They’re coming. On Friday, May 4, a sea of blue shirts will roll through downtown Dayton, leaving a wake of good karma in its path. That’s right, the annual Get Out & Give Back Dayton day has returned! The event is hosted by Generation Dayton but young professionals from all walks of life and varying professional organizations are participating. More than 100 volunteers will take up their shovels, hammers, dust mops, work gloves and other tools of do-goodery to spruce up the area. This event is important because it not only connects young professionals directly to the Dayton area, it reminds local residents of the positive attributes young professionals have and the amazing contributions we make to the city. In other words, us whipper-snappers do more than prop up the economy via beer and taco sales.
This is my second year participating in Get Out & Give Back Dayton day, and the aspect I enjoy most about this event is the opportunity to meet other YPs in a non-professional setting. How many networking events have you attended where you sit through one lame, Internet-template elevator speech after another? I like to loosen the ol’ corporate necktie every now and then and get to know someone on a more intimate basis. You find out a lot about someone when you have to trouble-shoot trash hauling or develop a synchronized mulch distribution strategy! OK, the happy hour at the end also helps meet new people, but we earned it, gosh darn it!
Volunteers will be mulching, planting, scrubbing, wiping, sweeping and digging their way across nearly 30 locations in the greater Dayton area. The event kicks off with lunch at the Excelsior Building (off Sixth Street in the Oregon District behind Jay’s Seafood), and later the mottled motley crew will convene at The Vault for well-deserved refreshments and regaling the day’s events.
***Updated with new rain date: Can’t make it to Get Out & Give Back Dayton day? You can participate in another cool project, this one by updayton’s Unifying the Divide bridge painting project taking place this Sunday, May 6. This service group is working to connect two adjacent neighborhoods—South Park and the Oregon District—via a pedestrian bridge that goes over U.S. 35. Sign up online for a shift.
Get Out & Give Back Dayton day is about more than donating a few hours of your time to a worthy cause. For lots of YPs, this is an introduction to many of these organizations and for some, their first foray into downtown Dayton. Engaging this group of people is an investment in Dayton’s future. Retaining young talent isn’t about members of any single professional organization—it’s everyone’s prerogative. What better way to help retain people than giving them a reason to care about their community? Now each time they walk past that landscaping (or drive past that overpass), they’ll remember the personal investment they made in Dayton. They’ll tell their friends about this cool place they visited for the first time (“yeah, it’s called the Dayton Visual Arts Center and they have some really cool exhibits right now. Want to check it out tonight?”). Most importantly, they’ve got one more reason to stay.
I can’t wait for Get Out & Give Back Dayton day; it’s a reminder for me that, even though I feel inundated with bad news about terrible people, I can and will make a difference in my little corner of the universe. I can fix something, I can make it better, and it feels great to know I have a couple hundred people who are on my team.