I think we could all agree that the best part of summer is summer vacation. During the summer months things in Frederick really slow down. On one hand it is nice because that gives people like me a chance to really work on some unique projects that aren’t totally event-related.
We kicked off the summer with the Freewheel and Abernathy Celebration on June 7th. Since the end of that event I have grateful had six weeks to focus on chamber projects that aren’t tied to an event. During this time I have had the pleasure of starting up a new and exciting thing.
With the help of a couple of others, we have worked together to create several opportunities that should bring Frederick’s tourism industry to a new level. These are big, exciting, awesome strategies that most of you will never get to see because most of you reading this are locals and not tourists (and we’re okay with that!) But there is a portion of us who sincerely believe that Frederick’s unique historical museum, awesome refurbished theatre and exciting ADT program are just a few of many awesome sites that could potentially bring vacationers to Frederick for the reason of pure enjoyment.
I promise we will reveal the works of this strategy soon. But for now, I’m leaving you with lingering curiosity.
A young friend of mine is getting ready to finish his degree and move back to Frederick. This wasn’t his first plan. He’d rather be an Account Manager in Dallas or working somewhere overseas as a Marketing Consultant. Unfortunately, that hasn’t fallen into his lap at this point in time. Therefore he will be joining the few, the scarce, the young and single of Frederick.
I too did not want to move back to Frederick immediately after finishing college. There is a social stigma that moving back or staying here automatically qualifies you as “unmotivated” or “lazy.” Since I have moved back I have found that this stereotype is extremely inaccurate. I have made lots of friends with others my age who are very motivated, very hard working, and definitely going places with their lives. In fact, most young people who live in Frederick fit that description.
So where does this false doctrine come from? How to we extinguish it? For starters I’d like to brag on all the young people moving back to Frederick. I have had a plethora of classmates contact me lately saying they are in the process or looking forward to moving back to the small town in southwest Oklahoma that they call home.
These young professionals are exactly what our community needs to expand it’s horizons and opportunities. These people have big ideas and even bigger goals. Fortunately, I’ve sensed that they all love Frederick passionately or else they wouldn’t be moving back to the area. This is great news!
There is nothing shameful about moving back to a town you love. In fact, I think you’d find that young people who live here have a much different perspective on life than their urban counterparts. Without the fancy shopping malls, nightclubs and 5-star restaurants to go to, Frederick helps your mind focus on what really matters. Family, friends and simple living. Cheers to the new generation of Frederick!
Last week I had the opportunity to be interviewed by KSWO, speaking on the topic of the Frederick Public Pool. Just to clarify, the chamber really has nothing to do with the opening of the pool, it is just that KSWO needed someone to sit in front of the camera and everyone else was busy so I volunteered.
The city workers have worked extremely hard to prepare the pool for this year’s use. Filling cracks, setting chemicals and cleaning facilities is not easy work. Betsy Simmons and Heather Brockriede have also worked very hard to hire and train this year’s staff of lifeguards.
I was a Frederick Municipal Pool lifeguard at one point in my life. The summer after my junior year was spent working at the pool. I loved every minute of it. Betsy was in charge then, too and she was a very fair employer. There were a handful of us on duty at all times, rotating chairs and shifts so everyone got to take a 30 minute or hour long break to be inside, out of the sun. This is very important in the Oklahoma heat!
I met all sorts of fun people that summer. The other lifeguards were of various ages, so I met several new friends. I also got to enjoy a lot of time with kids from around the community that I probably would not have otherwise associated with. These were sweet kids and a friend of mine pointed out the other day that those kids are now nearly adults!
I know the past three years have been tough; surviving an Oklahoma summer without water is surely torture. We know the city kept the pool closed for our benefit—so we would have drinking water! Fortunately, the Lord has blessed us with an abundance of spring rains this year and the pool will be reopened at last. Many of the younger children may have not ever had the opportunity to swim in a large pool due to the past years of drought. This will be the perfect opportunity for children of all ages to come together and cool off in one of the oldest ways we know how—by jumping into a pool!
Running a business is hard work. Those of you who have or have had your own business know just what I’m talking about. The more I get to know our friendly business owners around town, the more I understand just how many hours they put into their careers.
As the public, we expect them to be open when we need something. We demand they provide products for us and expect a bargain every time. What the public doesn’t think about, is how much it costs to rent a building, provide electricity throughout the day, pay staff members and on top of that purchase product and equipment in advance with the hope that it will be paid for after a certain amount of time.
All of these things are factors of businesses, but especially small businesses within our community. How many hours do you think Greg Henry puts in a week? How about the owners of Tong’s, or Beth Kinder at Something Special? I see these business men and women parked in front of their shops nearly 24/7 it seems. The amount of work they put into each dollar earned is remarkable.
I think as customers of the businesses in Frederick we have to respect the behind the scenes work of the products we buy. Perhaps shopping local does cost a few more bucks upfront, but you are supporting the friends and neighbors that make this community the wonderful town that it is. After all, the amount of time and gas money spent on going out of town to shop really isn’t worth it if you aren’t getting the personal touch you would at home. Also, who wants Frederick to shrink? No one. So your opportunity awaits you. Be a blessing to the businesses in front of you. These people work hard to serve our community and often times they are not thanked near enough.
Speaking of thanks, the Frederick Chamber would like to give a huge thank you to all of the businesses who were open on special hours last Sunday for our Oklahoma Freewheel and Abernathy Day Celebration. Lots of out of town visitors were very pleased with our selection of services! Keep it up, business people. You are the foundation of our town.
A few weeks ago I had the joy of going to the Oklahoma Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The day was jam packed with informative sessions on how to improve our tourism in the state of Oklahoma.
Several keynote speakers and sessions were very helpful to attend but the most influential for my job (which is to help Frederick grow) was a breakout session titled, “7 Things Every Tourism Organization Should Be Doing on a Small Budget.” Jennifer Kalkman was the speaker and she has worked with the Oklahoma Tourism Department for many years. I loved that she was so empathetic towards one man crews and microscopic offices. Most cities have chambers and Convention and Visitors Bureaus with several members on both staffs.
What Kalkman made clear was that success and professionalism were possible on a small staff and a tight budget. She gave us lots of tricks on how to implement social media better and she also taught us how to better reach potential visitors to our town.
I left the conference with pages and pages of notes. I heard some amazing ideas and I plan on implementing them soon. Unfortunately when I came back to work I had to focus on Freewheel and so I am just now getting to dig my notes back out and think through some of these awesome ideas.
The good news is, after seeing how our community pulled together to welcome 500 biciclysts a few weeks ago, I am amazed at our hospitality and encouraged to bring in more visitors to our town. Frederick is such a special little place. I feel as though we are always welcoming visitors with open arms. We love to brag about our Abernathy Boys, our museums, exhibits and culture. Props to you all for being wonderful hosts, not just for Freewheel, but always and forever. You are the fuel that keeps our tourism efforts going.