The Grand Rapids Chamber, which opened in 1887, produces a full calendar of networking, professional development, policy and award events. Photo via fb.com
Inside Grand Rapids — essentially a crash course on the city — is this week.
The program, this Wednesday to Friday, is presented by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Community Leadership.
City insiders provide Inside Grand Rapids participants with an intensive insight into how the community functions through a two-and-a-half-day immersion in the city.
Participants are bussed around downtown, visiting some of the city’s latest projects and learning about how Grand Rapids’ unique atmosphere influenced their completion.
“This program is great for a couple of people,” said Kim McLaughlin, the chamber’s director of inclusion and community leadership. “It’s great for people who are in new leadership roles or new positions within their company, where they need to have a greater awareness for what is happening in Grand Rapids. It’s also great for newcomers to the community.”
The program is offered twice per year, in the spring and the fall.
The fall program will focus on the history of Grand Rapids, arts, culture, recreation, revitalization of downtown, public-private partnerships, community service and philanthropy.
McLaughlin said that day one will begin with a bus tour of Grand Rapids led by a local historian. It will also include stops at GRid70, a conversation with Kristopher Larson of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., a private tour of the new Downtown Market and a conversation with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks’ Steve Faber at the downtown YMCA.
Day two of the tour will include stops at University Prep for a talk about public-private partnerships, a panel discussion at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art on Grand Rapids as a destination for arts, culture and entertainment and a visit to the Inner City Christian Federation.
“Last fall, when we did this program, the Van Andel Institute had sent people — that were working there that were new to the community — through the program, and they said it just gave them such a better understanding of Grand Rapids in that two-and-a-half days,” McLaughlin said.
She added, “I think it’s a great opportunity for them to learn about the community and ways that they can tap in and become involved.”
There are 28 people signed on for the program, which is limited to 40 participants.
People can email Hannah Nequist at nequisth at grandrapids dot org or call 616-771-0334 for pricing and to register.