Chambers of Commerce are meant to help the community that they are located in, but they do so much more. Even as a college student who attends school out of the area, I can reap benefits from the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce, which is exactly the point of it. I have been working as the summer intern for the Genoa Chamber and have seen all that goes into it and all that comes out of it.
I applied for the internship because I have lived in Genoa most of my life. My parents grew up here, my grandparents live here and it is my home. I’m majoring in communication studies at Monmouth College, a small liberal arts school near the Illinois-Iowa border. This internship has paired well with my major and allowed me to use my knowledge and skills in the professional world. It also has allowed me to network and learn so many new things about the community.
When I started in May, I dove head first into the event being planned: The Genoa Days King and Queen Scholarship Contest. Having gone to high school with the contestants, I was excited to see who would win and how I could help make it a great experience for them and the audience. The purpose of the competition is not for the chamber to turn a big profit, but to help the contestants represent the community by furthering their education. Along the way, the businesses that sponsor the competition have their names posted in the program and mentioned during the competition so that they, too, can benefit from it. Any event that the chamber hosts doesn’t just benefit the chamber, but so many others, as well.
After the King and Queen Contest, the focus turned to planning for Friday’s annual Golf Classic at the Oak Club of Genoa, which features a superhero theme. Again, so many people benefit from this event. The sponsors have advertising throughout the golf course and can interact with the golfers to promote their businesses. The golfers can promote the businesses they work for or meet people they could potentially do business with in the future. And of course the chamber benefits because it sees the community thrive a little bit more.
With several new businesses opening this summer and in the fall, the chamber is seeing new members and a booming Genoa. There is a microbrewery opening where the old Prairie State Winery used to be, with the wine business moving across the street into Victoria’s Crossing. Even the Genoa Library has announced plans for an expansion this fall. All of these new businesses bring something exciting to Genoa. I see what these businesses can do for Genoa and for me, and how altogether the community can grow.
• Erica Anderson is the summer intern at the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce.