Imagine walking into a neat, local restaurant and seeing a group of young professionals mingling in the corner. You are greeted by a couple of big, warm smiles and given a name tag. Would you be nervous, intimidated, excited, or maybe even a combination of the two?
That’s exactly how I felt at my first Hot Spot six years ago - I was really intimidated and nervous. I had just graduated college and had never really got involved with campus or community events but YLNI looked interesting. Sure, I met a few people at the Hot Spot I attended, but at that time I was far too intimidated to feel comfortable, so I didn’t go back for a while. You would have never guessed then that I would be a future social butterfly within YLNI!
Eventually I mustered up the courage to go back, and I’m so glad I did.
Over the next few years, I attended a few more Hot Spots. Then, I started volunteering at the YLNI Farmer’s Market (formerly the Barr Street Market). Fast forward a few years and I had become a Hot Spot regular AND YLNI member. I worked my way up to Hot Spot Co-Chair because I was on a mission to ensure that anyone attending a Hot Spot felt welcome, comfortable, and wanted to come back the next month (not waiting YEARS like I did). It was, and remains, important to me that people had a familiar face each month.
Through YLNI events, such as Hot Spots, I have met so many people that have become close friends. Friends that I have “Fajita Friday” with. Friends I brunch with. Even friends who helped me celebrate my new daughter. YLNI has introduced me to friends who now feel like family. Whenever I look back, I am so glad that I mustered up the courage to jump back in.
Hot Spots are many people’s first experience with YLNI. They are casual, fun, and open to both members and non-members. Want to meet new friends? Want to gain new business contacts? Want to learn how you can do good in the community? YLNI can help you do all that and more - so much more!
Now, flashback to when you walked into the neat restaurant…remember those big, warm smiles that greeted you? They belong to Diedre Matheny and Josey Seabolt, the current Co-Chairs of YLNI Hot Spots. Diedre and/or Josey are at every Hot Spot ready to meet you and ensure you feel welcome. I’m there most months, too.
We’ll see you on the third Thursday of each month. Bring a friend, colleague, or come solo – we can’t wait to meet you!
Britny Berndt, Vice President of Social Programming