We often hear stories of people who return to the Venango Area and don’t feel extremely welcomed by the community. This could be a young person after college, a person who has lived away for years and wants to come home, or any similar situation.
Upon returning, they hear comments such as “I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you where you were,” or “I’m sure you’ll get back on your feet soon.” Many community members assume, without always meaning to, that talented, successful people who return to the area failed in some way and had to come home because of it.
While occasionally that is the case, more often than not these people choose to come home. Rather than it being a plan B or default, they see the opportunities in our area and they make the decision to live, work, and play here.
Acting as if a person returning to the area is a result of a failure discourages them from actually making this place their home. They begin to question their decision and wonder if this place is so great after all.
So, what can we do to make people who return to our area feel like home?
Simply saying hello when walking past a stranger or saying “we’re happy you’re here!” to someone new you meet can make a huge difference.
Suggest an organization to become a part of, nonprofit to volunteer for, or professional to get in contact with. Helping someone get to know people and become connected in the community can lead them to many opportunities.
Depending on how long the person was gone and if they still have any connections in the area, they may need to know simple information like where to grocery shop, go out to eat, or take their kids to play.
We know our area does face challenges, but focusing on the positive rather than the negative can make a significant difference. For example, rather than saying “good luck finding a job here,” lend a hand in helping someone search for an open position.
If you currently live or work in the Venango Area, there is a good chance there is something positive that is keeping you here—may it be family, low cost of living, sense of community, a job, or outdoor recreation.
Let’s all work together to make our area the best place to call home and welcome those who return here!