Teri Ashley

Teri Ashley

Just when you think nothing is going to rain on your parade, it does. Well, maybe not literally, but with the change in the school year schedule, this week’s New Teachers’ Breakfast Parade has been postponed. A creative drive-by parade for 90 new teachers seems simple enough, but the behind-the-scenes inner workings of any event are anything but simple.

The Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce has worked with Charlotte County Public Schools to kick-off New Educator Orientation day for new teachers since almost the beginning of time. We welcome them, feed them, offer them inspiration, and send them on their way for the rest of their orientation.

The new teachers then head off to attend a meeting with school system executives including the superintendent and School Board members, followed by a human resources and employee relations overview. After that they learn about a variety of things including NET requirements, professional development, innovation through technology, curriculum overview, school portals, and other internal operations. They are also provided information from Suncoast Federal Credit Union, Florida Gulf Coast University and the Charlotte Local Education Foundation.

I remember, back in the days of yore, helping my mom and dad get their classrooms ready for the students’ first day. They dutifully (kinda) attended the required teacher sessions, but it was all about getting ready for their students. My task was usually creating some kind of welcoming classroom bulletin board display and maybe creating some chalkboard art.

Their classrooms actually smelled like chalk, floor wax, construction paper and books … intermingled with whatever that gosh-awful cleaning stuff the janitors used. Being in the Everglades, the classrooms also had occasional wafts of Gulf Spray insect repellent and Pic coils, but that’s another story.

Back to the present. The chamber made the decision weeks ago to change our standard sit-down breakfast with handshakes and speeches to a festive drive-by parade. The Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center worked with us to map out the route for the 90 new teachers to drive into the parking lot, around the back from the west, along the waterfront next to the grassy lawn, and back out the east side of the event center.

As the teachers drive through the fanfare of our sponsors lining the parade route, they will be handed their breakfast box and a bag full of welcome gifts from our chamber members as they leave the parking lot.

All of that is to still happen but we don’t yet have the new date. Stay tuned.

There really isn’t a better bang for your buck

Above is an example. The return on being a member of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce is almost limitless. But the support your investment provides to our entire community is very clear. The chamber monitors business-related activities, laws and initiatives on the local, state and federal levels. This allows us to keep the business community and our members updated, offer guidance and opportunities for their success, and fight for them while they are busy with … their businesses.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that members are free to participate and take advantage of these benefits at any level depending on their schedule. But no matter what, the chamber is always supporting and advocating for you … and you are supporting this nonprofit business agency with your membership investment.

We’ve been at it for 95 years, so hop on the chamber train to help keep this community going full steam ahead.

Please check our website, Charlottecountychamber.org, frequently to keep up with what’s going in in Chamber Land. You might be surprised at all of the happenings and the things we do.

Swivel, twirl, spin and swirl

Please notice that I didn’t use the “p” word. I can’t hear it in any other voice than Ross Gellar’s from the sitcom “Friends,” and I can’t say it in any other way than Ross Gellar says it. So, let’s all PIVOT and do a swivel.

Teri Ashley is the executive director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, now in its 95th year, with offices in both Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte. She can be reached at 941-639-2222 or at tashley@charlottecountychamber.org.

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