FUEL – What’s in a name?

Published 12:35 pm Saturday, November 30, 2013

FOCUSED. UNITED. ENGAGED. LEADERS. The acronym for this local group could make one think of gas for your car. During the Chamber Expo as I helped to host FUEL’s booth alongside the Chamber’s exhibit, my colleagues and I entertained that thought many times. It was fun to be able to explain how you could actually associate our group with fuel for the community. FUEL consists of local, enthusiastic, young professionals who are trying to create some cohesion and energy in the Franklin and Southampton County area among citizens in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Our mission is “To strengthen the community by uniting focused and energized young professionals through networking, community service and social opportunities.”

The idea of bringing energy and fuel to the community is one of the reasons I joined FUEL, and the experience is meeting my expectations. As a young professional who works full-time in my home office as a social scientist and field director, I don’t have a local business with colleagues who live close by, and no local office and co-workers with whom to discuss community happenings. My colleagues are mostly in the Washington, D.C., area, as well as others who are spread out all over the country.

I was looking for a way to connect with local people who wanted to share ideas. I have ideas about education, about local tourism, economic development, agriculture, and local historical interests. I was also looking for information and other people’s ideas about what’s going on around us, and how we can contribute. I wanted to know more about the local business community, get to know some of our community leaders, and find a forum for sharing ideas.

Due to my unique work situation, FUEL was a great opportunity to help me do all of these things. As I have talked with many of my friends about what FUEL does, the main question is, “What would I have to do if I joined FUEL?” The answer is very simple – you get the benefit of networking with local leaders, businesses, government officials, entrepreneurs, schools and citizens.

Although there is no required commitment of time or duties, members tend to get out of FUEL what they put into it. Many of FUEL’s members work at a local business, and being part of this group has given them opportunities to meet new clients and promote their businesses, and also share ideas with all of us about the local economy and civic progressions.

Our events include Leader Luncheons, volunteering with Junior Achievement and supporting many of the Chamber’s events. We have plans for a productive and fun 2013-2014 membership year, and anticipate a larger presence at many of the upcoming community meetings among school and government officials.

If you want to know more about FUEL or would like information about joining, you can find us on Facebook, or contact the Chamber of Commerce.