Yampa Valley Young Professionals promote positive change in Craig
February 26, 2016
The members of Yampa Valley Young Professionals have their minds set on a goal of rallying their generation to enhance the future of their community and to inspire coming generations to do the same.
YVYP was conceived in late 2015 by Derek Duran and Kirstie McPherson as an outlet for people in their age demographic to make connections with others who wanted to contribute their time and energy into making Craig the best it can be.
The mission statement put together by the two of them outlines the objective to "connect young professionals within the Yampa Valley by promoting our communities in a positive manner by getting involved through social, social projects and community activities."
Furthermore, creating a network of younger people in the area and ensuring they have a voice is also part of the process, McPherson said.
"We want to provide young professionals with the resources to become strong leaders in the community, become more well-known and have an active face in the community and change the (community) attitude to a positive one," she said.
Much of the communication within the group takes place, in true Millennial fashion, on social media sites such as Facebooksocial media sites such as Facebook..
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YVYP consists of Craig natives and newcomers alike, singles and those settled with a family, all of whom view the area as a great place to live but also in need of some improvements in the way it is perceived by people in their 20s or 30s and how those same people put effort into addressing the problems they see.
"We need to acknowledge that Craig just needs a bit of a change, it needs a boost," said Autumn Tatman, who first moved to Craig two years ago. "People who want to acknowledge that and see change within the community should come be a part of this."
Maddy Jourgensen is one of many who was born and raised in Craig, having recently moved back to the area after graduating from Colorado State University this winter.
"I think it's important for us as the young voice in the community to promote the great things that Craig has to offer that people don't recognize as often," she said. "There's a lot of great things that happen here, and I think people our age tend to not be aware of them."
Brandi Meek said she is encouraged by the variety of people who want to be involved with the group.
"It's exciting to have an organization of younger people where we can all bring our different ideas, different backgrounds and put it together in a positive way," she said.
Most recently, YVYP participated in the Downtown Business Association Art Walk and Taste of Chocolate with a fire pit in Alice Pleasant Park, and members plan to attach themselves to many of the events on Craig's calendar as well as possibly creating some of their own to keep the community engaged, active and united.
What it boils down to, many will say, is taking pride in the place you live.
"We need to take some ownership of this town, go the extra mile and realize it's not going to happen if you don't give 120 percent," Tatman said.