Young Pros Weigh In: State of Tahoe Regional Young Professionals
Printed in Tahoe Daily Tribune, January 20, 2107
The new year is a good time to check in with your surroundings and evaluate how we’re doing as a community. I believe one of the most significant measurements of a region’s prosperity is how its younger generations are faring with their quality of life.
As I say farewell as the executive director of Tahoe Regional Young Professionals (TRYP) and hello to a new era on its advisory board, it seems like a pivotal moment to share the organization’s successes, its struggles and what we so deeply hope for the future.
TRYP has been busy! Focusing on the organization’s commitment to promoting community involvement, the Tahoe Town Hall series was launched in 2016. These quarterly forums offer residents a way to get politically neutral information and directly ask questions; in person or electronically while watching online via livestream. Shout out to our sponsors and volunteers who make this a possibility. We believe Tahoe Town Halls are an excellent way to ensure a dialogue and educate locals on complex issues this community faces; like city ordinances, affordable housing, and the ballot measures and City Council race during the local election in November.
Speaking of the 2016 election, TRYP really upped the ante during this cycle. In addition to interviewing all 10 City Council candidates in a video series that locals could easily watch and get a sense of the candidate’s platform (just as we did in 2014), we had our first voter registration drive at South Lake Tahoe post offices. And to demystify local ballot measures in South Lake Tahoe, TRYP produced an interview with the mayor and incoming mayor pro-tem so voters could watch a seven-minute video to better understand Measures P, Q, R, S, T and U instead of pouring over pages and pages of legalese and jargon.
While TRYP looks ahead to new programming in 2017, the organization is also staying true to its roots. In 2011, a handful of twenty-somethings gathered around a kitchen table to create an organization that would not only support young people in the local workforce, but give them a voice and a platform to be the change they wanted to see in the community.
I can attest that TRYP has become a voice in the community, elevating important conversations around local issues by offering free workshops to help our peers learn, for example, how our local economy works, where to find small business resources, and how to address increasing suicide and addiction rates in our peers. For dates on 2017 Tahoe Town Hall events and new professional development summits, stay tuned to Tahoe Regional Young Professionals on Facebook or sign up for monthly newsletters and updates at TahoeTRYP.org.
TRYP has now surpassed 250 members, an incredible testimony to the organization offering something for everyone. At our monthly events, I enjoy meeting folks from all walks of life: small business owners, new-comers to town, old-school locals, young parents, politicians, journalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers, “Boomerang” Kids who’ve recently moved back to Tahoe, servers, doctors, artists, CEOs, adrenaline junkies and more. It’s a potent mix and anyone can be a part of it.
TRYP’s fastest-growing membership segments are in North Lake Tahoe, where we expanded programming in 2015, and also with business memberships offering access to networking and professional development opportunities for just $100 per month. Throughout the years, we’ve kept our individual annual membership at just $40 because we believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to involvement.
With our tremendous growth in membership, maintaining an age-neutral and politically neutral platform, TRYP continues to struggle with false misconceptions of what we really are. We’ve been treated as a threat and competitor by other organizations (we’re not — we want to work together); we’ve been called a drinking club (we’re not — but everyone is still invited to join us); TRYP has been deemed as exclusive (we’re not — in fact, I’ve never met a more welcoming cast of characters); and we’ve been associated with some pretty spectacular conspiracies. This is clearly an opportunity to continue to educate our Lake Tahoe communities on who we are and show them what we do; and the reality is that although these false perceptions can hurt, they keep our board of directors active in addressing misconceptions and working tirelessly to find common ground.
Personally, I think it’s difficult for some to understand what TRYP really is. The name itself makes one question what “young” and “professional” really mean. Here’s what I know to be true: TRYP is the organization that put a 1,000-foot water slide down Ski Run Boulevard by working with city and county public safety agencies and water districts. It’s the organization that has raised over $23,000 for charitable causes since its inception.
TRYP is the fastest-growing organization of its kind in the area because it is a fun, unbiased and connected vehicle. Residents and businesses recognize the promise in TRYP and want to see it thrive. My forecast is that with the amazing, all-volunteer board that keeps this group moving, the future looks very bright indeed.
I leave you with this call to action: dig deeper this year. However you interact with TRYP, take it to the next level in 2017. If you’re a member, join a committee; if you’re not a member, sign up; if you’re a business owner, network with TRYP and send your staff to its events; and if you have no idea what TRYP can do for you, educate yourself and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Shoot us an email to get started at TahoeTRYP@gmail.com.
Jenna Palacio is the former executive director of the Tahoe Regional Young Professionals. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.