It’s almost time for the annual updayton Summit!
What? You’re not excited? Well, maybe it’s because you don’t know what it is or how much it’s impacted the Dayton area. Allow me to fill you in!
updayton was conceived in 2007 as a way to attract and keep young talent through engagement, connection and empowerment of the young creatives in the Miami Valley. The organization partners with and is sponsored by other local organizations and businesses.
Current updayton Director Yvette Kelly-Fields says, “The Summit provides a platform for people to use creative thinking and problem solving to address issues that affect the attraction and retention of young talent to the region. We are starting to see the fruits of our labor as we see more young professionals moving into the downtown, opening businesses and filling local jobs.”
Former Director Scott Murphy said he believes the summit has helped to spotlight critical issues to help keep more young people in the region. He enjoys the energy and excitement associated with the event and said he’s “particularly proud of how we’ve been able to take the feedback we receive from Summit attendees and turn that into recommendations for local leaders.”
As a graduating college student, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my fellow students complain there isn’t enough opportunity for them as young entrepreneurs around Dayton. They’d rather try their luck in a different city, or even a different state that seems to have better employment options.
But as the updayton site says, we can be the change we want to see, and it has been successful in its endeavors for community and economic change.
“Each project last year created both community and economic impact,” said Maria Norman, in charge of public relations for the organization.
In fact, the current iteration of this very website (Dayton MostMetro.com) was born out of the first updayton summit three years ago, when summit participants in a live survey of various community project ideas voted overwhelming for a comprehensive online resource for the Dayton Region. Since then, the site has grown with the help of over 40 volunteer interns, writers and editors, and has become the go-to site for tens of thousands of people in the region wanting to connect with things to see, do and get involved with.
Currently, the Creative Communities project is continuing to work on a major beautification project between the Oregon District and South Park neighborhoods called “Unifying the Divide: Bridge Paint”. “This will raise the visibility of both areas and serve as a new attraction and destination point for the City for native Daytonians and visitors,” said Norman.
The focus this year is on increasing residents’ use of alternative transportation, aiding the integration of diverse immigrants in the area, reviving the Twin Towers neighborhood, and developing a sustainable program to improve community’s college students’ perceptions of downtown and encouraging them to participate in and experience all downtown has to offer. Also, for the first time, updayton will present a panel of experts in urban revitalization and who will show how they are changing the game in their community. They’ve been appropriately named, Game Changers.
“It has been said, if you want to change the world, start with your city, start with the updayton Summit. Change starts there,” says Director Kelly-Fields.
The updayton Summit will be held on Friday, April 27, 2012 at the Dayton Art Institute. For more information or to register to attend, visit their website at updayton.com or check them out on Facebook.