Youth and opportunity

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By Jesse Osbourne


I spent a short amount of time living in Florida, but a few things stuck out.
One, you never know where you might see an alligator.

I first spotted one in a drainage ditch just off to the side of a city sidewalk.
I was riding by on my bike when I caught a glimpse of a tiny gator in the ditch. Not exactly how I expected my first alligator sighting to go.
Later, my roommate and I spotted a larger alligator in our lake.
After that, the boat sitting in the yard would remain there for the duration of our stay.
I’ll also never forget the enviable weather. My favorite part was bragging to my friends and family about how warm it was down South.
I walked around outside in shorts and a t-shirt at night in November. Ridiculous.
All that sunshine does great things for your mood, too. What a relaxing place to live, at times.
But on a serious note, another thing I remember is the Heartland Young Professionals (YP).
A co-worker was a member and often went on outings with them.
There were several times I would see them at the same restaurant after covering a Friday night football game.
They were great folks.
If you’re not familiar, YP is a group of young professionals in the 40-and-under age group.
When I returned to Kentucky, I found myself looking around for something similar to YP.
Well, it seems a Springfield version of YP has arrived.
Last Tuesday, I listened in on a meeting of 15 or so young professionals, the mayor of Springfield, the county judge-executive and the executive director of SWEDA.
The topic of discussion was the need for younger people in public service roles, in small business and in government.
Hal Goode originally told me about it and I immediately liked the idea.
At a certain age (teetering on the brink of 30 for this guy), when life is starting to settle down a little bit, it feels natural (at least to me) to start to want to make your community a better place.
I doubt that I am alone in feeling that.
So, what better way to cultivate those feelings than through a YP organization?
Whether this organization will use the YP moniker is unknown to me. I’ve heard a few things tossed around. I’m just using it for simplicity.
So, I, along with the Chamber of Commerce and SWEDA, encourage anyone 40-and-under to reach out if what I described sounds interesting.
Newspaper editors can be critical at times, but what is there to critique about trying to nurture leadership in my age group?
As I’m learning, there are numerous opportunities for a person to help out.
In the coming weeks, keep your eyes out for a story about the various opportunities and what is required to join in.
Let’s help make our community a better place.