New Year’s Resolutions
As one year ends and a new one begins, it is a great time to plan ahead to all the wonderful things you’d like to do in the coming year. This year as you’re setting your New Year’s Resolutions I’d like to challenge you to:
Try something new. If you haven’t been to the Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market yet, please make this the year to try it. Each Saturday from May through October there is a wide variety of vendors to shop from, activities for children and even cooking contests for adults (the Salsa Contest is my personal favorite).
Volunteer. We are fortunate to have many great events in our community – such as Summerfest in Campustown, Firefly Country Nights and the Ames Fireworks in July – but these events don’t just happen by themselves. Hundreds of volunteers help to make events like these successful and to keep attendees safe.
If you’d rather attend an event than volunteer for it, you could volunteer to help keep our community looking its best. Volunteers of the Make Campustown Shine program help keep Campustown looking its best. Volunteers also plant flowers and vegetables on Main Street to keep our downtown welcoming.
Advance your career. Did you know that Ames has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country? Nonetheless, on any given day there are more than 1,500 jobs posted online at WorkInAmes.com, a local job board offering a wide variety of positions including full-time, part-time and internships. Even if you’re not looking for a new job, chances are high that you know someone who is. Do them a favor and tell them that Ames is a great place to live, work and play.
Maybe you love where you are but want to improve yourself. Leadership training, such as that offered through the Chamber’s Leadership Series or Leadercast, is one way you can challenge yourself. If you’re 40 or younger, the Young Professionals of Ames offers monthly lunch and learns that focus on leadership and professional development as well.
Support a cause. There are so many great non-profit organizations in our community you can support, from early childhood literacy to older adult services and more. Donations to The Ames Foundation support many great enhancements to Ames, such as the Community Tree Project or the Ames Miracle Field and Playground. Regardless of where your passion lies, know that donations of all sizes make an incredible difference in the lives of others.
Learn/teach a new skill. In our community, there are many great opportunities for students to explore careers and get hands-on experience. The Story County Active Learning Experience (SCALE) provides local high school students real-world experience from local businesses while earning credit from Des Moines Area Community College. And students in the Ames High Business Engagement Collaborative (BEC) gain hands on experience working on and helping with projects for companies in the surrounding area.
These are just a handful of ideas to consider as you set your goals for 2018. I challenge you to make the most of the new year and the life you live. Whether you decide to focus on yourself this year, support those around you, or perhaps a little of both, there are endless options to choose from in Ames and Story County. Let’s make 2018 the best year yet.
-Dan Culhane, President & CEO