A little less than a year ago I sat down at this very computer to write my story about why Fayetteville was in need of a young professionals organization. Growing up in this city, you take for granted the ability to “come home” to familiar surroundings, to friends you’ve known your whole life, to mom and dad, to local restaurant owners that treat you like family. Fayetteville is a wonderful city to its local population. However, imagine being fresh out of college or newly married and coming to this city without knowing anyone — perhaps for a job or perhaps because you were transferred from another military base.
Last June, a group of young professionals in the Fayetteville area, came together with the mission to form a networking community of young professionals from all around the city. We contacted the Chamber of Commerce and asked if it would consider “powering” our program. Once we received approval, we began to develop a plan, a mission and a vision to start the Fayetteville Young Professionals.
Oh my, have we come a long way!
With what served as a launch party to the FYP program last August, the Fayetteville Young Professionals kicked off our program strong — 350 members strong! Boom! Just like that, we went from 25 young professionals sitting at a conference table in the chamber offices to a full-fledged 350 member organization and we haven’t looked back yet!
Since our initial 350 member flood, we have gained another 100 members (between the ages of 21 and 40) over the last nine months. Each month FYP offers our members and their guests a variety of social events to participate in, such as, The Stoneybrook Steeplechase this past April; Adult Field Day hosted at Omni Gym where 100 FYP members gathered for an evening of three-legged races, obstacle courses and tug of war; our FYP Halloween Hike up and down the streets of downtown; or our BBQ Dinner Hoedown at Paradise Acres where Cornhole Champions were born and lots of fried chicken and BBQ were eaten! We also provide monthly professional-development seminars to help young business owners learn how to be better bosses. We recently brought in Denise Ryan, former Fayetteville resident and owner of FireStar (motivational speaker) out of Raleigh, who spoke on how to motivate ourselves and our employees; and we’ve hosted seminars at Cape Fear Valley Hospital with speakers on how to “De-stress” your life! In the near future, FYP will be offering golf lessons at local golf courses, as well as wine tastings and table etiquette seminars! We even have our own softball team that made it into the championship playoffs this past month!
It’s local businesses like the one’s above, and others like Harris Wholesale, Greenbiz, Capital Bank, The Wing Company, The Speak Easy and many more that have helped make everything we do for our members affordable to the average 20-something-year-old! We cannot thank local businesses enough for everything they have done over the past year, and continue to do for our young professionals.
Our members love this organization! Some have even told me, “FYP is the best thing that has happened to me since I moved to Fayetteville!” I’ve actually met many new friends from being an active participant within this membership and I look forward to every social and professional development event because I know I am going to meet more people who will become friends!
If you are between the ages of 21 and 40 and you have not at least checked out the Fayetteville Young Professionals, then I hope I am never standing next to you in a bar or at a restaurant and hear you mutter the words, “There is nothing to do in this city,” because, friend, there is EVERYTHING to do in this city and the Fayetteville Young Professionals is the organization that is getting it done! So I dare you, this organization dares you, step out of your bubble and look at the new potential to be gained for really making Fayetteville your home.
*Become a member of the Fayetteville Young Professionals! Visit www.fayyp. org for more information. Membership is $45 a year (Students- $25 a year).
**This Friday, June 4, from 8pm-12am the FYP is hosting our MEMBERSHIP PARTY event at the Robeson Medical Plaza building, located at 2301 Robeson St. (right off of Raeford Rd). The party is a celebration of our first year as an organization and is open to the public. Tickets prices range from $25- $40 and can be purchased at: www.fayyp.org. Don’t miss out on checking out FYP!
Photo: Fayetteville Young Professionals sponsors many events that provide networking opportunities — and fun.