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With homecoming here, it got me thinking about the word HOME…. The word home can be used in so many ways: homerun, homework, hometown, home base, homecoming, homestead, homebound. The interesting thing about these words is that they mean “coming back” to something whether it’s a baseball diamond or a visit to the folks, or back where someone grew up.  There’s something about HOME that we all love.

Studies have shown from our Career Here Event that the vast majority of young people would like to spend their lives and build their careers in or near the area where they grew up.  In fact, 76% of high school students who attended Career Here! in 2019 stated they would like to work in our area if the opportunity exists.

So how do we get them to come home? I believe it starts with a change in attitude about coming back home. Have you ever been in a conversation with a group of people and they say something like, “You have to leave here to get a good job?” So, electricians, business owners, plumbers, carpenters, nurses, diesel mechanics, mechanics, doctors, lawyers, aren’t good jobs? You can find all of those opportunities and more right here in Hand County.

Community pride goes a long way while getting young people to move back home. My husband and I were in a store out of state and this guy was talking to the teller and he said something like, “This town sucks. I hate it here.” I wanted to talk to him so badly, but my husband held me back. Have some pride in where you live, I told myself. I wonder if people realize that when they talk negatively about where they live, they are actually talking bad about themselves. Don’t drag your community down because of your bad attitude. Either change where you live and get more involved or move.

Quality of life is something we need to be talking about also. Being able to have your kids walk to school, very little traffic, feeling safe, slower pace, are just a few examples of why we live where live. I try and tell someone everyday why I love living here. It’s more than just a place to me and my family. It’s a way of life.

We also need to get the student youth involved! On Hand is committed to making sure that our youth has a voice and a place in our community. If they get to help decide on projects, way of life, they will be involved and more likely to come back and stay.

I realize that I am more passionate about our community than most. It’s my job to be the community cheerleader. Try and put on your positive cheer hat when talking to the younger generation about moving back to their hometown. We need them to move back. I hope someday my boys move back to Miller and get to the live the life that we live.

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