Young professionals in Traverse City connect, network and develop relationships that support the economy within an extension of the Traverse City Area Chamber, the Traverse City Young Professionals. In addition to hosting many Young Professional events and activities—see those here—the Traverse City Young Professionals also share an online blog, full of stories written by members.

Here’s the latest Traverse City Young Professionals blog post, originally published at in September 2016.

With the winding down of summer and the beginning of another school year, I bring to all the YP’s, blog readers, and every other cool person who reads this blog, a September Blog full of updates, info, stories, and did someone say, “Volunteering?” I have to give a shout out to Courtney over at MyNorth for the idea of writing this month’s blog about all of the fun ways to volunteer in our community. There are several opportunities to volunteer littered all over this blog, so be sure to read through all of the updates.

I want to first share an experience I had on the morning of Thursday, September 8th. I decided to volunteer for the Day of Caring that is put on by the United Way of Northern Michigan, which by the way, this was year 21 of this event. So I walk into the Dome at the Park Place Hotel to register and the TC West High School Marching Band is just jamming away with their drum line and then joined by the rest of the band. Then the Coast Guard walked up the center aisle with the American Flag and the Coast Guard Flag. The band of course played our national anthem, but the feeling I was overcome with was priceless. To see the four Coast Guard Officials and hear the band play an incredible National Anthem was absolutely breathtaking. I had no idea what was going to happen this morning and to be greeted by all of that followed by a great breakfast was amazing. Every person in the Dome was part of a team. We all broke after breakfast and headed out to our destination to volunteer for 3 or 4 hours. My team from Traverse City State Bank went out to Acme to the TART Trail Trailhead where we met staff from Grand Traverse County and cleared away over-grown trees, brush, and dead limbs making the trail extremely friendly to bikers even if they are 7 feet tall. For me personally, it was one of the best mornings of the summer.

As most of us know, the Young Professionals of the Chamber volunteer a good amount of time each month whether at the State Theatre, Business After Hours, or other events that call on us for assistance. Volunteering is such a great way to meet new people or hang out with people you already know while helping out a great cause. We have so many nonprofit organizations in Grand Traverse County that need volunteers all of the time, and especially with fall coming and schools back in session, volunteering opportunities will be available for sure.

So you are not left in the dark wondering how is volunteering fun, let me tell you about a few Traverse City events that require fun volunteers.

1. A great volunteering opportunity is at the State Theatre/Bijou by the Bay that is coordinated by the YP Volunteer Committee. You do not only get to volunteer, but you get free movie passes and free popcorn, which for me is a win-win situation. You even get lucky and stay and watch the movie playing.

2. The YP’s participated in the Beer Tent for the Cherry Festival, which I am sure you know consists of a free beer or two for sure. Volunteering and receiving free beer is almost as good as a piece of freshly baked cheesecake from my kitchen (yes I make incredible cheesecakes!).

3. Looking into the future, it is always a great time had by all volunteering for the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Yes it may be a little on the cooler side with that white stuff falling all around you, but you get a free long-sleeved shirt, and you get to see everyone’s smiling faces and different costumes and hats worn on a day we give thanks.

4. How do you feel about the Zombie Run at Right Brain Brewery? A great Halloween tradition might I add, takes place this year on October 29th. You of course get a free shirt, plus great laughs at all of the dead zombies around you, plus my favorite, beer from the guys and gals at Right Brain Brewery.

Those are just a few events that will be taking place in Traverse City. There are so many more, and you do not have to look far to become more involved in the community. Freedom Builders, Michael’s Place, TCAPS, Great Lakes Children’s Museum, Habitat for Humanity, Women’s Resource Center, Traverse City Junior Golf Association, Reining Liberty Ranch, TART Trails, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, and so so so many more.

The YP’s are partnering with the Northwest Michigan Chapter of Junior Achievement USA to bring a professional mentoring program to Traverse City this fall that will help develop professional skills of high school students in the area. What a phenomenal way to use your extra time by assisting the next generation develop skills that you wish you would have had when going off to college or starting your career. This is an incredible way to give back to a community that has the potential to be the best in the state. I highly recommend everyone to get involved in this program if you have the opportunity. Please contact Erika Wiltse at to volunteer your talents and time.

The Volunteer committee will be meeting at the Workshop Brewing Company at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 13 to discuss upcoming group volunteering opportunities. If you have any ideas for the YP’s to volunteer at any upcoming events, please bring them or just come to socialize and have a happy hour drink with friends!

Well, my blog readers and YP’s, I challenge you to get more involved in our community, meet people, and change lives. We are only on this place we call Earth for a short time. Volunteering, and bringing joy to others is refreshing, rewarding, and heartwarming — knowing you gave something that is very important to everyone: TIME. If you know of any volunteering events, please reply to this post and list them. I would love to help get the word out to make sure our area is NEVER short of volunteers.

Looking for more to do this September in Traverse City? The article below includes great ideas for wine tasting, fishing, harvest stompede, farm stands, and so much more. I have to say this article is a “must read” for the month of September.

7 Things To Do On A September Northern Michigan Vacation

September Updates

City of Traverse City Update 

Seeking Volunteers! The City is currently looking for volunteers to serve on various boards and committees. If you are interested in becoming involved with your local government, visit

Traverse City Community Giving Catalog – For those looking to sponsor a park bench, flowers in a park or even a biker rack, check out the City’s giving catalog!

Elections Inspectors Needed! If you are interested in being a part of the Election process and working in a precinct on Election Day, please complete an application and the City Clerk’s Office will be in contact with you – Election Inspectors typically work from 5:45 a.m. until roughly 10:00 p.m. on Election Day and are paid for their time.

Grand Traverse County Update

Grand Traverse County Volunteer Opportunities: Grand Traverse County has numerous volunteer opportunities – whether serving on a committee, assisting a department on a regular basis, or volunteering for a particular project or event. Examples include:

Boards and Committees – serve on a board or committee – current vacancies include Building Authority and Economic Development Corporation with many other appointments ending at the end of 2016.

Commission on Aging – serve senior citizens – Baskets of Bounty, NMC BBQ, office, reception work, mailings

Emergency Volunteer – assist in the event of a public health emergency

Information Desk – answer phones and provide directions to those seeking City and County government information – call 231-922-4797 for more information.

Learning Partners – mentor/tutor students with school work and social skills

Senior Center – serve senior citizens – decorating, fundraising, gardening, party planning, programming, public relations, nutrition, office, travel

Volunteer Services – assist Probate and Family Courts

TCAPS Update

TCAPS Receives 11 Boxes of School Supplies from Traverse City State Bank

Traverse City State Bank recently delivered a generous gift of school supplies to TCAPS to help students and classrooms start the year off right. The donations were collected as part of a bank program where in exchange for a dress-down day on Friday, employees have the option to donate cash or materials at any of their five locations. For the month of August, TCSB employees were collecting school supply donations. As part of a partnership with TV 7&4, the opportunity to donate was extended to the community as bank customers and anyone interested in donating were encouraged to drop items off on the last day of the drive. In total, 11 boxes of supplies, from notebooks to backpacks, to cleaning supplies were donated to benefit local schools.

More Living in Traverse City

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Photo(s) by Adam Rhoades