As the Fayetteville Young Professionals’ (FYP) second year comes to a close, I’d like to thank everyone who has joined, volunteered, sponsored and attended our many events this year. We’ve made new business contacts, learned07-06-11-fyp-logo.jpg new skills, made some memories and most importantly initiated lifelong friendships. 

When I joined the FYP steering committee two years ago at the request of the Chamber of Commerce, I never imagined that from that those 20 people who sat around a table planning, laughing and even arguing, that FYP would grow to almost 500 members. The Fayetteville Young Professional’s success is a testament to the need our community’s 20-40-year-olds have to reach out and connect.

It’s cliché to say it, but FYP has changed my life. I have never been part of a group that has been as rewarding. While the new friends, parties, athletic activities and professional-development opportunities have all been really fun, being a part of a group that also has so much impact on the community has been unexpectedly satisfying. From giving out gifts at the Salvation Army, to cleaning up our newly minted All-America City with Fayetteville Beautiful, FYP has done a lot to give back, thus affording me the opportunity to get to know my community and give back as well.

Additionally, as an organized group, the Fayetteville Young Professionals have made Fayetteville’s business leadership take note of everything that professionals in the 20-40 age group have to offer. FYP gives our age group more weight and cred-ibility. Instead of just being the young guy at the end of the hall, now we are the young guy or girl who can call and mobilize 20-50 people for a meet up at a local restaurant, or team for a non-profit activity. As an organized group, we are able to make the connections that have taken established business professionals years to make and in a fun, friendly, non-intimidating environment.

Fayetteville is changing and it is exciting being a part of that. It is not the same place that many of our parents grew up in. Many of our members are from all over the world. They have moved here for careers or to come back and take over fam-ily businesses instead of venturing out to make their mark in other places. They’ve done this because of the opportunities that this community provides and the qual-ity-of-life improvements that have occurred. Our community has changed from a small town to a big city, which unfortunately has made it harder to meet people. FYP provides that venue. I can’t tell you how often I have heard someone say, “I had no idea there were so many young career-ori-ented people here.”

One of the things that FYP has expanded this year has been our “Meet ups.” Those events have been very successful and draw a diverse group de-pending on the location and time. I’ve not been to a meet up where I haven’t met a new Fayetteville Young Professional member who heard about us on Facebook, through an employer or friend, or even saw us at many of our monthly events. By hosting these events at different locations, it has exposed our members to a lot of new places in the com-munity that they had never been to. Our Lunch and Learn events have also continued to grow, with on average 30-40 young professionals attending our educational series, which are sometimes presented by other young professionals.

Remember, FYP is your group and it is what you make of it. Many of our new activities have come at the suggestion of new members interested in trying out a new activity or something they have a special interest. Next year promises to be even better

.If you are interested in joining, volunteering on a committee or renewing your membership, be sure to visit our website at www.fayyp.org.

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