YP board sees another big change

New Year, New Board

Shelby Washkevich, Sara Grout and Austin Shell

Shelby Washkevich, Sara Grout and Austin Shell

YP board sees big change for second year running

January is the month of fresh beginnings and that holds true for three new directors: Sara Grout, Shelby Washkevich and Austin Shell.

The sassiest of our members, Sara joins the board after co-chairing our ChillyFest Bed Races committee, helping with Volleygrass and taking on the role of lead organizer for the Cros-Lex stop of the BWYP Community Tour. She is an attorney at Touma, Watson et al. law firm.

Shelby has previous experience helping the YPs organize our annual fundraiser, Keg N Ks. She works in sales at Radio First.

Austin is a staff accountant at Stewart, Beauvais and Whipple, and has previously served on the Volleygrass committee.

We also wished fare thee well to four board members in 2018.

As much as he didn’t like to admit it, BWYP founder and president AJ Armbruster may as well start digging his grave due to being a decrepit man of 35 years. He leaves the board for that reason. Joking aside, we wouldn’t be here today without all the hard work AJ put in to form the young professional group back in 2009, when many others were leaving for opportunities elsewhere. Thank you for your leadership over the years.

Mallory Michaluk now serves as the new president.

We also say goodbye to Kendra Lake, who joins AJ in the old folks home. For many years Kendra served as our media specialist, taking the lead on social media, eblasts and a website overhaul. She also took initiative on many other behind-the-scenes tasks and served as the group go-to, especially when it came to teaching AJ all things tech.

Both Sarah Grewe and Cameron Herrington resigned due to work obligations, which involved a move to Houghton for Cam, and passed the reins of their executive positions to other members.

Demiree Potter took over a 2-year term as board chair from Cam, and Shelby is serving a 1-year term as interim secretary for Sarah.

Join us for Holiday Homecoming!

Join the Young Professionals on Thanksgiving Eve (Nov. 21) for the first ever Holiday Homecoming.

Traditionally one of the most popular days of the year for former residents to return, gather and socialize at local pubs, restaurants and area hot spots, the purpose of the Thanksgiving Eve Holiday Homecoming event is to potentially recruit those who have left the region to return home to their roots where workforce talent is desperately needed and the region’s low cost of living and quality of life is very desirable.

Job opportunities in the region have never been more plentiful. It’s time for talented individuals and families to rediscover Port Huron…not the city you remember…and we are excited to show you why.

Sperry’s Dinnerhouse will serve as the hub of Holiday Homecoming, with a social event planned from 6-8 pm, featuring prizes, appetizers, drinks and the opportunity to scope out hot jobs with local employers.

Activities such as a mini escape room will be hosted in The Underground at Sperry’s as well. Optional loft tours will be open to attendees following the event.

When the event concludes, we encourage everyone to continue to enjoy the rest of their evening at the many local bars and restaurants downtown.

7th Street Tunnel gets makeover

If you've walked along the Black River Walk this past month you've probably noticed the 7th Street Tunnel is looking brighter. This is thanks to a partnership between BWYP and St. Clair County Community College and its Clay and a Concert series. 

Run by SC4's art department, Clay and a Concert invites local elementary school students to a theatre etiquette class where they then get to experience a live concert in the college's Fine Arts Theatre. The day's activities also include a hands-on clay workshop. 

The tile mosaic now adorning both entrances to the 7th Street Tunnel was created with clay tiles made by fifth-grade students from Roosevelt Elementary who participated in the program during fall 2017. The tiles were inspired by the Port Huron's maritime surroundings, and SC4 generously donated them to the BWYP. 

The YPs has the mosaic installed by Ron Besko and Jane Barden over a four day period starting June 7. The City of Port Huron and the National Endowment for the Arts were also partners in the project.

Kegs N Ks price increases April 16

The Blue Water Young Professionals' annual fundraiser returns Saturday, June 9 along the Black River Walk. Register now as the price increases from $15 to $20 on April 16. 

Now with a new and improved course as well as a new date, participants will have the option to consume a 4 oz beer at several points along the 4K race course. Participants will also receive a full Bell's beer at the end of the race and a t-shirt with the Kegs N Ks logo.

Make sure you join us for the after-party with music, food and beer for purchase, games, and a rockin' good time!

All proceeds from Kegs N Ks 2018 will go toward the Blue Water Young Professionals' Black River Walk mural project. Since 2011, the BWYP has been working with partners throughout the community to help make the Black River front a beautiful place for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. With your support, we can continue our work on this project. Visit our website for more details about the Black River Walk. 

For more information, visit RunSignUp.com

Board sees biggest change in leadership

From left to right: Cam Herrington, Sarah Grewe, Audrey Sochor, Demiree Potter, Grant Moore, Mallory Michaluk

From left to right: Cam Herrington, Sarah Grewe, Audrey Sochor, Demiree Potter, Grant Moore, Mallory Michaluk

The Blue Water Young Professionals is facing its largest shift in leadership since the group’s established in 2009.

