Leadership Chenango Invites Past Residents To "come Home"

By: Jessica Lewis

CHENANGO COUNTY – The Leadership Chenango Class of 2008 thinks Chenango County is a wonderful place to live, and because of that, they are inviting residents who have left to “Come on home, Chenango.”

Leadership Chenango, a program of Commerce Chenango, was developed in the 1980s as a way to identify and develop individuals to become future community and civic leaders, volunteers for charitable organizations, potential board members for schools, and government or community organizations. The class always takes on a group project, and this year’s class decided theirs would address the issue of young people leaving the area.

Class member Jennifer Tavares, who works in the economic development office at Commerce Chenango, explained the class came up with the idea for the “Come on home, Chenango” project after they realized they wanted to draw people back. Local physician Dr. Thomas Holmes took the idea and ran with it, drafting a letter. The class decided to distribute the letter, along with informative pamphlets about what Chenango County has to offer, to residents who have left the area.

The Leadership Chenango class identified goals for the project, which include attracting young families and retirees back to Chenango County, inspiring businesses to be created or relocated in this area, preventing the “brain drain,” helping to grow Chenango’s economy and tax base and continuing to invest in Chenango County so it will grow and prosper.

“It doesn’t have to be young families,” Tavares explained. “It can be retirees, or anyone who has lived or worked in the community who is looking to come back. We certainly want to reach out to those people, too.”

The class has created a preliminary list with the names and addresses of approximately 100 people, but they hope they will be able to send the information to at least 200. In an attempt to gather more names and addresses, they are appealing to the community to submit the names and addresses of people they would like to return to the area.

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