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Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012

Chamber’s Young Professionals group strives to embrace military community

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I’m young — relatively. I’m professional — or at least I try to be. So an organization with the name Young Professionals naturally peaked my interest.

It’s a program run by the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce that’s geared toward individuals ages 21 to 40. The goal is networking, mentoring, community service and growth.

And fun. This isn’t your average professional organization. The atmosphere is perhaps less stiff and more casual. You’re among friends as well as colleagues.

YPs are today’s emerging leaders and their ranks are diverse. They are employees, employers and entrepreneurs from almost every field you can think of. They are students, parents and volunteers.

And in some cases, they are Soldiers.

I talked with Amy Askew, the chamber’s vice president of Talent, Retention and Community Development, at Wednesday’s YP kickoff. She said the program is always looking for ways to connect with those on post. One example is “Fort Benning Day,” where members can get an inside — and, in many cases, hands-on — perspective of how the Army operates.

There’s also a new partnership under way between the Maneuver Captains Career Course and YP. For any Soldiers attending MCCC, YP events are free.

I chatted with one Soldier who attended the kickoff, and he said the partnership is a great way for Soldiers to plug in to the community right away.

I hope to hear more good things from YP and how they’re reaching out to Fort Benning. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in joining, there’s an early bird discount through the end of the month. Visit www.ypcolumbusga.com for more information.

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