The dawn of 2018 shines a light on four new directors: Cameron Herrington, Mallory Michaluk, Grant Moore and Demiree Potter.

Three of the four are in their early 20s and recently moved back to the area.

Age limits mean we also have to say farewell to Jackie Hanton and Lindsey Adams Fitchett. Hanton has served as the group’s vice president since the group’s formation. Audrey Sochor is her successor.  

Leo Colantuono also resigned from the board earlier in the year to focus on creating a new business and other community service.

When it comes to board officer roles, the vice president position isn’t the only one to see a change.

Sarah Grewe has taken over as board secretary. This role was previously fulfilled by Korissa Wilkins. She will still sit on the board as a member at large.

Herrington now serves as board chairman. This role was previously filled by Colantuono.

YPs host Chilly Fest Bed Races 2018

Get Ready to Rumble (run and bumble with a bed, that is)!!!

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The Blue Water Young Professionals continue as host of the Chilly Fest Bed Races for the seventh straight year. This can only mean one thing - Bed Races is almost here and registration is open!

Returning team ready to get signed up? Go for it! Never heard of it, so what is Bed Races, you ask?

It's simple, teams of five will race a "bed" against other teams down the chilly streets of Port Huron while wearing hilariously themed costumes. Teams have a chance to win an epic trophy and prizes from local businesses.

The Basics:

When
Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at 2:15PM
Racing begins at 3PM

Where
Intersection of McMorran Blvd. & Superior Mall in downtown Port Huron.

Who
Team of 5 people. Teams can be co-workers, friends, family, or 5 strangers…really any 5 people can form a team.

How Much
$25 entry fee for each team.

Why
Why not? Don’t you want to have fun in the middle of winter?

The after-party and award ceremony will be at Sperry's 2nd Floor Dinnerhouse. More information, rules and registration forms can be found on the Bed Races webpage. For even more information, please contact Sara Grout and Tori Ferres at bedraces@bwyp.org. 

Bed Races is one event out of two days of wintertime fun during Port Huron's Chilly Fest.

YP Community Tour

YP Community Tour: Past, Present, Future

We’ve focused on downtown/nightlife enhancement and the arts – now it’s your turn to help us determine what’s next! And we’re hitting the road for your input.

On four different Thursday evenings in June, the public is invited to participate in the “YP Community Tour: Past, Present, Future.” The events will begin at 5:30 p.m. in each city.

“By hosting this event we not only want to celebrate everything we have done as a group and what we love about our hometowns, but capture the conversations so many have about staying committed to our towns and the great future we all want here,” said Jackie Hanton, vice president of the BWYP.

Back in 2011 the Blue Water Young Professionals hosted an I Will Stay If... party to share with our local and state leaders a new take on what our cities need in order to be successful. It’s also how we determined our current priority focus areas. 

Now we want to expand on that party to get new takes directly and unfiltered from the people who are living and working here every day. Not only will local leaders be at each event to help us celebrate present successes, but YPs will look to the public to help guide us in our future endeavors.  

As we’ve gotten to know hundreds of people across the region, we've learned what residents and future talent care about isn't just cooler coffeehouses and music venues. Rather, it's a long-term, sustainable and practical vision for our cities.

“We know what great communities we have in the blue water area and we want to share some of the solutions we see making it stronger,” said A.J. Armbruster, president of the BWYP. “We also want to hear from those attending the event on what will make them stay in – or come back to – the blue water area.”

The YP Community Tour will aggregate and share our community’s ideas for our cities. We will share what we’ve learned over the past few years, celebrate successes, but most importantly we’ll look at each of the photos we collect on this celebratory evening as mini-stories. And we want your voice to play a role in shaping the larger stories of our cities.

Please join us. Tell your story; share your idea in your words.  Why have you stayed? What would your ideal city have? What will make you stay?

New year brings change to board

With the end of 2016, we had to bid farewell to three longtime board members: Crystal Jahn, Kara Schrader and Duncan Smith.

All three aged out of the group and finished up their board terms in December. Their last official act of duty was attending the Ugly Sweater Party, where they all received a lovely roast a la Comedy Central from board members AJ Armbruster and Kendra Lake as well as BWYP hoodies for their years of service.  

But you still may see them around for a little while. Crystal plans to help with the Pine River Poker Paddle in St. Clair, and Duncan and Kara will provide input with succession planning for the board.

The board also elected two new directors, Rafe MacKenzie and Matt Gregor. Rafe has been an active member of the BWYP since early 2014. He hopes to help with membership retainment. Matt has been a member since 2015 and will serve as treasurer.

Both are active with various YP committees on up of keeping busy with demanding careers. Rafe is a chemist with Cargill Salt in St. Clair and Matt runs his own financial and insurance consulting firm, a branch of Axa Advisors, in Port Huron.

More information on the two can be found in their member spotlights.