HYPE (Hopkinsville Young Professionals Engage) seeks to involve young professionals in their community. The group is hoping to attract new members to its ranks and wants to develop members’ leadership skills and get them involved in the community.

A family atmosphere and job opportunities help employers attract good, young talent for their companies, said Tyler Jones, a Hopkinsville resident and local financial advisor.

“You’ve got to have something to keep those people here,” said Jones, who began looking for an organization to be a part of when he first moved to Hopkinsville.

He attended a networking event hosted by HYPE, i.e., Hopkinsville Young Professionals Engage, and was impressed with its fun activities and “a lot of good people” that he met.

“I knew I wanted to be a part of this group,” said Jones, who served last year as the group’s vice-chairman and is now its new chairman, a post he’s filled for the past month or two.

Jones noted that the organization that seeks to involve young professionals in their community is in the midst of an effort to revitalize the group and grow its membership.

One new initiative is reaching out to employers and asking them to encourage their employees to attend HYPE meetings; the group is hoping to attract new members to its ranks and wants to develop members’ leadership skills and get them involved in the community.

“Our goal for this year is to ensure that we are having regular hosted programs for young professionals to attend, social activities and ways (for them) to volunteer,” said Chandler Ladd, a HYPE member who currently serves as the group’s events chairman.

HYPE already hosts luncheons that are educational events for its members, and Ladd said the group also wants to offer opportunities for members to network and get to know each other.

She said its members hope other young professionals will get involved in HYPE and show the community they are available and want to make a difference in their town.

Ladd noted that other communities have their own young professional groups, and she believes those groups help young people get involved in building their community’s future.

She returned home to Hopkinsville after finishing college and thought the local organization would be a great way to reconnect with people she’d grown up with but hadn’t seen in a while.

Jones said he’d never been in Hopkinsville before he took a job with Edward Jones, a financial services firm in the city. He didn’t know any young professionals his own age, and HYPE was perfect to fill that gap, Jones noted, helping him meet people and develop leadership skills.

“It definitely got me plugged into the community, no doubt about it,” he said.

Jones said the group’s 50 members try to have at least one meeting a month, whether it’s a social event or one related to professional development. Among its upcoming slate of activities is a Donuts and Development breakfast that was from 7 to 8:30 a.m. today.

Sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, that event was at the Hopkinsville-Christian County Chamber of Commerce with Taylor Hayes speaking about the Community Vision Plan.

Those attending could either sit down for breakfast or take it to go, Jones said.

Additionally, the group is visiting the Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitors Bureau at noon Sept. 27 to hear Brooke Jung, the bureau’s executive director, talk on tourism.

HYPE will host an employer lunch at noon Oct. 29 at the Forbes Building in downtown Hopkinsville and is inviting numerous chief executive officers and human resources professionals to hear a message about keeping young professionals in the community.

To round out the month, the group plans to have a Haunted Hoptown event for its members later on in October, with Alissa Keller, executive director of the Museums of Historic Hopkinsville-Christian County, taking the group on a walking tour of haunted places in the city.

Jones said HYPE doesn’t have a scheduled meeting time but announces its meetings in advance. He said anyone interested in the group may attend one of the meetings and pick up a membership form, visit the group’s Facebook page (Hopkinsville Young Professionals Engage) or call the chamber at 270-886-9096.

A link to the group can also be found on the chamber’s website at christiancountychamber.com. Click on “Programs” at the top of the page and scroll down.

Membership typically ranges from ages 21 to 45, according to Jones.

He noted that HYPE has so much potential, and Jones said he believes the community sees that potential. But he said he thinks the community doesn’t know how to utilize the group.

“When you come to HYPE, it’s a good way to meet people, young people especially, and get them invested in our community,” Jones said. “It lets them know about different resources, and we’re developing leaders. We’re tying them into our community.”

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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