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10-05-11-fyp-logo.jpg“I need a change in my life, but can I really do this now … in my mid 30s?” This is the question that kept crossing my mind almost a year and half ago. I sat in my home in Raleigh, and re-flected on the past 15 years of my life spent in a city that watched me grow from a college kid into the woman I am today. Raleigh gave me an amazing college experience at Peace College, lots of great friends and memories and a starting place for my career. But as I grew-up, life changed, time passed and new journeys began for everyone around me … my friends were getting married, some becoming mothers for the very first time and others moving away for careers. Then there was me; a young, successful professional involved in my community but unable to feel like I had planted my roots. I had been contemplating the idea of moving back to Fayetteville. It was my hometown, my family was still there, friends I grew up with were moving back. Fayetteville was familiar and comfortable. But of course, as with any major life change such as this one … I couldn’t help but wonder … will it be easy to get involved? Will I make friends again with these people that I hadn’t seen in years? Can I make a difference in the community?

Two nights later, I went to my 10-year college reunion for Peace College. It was there that I ran into Jenny Beaver (a longtime hometown friend and fellow Peace alum) and Kirk deViere. Deep into conversation and catching up with one another, I brought up my idea of moving back home to Fayetteville. Jenny and Kirk were “all for it” and expressed much excitement for me. I told them of my hesitations and then Kirk made a defining comment to me, that at that very moment turned my de-cision to move back to Fayetteville from a “maybe someday” to a definite “Yes!” His words still resonate with me to this day. He said, “Raleigh is a large city with a lot of great possibilities, but Fayetteville is a smaller city with great possibilities. Would you rather be a ‘small fish in a big pond’ or a ‘big fish in a small pond’? Fayetteville is where you can be that “big fish” and where there are a lot of opportunities.”

Three months later, I packed up my life and took a huge leap of faith ... and moved back to Fayetteville.

Now fast forward a year and half and here I am in Fayetteville, incredibly in-volved, and I can say that my move home was the best decision I have ever made. Last August when I moved home, I made the decision to plant my feet firmly into the Fayetteville community. I transferred my membership from the Junior League of Raleigh to the Fayetteville chapter; I joined the Boys and Girls Club’s of Cumberland County Garden Party Committee to help plan its largest fundraiser of the year, and I joined the Fayetteville Young Professionals. It felt good to be firmly planted in a community. Then my roots began to grow. FYP became a key part of my life immediately. It continually allows me to network both professionally and socially with young professionals that are in the same place in life.

My roots keep growing … my circle of friends continues to expand with both old and new faces. A lot of these new faces I have met through FYP. My roots are now growing deeper. Today my involvements in the commu-nity continue to increase with the Boys and Girls Club, Child Advocacy Center, Cape Fear Studios, Junior League of Fayetteville, and now I sit on the Executive Committee of FYP as the Social Chair for 2011-2012.

Today, my roots are planted firmly in this community. I have found home again.

The Fayetteville Young Professionals is a fantastic avenue to network socially and professionally with young professionals in this community with like interests. We have bi-weekly meet-ups, professional development opportunities, and monthly social events. There are some great upcoming events to be apart of in FYP.

On Oct. 22, FYP hosts its 3rd Annual Halloween Hike in downtown Fayetteville. Please join us that evening dressed in your best Halloween costume. In November, join us “down by the river,” for our first Oyster Roast; and in December, come out to It’z for our annual Christmas Party … this year it is Tacky Christmas Karaoke, so join us in your tackiest Christmas attire and be ready to sing your heart out! These events are just the start of a great year of fun to come!

To learn more about FYP, please visit our website at www.fayyp.org. Get involved! Come join FYP! You too, can be the next “big fish!”

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