged volunteers will represent, promote, and encourage participation in activities throughout our community.

Several events sponsored by the Chamber are thoroughly enjoyed by the community, as evidenced by the participation.  The largest festival is River Town Days in March; this year, some 7,000 to 10,000 people enjoyed over 60 food concessions, arts and crafts vendors, activities for adults and children as well as a variety of entertainment.  In October last year, the Flint River Fair was enjoyed by more than 9,000 people attending over a five-day run.  In November, the spotlight is on agriculture; last year, more than 400 farmers and personnel associated with the agriculture industry enjoyed the AG Appreciation Luncheon.  The Southwest Georgia Tinsel Trail caps the year.  After months of preparation, the tree display is set up on the weekend of Thanksgiving and goes on until after New Years Day.

The Decatur – Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce is well known for an atmosphere of mutual support among the 430 members.  Recently, employment is up and there were 36 new members in 2023.  Recognition for a job well done is foundational for the Chamber: the group starts the year with a festive event during which awards are presented to outstanding leaders and businesses, promoting a “can do” self-image.  Everyone in the community is invited to become involved in local advancement in some way; just stop by the Chamber to find out which committee or program or event might match your interests — and come join your neighbors to see what we can accomplish together!