Initiative #7: Pride, Engagement, and Attachment
These action steps are outlined in the Community and Economic Development strategy. Below are the action steps, but the full document includes the case studies, as well.
Enhance resident pride, engagement, and attachment to Greater Cheyenne by expanding opportunities to positively influence and impact the community.
Action 7.1: Launch the "Shape Cheyenne!" Challenge - a series of business and resident "challenges" to be coordinated over a weeklong period of giving, influencing, and shaping the future of the community.
Residents that are involved in their community and invested in its well-being through their own contributions and labor are more likely to be attached to their community, both emotionally and physically. Through an initiative that challenges residents and businesses to commit to a variety of community initiatives through voluntary contributions of time and money, Greater Cheyenne can cultivate heightened connectivity to and attachment among its residents. The Shape Cheyenne! Challenge is this initiative.
Shape Cheyenne is envisioned as both an initiative and a mantra. This simple phrase - "Shape Cheyenne!" - is a challenge to residents and businesses to get involved and shape their community for the better. The initiative would be characterized by three primary components:
A series of challenges associated with giving back to and investing in the community
A website to promote the initiative and match residents/businesses with giving or volunteer opportunities
A method - stickers and decals - to recognize contributions and demonstrate pride in Cheyenne
The first component - the Shape Cheyenne! Challenge - would represent an annual series of challenges issued to residents and the business community to proactively shape Greater Cheyenne's future through voluntary commitments to donate time and/or money to support high-priority community initiatives:
Cheyenne Gives!: a commitment to donate to a charitable cause or community initiative
Cheyenne Volunteers!: a commitment to volunteer time to a charitable cause or community initiative
Cheyenne Buys!: a commitment to buy local, finding an alternative(s) to a non-local retailer, supplier, etc.
Cheyenne Star to engage and shape the place they call "home." A contest with a small prize could be developed to solicit design concepts for stickers and decals.
Existing initiatives such as the Cheyenne Day of Giving and the United Way of Laramie County's annual Giving Tuesday provide a foundation for organizing concentrated community service. These efforts could be coordinated and incorporated into a singular Shape Cheyenne initiative or could simply be expanded and rebranded with support from relevant partners (i.e. Cheyenne Day of Giving rebrand as the "Cheyenne Gives!" component).ts!: a commitment to contribute to an angel fund or Kickstarter for a local small business
These are just examples of the kinds of challenges that could be issued to residents and businesses to support Shape Cheyenne! Tiers could be established within each category or challenge, providing an entry-level contribution (i.e. $10, two volunteer hours, etc.) and enabling choice at various investment levels. This could be supported by a simple system (i.e. bronze, silver, gold levels) and a method for recognizing those who contribute at a certain level (see third component).
The second component - a Shape Cheyenne! website - would promote the initiative and expose residents/businesses to a curated list of community initiatives that will be the recipient of that years' Shape Cheyenne! investments and volunteer hours. It could also be a way to recognize those who contribute to the Shape Cheyenne! movement.
The third component - a set of stickers and decals - could be used to recognize those who accept one or more challenge. For example, those who choose to volunteer sixteen hours could receive a Gold level "Cheyenne Volunteers!" sticker. Those who donate $100 to a community initiative or charitable cause a Silver level "Cheyenne Gives!" sticker. A set of "Shape Cheyenne!" stickers and decals could be created and made available to residents and businesses free of charge at various locations (retailers, restaurants, institutions, offices, retailers, etc.) throughout the community. If effectively branded and positioned, the "Shape Cheyenne!" mantra could become a badge of pride in Cheyenne that is recognizable along the Front Range, and serves as a reminder to residents to engage and shape the place they call "home." A contest with a small prize could be developed to solicit design concepts for stickers and decals.
Existing initiatives such as the Cheyenne Day of Giving and the United Way of Laramie County's annual Giving Tuesday provide a foundation for organizing concentrated community service. These efforts could be coordinated and incorporated into a singular Shape Cheyenne initiative or could simply be expanded and rebranded with support from relevant partners (i.e. Cheyenne Day of Giving rebrand as the "Cheyenne Gives!" component).
Action 7.2: Support the evolution of the Cheyenne Professional Network into a more inclusive and impactful catalyst for positive change in the community.
Young professional networks have grown immensely in recent years around the country, driven in part by the response of communities and business organizations to the battle for young talent. What were once social and professional networking organizations are increasingly evolving into more action-oriented organizations that enable young professionals to positively influence their community in a variety of ways. For example, Tulsa's Young Professionals (TYPros) have launched and manage their own business incubator - The Forge - in downtown Tulsa. The Northwest Arkansas Emerging Leaders (NWAEL) provide members with nonprofit board certification training and support direct placement on nonprofit boards to help improve community attachment and develop the next generation of leadership. Many other organizations have empowered their young professionals networks to create committees (also known as work groups, community crews, and other creative names) to focus on specific issues of interest to young professionals.
At present, two different efforts in the community seek to provide similar professional networking and community engagement opportunities to young professionals: the Cheyenne Professional Network and the United Way of Laramie County's Emerging Leaders program. Simply put, these two programs need not compete for membership or impact, and the community needs a single, well-resourced effort. Potential exists to bring the two programs and their memberships together in a way that demonstrates that both are "better together." With the United Way's support and ability to connect young professionals to service opportunities, and the Chamber of Commerce's support and ability to connect young professionals to business, professional, and employment opportunities, the two groups can create a stronger, combined value proposition to prospective members: the area's existing and potential future young professionals.
Potential exists to leverage a combined program to better cultivate attachment and enable young professionals to influence their community. Young professionals can be leveraged and engaged in a variety of projects and initiatives within the Forward Greater Cheyenne strategy, as well as many other community initiatives and opportunities. Some may be interested in advancing downtown revitalization (the Downtown Crew) while others could be interested in community beautification (the Cleanup Crew). Some may be interested in government affairs (the Advocacy Crew) while others may be interested in public art (the Culture Crew). Potential exists to expand the scale and scope of the Network as well; Forward Greater Cheyenne Steering Committee members have suggested that the community needs a more inclusive definition of young professionals that does not simply connote "suits." Ultimately, the existing membership of the Cheyenne Professional Network should chart a course for its evolution and pathway to heigt,tened impact; it is their input and buy-in that will dictate success. The membership simply needs to be encouraged, empowered, and sufficiently resourced to create a more inclusive and impactful Network.
Action 7.3: Launch a newcomer welcoming initiative: Around the Table.
Throughout the stakeholder input process, residents spoke of friends and colleagues that were relative newcomers to the community but who struggled to get connected professionally and/or socially, and as a result, are seeking residence or employment in a nearby community. These stories often centered on individuals in professional seNice occupations, military personnel, or health care professionals. With talent shortages facing numerous businesses and sectors - health care chief among them - an initiative that helps connect newcomers to the community could aid the community's newest residents in a variety of ways, from making connections that could aid a spouse's employment search to creating lasting friendships that help attach residents. Around the Table could be modeled after a similar initiative in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.