More than 175 business, government, education, industry and other community leaders are set to gather in Hilton Head this weekend to "celebrate Sumter."
The Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce's annual retreat, which will be Jan. 18-20, is a time …
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The Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce's annual retreat, which will be Jan. 18-20, is a time for the group to discuss how to keep Sumter's "growth and momentum on the incline."
"Though a great deal of work goes into the planning, it is well worth the time spent when we see the brainpower and leadership around the room," said Chris Hardy, president and CEO of the Chamber. "This year will be a little different with regards to the actual programming. This year is about celebrating all of our accomplishments as a community over the last 15-20 years. Retreats in the past have helped mold the program for the upcoming year, but since we have a strategic plan in place, we had time to focus on something different this year."
The incoming chairman of the Chamber's Board of Directors plans the retreat, and Dennis Turner is spotlighting growth in Sumter that has taken place in the last few decades with his theme "Celebrate Sumter." Turner is the senior large account executive for Duke Energy. Before he became chair-elect, he served as the chair of the Chamber's Education Committee.
"We still have work to do, but it's time to celebrate recent successes to further build on the positive momentum taking place in Sumter," Turner said.
The agenda for the weekend will highlight positive growth and change across a variety of aspects of the community.
Saturday sessions include "Movin' On Up," a presentation that focuses on retail and hospitality growth in Sumter, followed by "We'll Keep the Light on for You," a discussion about electricity and power now and for the future; "On Your Side," an update on law enforcement improvements in the community; and "Made in Sumter," a look at products made by local industry that have an impact around the world.
Sunday's agenda includes community updates from the Young Professionals of Sumter, Sumter Economic Development, the City of Sumter, Sumter County and Shaw Air Force Base. A special segment has been added to highlight successes in Sumter's institutions of higher education and new K-12 programs in Sumter School District.
"I truly love the Sumter community and believe we need to spend more time talking about all the positive things we have going for us," said Nicole Bailey, vice president for operations for the Chamber.
Hardy said it's easy sometimes to get wrapped up in planning and managing efforts and forget about celebrating the "fruits of our labor."
"Anytime we have a program or event, we also strive to have the attendees look back and say to themselves they were glad they didn't miss it," he said. "I know once the retreat has adjourned, every single participant will look back and say not only were they glad they didn't miss it, but they are already looking forward to next year."
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