Carlisle Young Professionals adds social, networking options
CYP’s December gathering was so well-attended that people had to be turned away at the door. Molly Boegel (left), associate director of admissions, and Dan Confer ’02, assistant director of campus life, were among the lucky members who got in.
by MaryAlice Bitts Jackson
January 25, 2012
[CYP’s December gathering was so well-attended that people had to be turned away at the door. Molly Boegel (left), associate director of admissions, and Dan Confer ’02, assistant director of campus life, were among the lucky members who got in.]
Carlisle is home to prestigious educational institutions, indie shops, a retro-chic theater, world-class fly fishing and myriad specialty restaurants. Yet the traditional small-town gripe—that there are few social and networking opportunities for the young—has persisted. That’s changing, now that Carlisle Young Professionals (CYP) is in town. Geared to the under-40 set but open to all professionals in the area, CYP is stirring up interest on campus, says Assistant Director of Campus Life Dan Confer ’02.
“This is an exciting opportunity for people to socialize, make connections with local, talented individuals and get involved in the community,” says Confer, a Carlisle resident and Leadership Cumberland board member who met his wife, Aimee Zoppi Confer ’00, while attending Dickinson. “It’s great to be involved.”
The leader of the pack is Michael Wilson, special assistant to the Pennsylvania secretary of education and former Harrisburg Young Professionals officer. When he moved to Carlisle last year, he expected to find a similar organization. After all, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Carlisle borough has seen an increase of 18-to-35-year-old residents between 2000 and 2011, so local talent abounds.
And for good reasons: In 2010, Forbes magazine named the Harrisburg-Carlisle region as one of the country’s "Best Places to Raise a Family" and ranked the area fifth in its "Most Livable Cities" report. Last fall, Carlisle was dubbed one of the nation’s "Best Communities for Young People."
Despite these carrots and the talent they attract, there was no vehicle to connect young Carlisle professionals across the spectrum of local industries. So with help from Leadership Cumberland and the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce, Wilson organized an October mixer at the Midway Skating & Bowling Center. CYP followed up with a spectacularly successful Dec. 7 gathering for 50 at Gaia Café. In fact, because of fire codes—and an unforeseen turnout—approximately 30 additional people had to be turned away at the door.
Several Dickinson faculty and staff members were among the lucky 50 who arrived in time. They included Confer; Gwen Moore, coordinator of international services; Molly Boegel, associate director of admissions; Robert Richardson, residential-community director; Heather Harris, assistant director of the Forum on Education Abroad; Luca Lanzilotta, lecturer of Italian; Alyssa DeBlasio, assistant professor of Russian; and Marlena Meikrantz ’10, program associate, Center for Global Study and Engagement. “After meeting with such passionate, thoughtful young professionals, I feel confident about the future leadership of our community,” Boegel says.
Building up steam
CYP recently held a meet-and-greet with Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Carlisle), and a February wine-and-chocolate tasting, in partnership with Rillo’s Restaurant and Helena’s Chocolate Café & Creperie, is in the works. The group also plans to launch a sports league and hold outings,such as a walking tour of downtown restaurants.
CYP’s growing visibility helps us all view our community through the same lens as those who rank it high on national ratings, says Confer. “I guess you hear people talk about the brain drain in Carlisle, but there are plenty of talented, young people with similar interests here,” he adds. “Exciting things are happening in Carlisle.”
Published August 2, 2013