Since the launch of Be Here in January 2017, we’ve been speaking to community groups and students, presenting at events, posting on social media, and talking one-on-one with community members about the message of the initiative. We often get positive feedback and are asked “how can I get involved?” It’s hard to know how you can play a part in helping Be Here spread and succeed, so today we’re sharing some ideas to help you, which in return will help our community.
Become a Be Here Ambassador
We launched an ambassador program in May 2018 as a way for community members to help us spread the word. If you’d like to represent our community positively and share the message of Be Here, you are invited to become an Ambassador.
Know the Messaging
Before you start to tell others about Be Here, it’s essential to know what the initiative is really all about. You may have a general idea of the message we’re trying to spread, but here are some key points:
- We believe our area is full of opportunities, related to living, working, and playing.
- We’re spreading the word about these opportunities and trying to create a more positive narrative of our area among community members.
- While doing this, we hope to both retain and attract people in our area.
- We are aware that our area faces challenges, so we are identifying those and working to come up with possible solutions.
Spread the Word
Now that you know how to talk about the initiative, you can start spreading the word to friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, and visitors. The more people we have sharing the message of Be Here, the more it will spread throughout our area. This can be done through word-of-mouth, social media, phone calls—however you choose!
It can be difficult to spread the message of Be Here when you are receiving negative feedback, but we encourage you to continue to stay positive. Hear a negative comment, such as “there are no jobs here”? Reply back with a positive comment, such as “did you know there are actually a lot of businesses currently hiring?” (refer them to our Work Here page if you would like). Even if someone makes a comment that is negative, but true, replying with something positive can make a difference. For example, if someone says “we sure have a lot of blighted homes in this area,” you could reply with “you’re right, but there are many groups working to fix it!”
Display a Decal
Have you seen the Be Here decals throughout the area? These stickers, which look like a map pin, are a way to make more people aware of the initiative. We encourage you to proudly display the decal on the door of your business or employer, vehicle, water bottle, laptop computer, or anywhere else you see fit. You can pick one up at the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce (located at 24 Seneca St in Oil City) or other local businesses and organizations, including Bossa Nova Café Roastery, Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce, Karma Coffee Co, Oil City Library, Porch Music Store, and Tipsy Chef. Would you like a stack of decals to hand out at your business? Please contact us.
Share Your Story
Our testimonials page is full of stories of people who live, work, and play here! These community members share their experiences and why they love to call the Venango Area their home. You can easily share your story on the website, too. Just click the button at the bottom of the testimonials page that says “SHARE YOUR STORY” and fill out the form. We will then write your testimonial from that and send it to you to make any changes or additions. You also have the option to meet with us in person and we will write your testimonial from that interview, or you are more than welcome to write your own.
While social media, the website, and other promotional efforts can spread the word of Be Here, nothing makes quite as big of an impact as hearing the personal story of individuals.
Contribute to News & Events
Besides the testimonials, you can provide articles for the News & Events page on our website. We plan to update this page often with blog posts and articles on various topics, such as the importance of volunteering, how to build your network, and appreciating our heritage. Have a topic you’d like to write about? Please contact us. If you’re not a writer, but you have an idea, we’d be happy to explore that topic and write about it for the website!
Invite a Guest Speaker
We have been speaking on behalf of our initiative to various groups throughout the region, including high school students, dislocated workers, social and service clubs, young professionals, and businesses. If you think the message of Be Here would resonate with a group you’re a part of, we’d be happy to come and present!
Get Involved in Our Area
Change happens when people work together. If you see something that needs done in our area—ask how you can help. If you care about a cause or organization—volunteer. If you have an opinion or an idea about an event—join a committee. Making the effort to connect with other community members can make a huge difference, too, even if it’s just having a conversation with someone at the coffee shop or saying hello on the street.
Support the Initiative
Be Here was generously funded by a grant from PNC Charitable trusts, but it will require additional funding for sustainability beyond 2018. Opportunities are available to support Be Here, so we can continue to help our area thrive. Please contact us if you are interested in helping to fund this initiative.
There are many ways to truly be here in the Venango Area. Thank you for your interest in getting involved and helping our community! As always, feel free to email or call Program Manager Ashley Cowles with any questions: