Published on March 9, 2012 | by Gabe Arnold1
10 Reasons to Love the Geauga County Region
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ~ Winston Churchill
There are a lot of moments in my life that I can look back on and say “I changed that day”. Last Friday was one of those days for me. My co-founder, Rachel, told me about a program called GEL that meets at Kent Geauga the first Friday of every month, so I decided to check it out.
When I walked through the door, I was surprised to see that another one of my long time friends, Carol Gardner, is one of the coordinators for the event. Everyone gets a name tag when you come in, so it’s easy to meet new people while we have coffee and a light breakfast before the speaker begins.
Last Friday’s speaker was Chris Thompson who is from the Fund for Our Economic Future. Chris opened up by sharing a very interesting story about himself that really changed my paradigm.
Why Did He Come Here?
Chris was born in San Francisco, lived in Wisconsin for a few years, and then 21 years ago, moved here to North East Ohio. Chris asked us all, “What do you think is the first thing that people say to me when I tell them I moved here?” There were a few guesses, but all of them could be summarized into, “Why here?”. That is exactly what people asked Chris when he moved here. They kept asking him, why Cleveland? Why North East Ohio? Why the “mistake on the lake”?
Chris went on to tell us that he is offended anytime he hears that question and wanted to let us know that the locals are the only ones who ask why. He challenged us to stop saying “why” and start saying “Welcome!”. Chris went on to explain the mission statement of his organization:
The Fund for Our Economic Future is a collaboration of philanthropic organizations and individuals that have united to strengthen the economic competitiveness of Northeast Ohio through grantmaking, research, and civic engagement.
Begun in 2004, the mission of the Fund is to encourage and advance a regional competitiveness agenda which will lead to long-term economic revitalization that strengthens our region’s core cities, encourages inclusion, and enhances the region’s quality of life.
The Fund for Our Economic Future is strategically focused on making our entire region attractive to large companies that will bring jobs and revenue into our region and help boost our local economy. Based on their mission, they have three main development goals. There objectives are to:
- Grow the region’s industry in environmentally and socially responsible ways
- Maximize the available benefit that bringing industry into our region will bring us
- Reinvest the wealth that is built into our future
Chris shared many stories of large companies who are moving here or considering moving to this region based on the valuable assets that we have in our area. He also specifically talked about the upcoming economic opportunities and challenges of shale well oil drilling and fracking.
My Attitude Finally Changed
One of the things I have struggled with since moving back from Chicago, is that I love my hometown of Burton, but I’ve always been discouraged about the Cleveland area. I guess I never really pondered why I think that. Chris kindly and directly pointed out to all of us sitting there that it was an attitude problem, plain and simple. I am so thankful that he so directly pointed that out. I walked out of the session with a clear understanding that the same cultural attitudes that affect a small business affect the larger region. I decided to fix my attitude and never say anything negative about Cleveland and this entire region again. Why would I? What’s the point in complaining when I can be a catalyst of change? Just like Geauga News focuses on positive local news, I can personally focus on promoting the wonderful businesses and resources we have right here.
If you are like me, and unknowingly have caught the “Cleveland sucks” cold, don’t worry. The cure is simple. Just choose to change! You’ll be surprised to learn that when you start to say more positive things, you’ll start to see the positive things that have been around you all along.
10 Reasons to Love the Geauga County Region
- Ohio’s oldest fair, the Great Geauga County Fair
- Forbes.com named us the 4th best place in the country to raise a family in 2008 – Forbes.com – and I still believe this is true!
- The Cleveland Clinic is one of the World’s best hospitals - U.S. News
- Comparably, there is no traffic in Cleveland. If you’ve driven in L.A., Chicago, and New York, you know what I mean.
- We have the West Side Market
- We have Great Lakes Brewing Company and Christmas Ale
- The beautiful Geauga County Parks
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- The Cleveland Metropark Zoo
- Ingenuityfest the festival of art and technology
These are the things I love about our area. What do you love? Leave your favorites in the comments below.