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Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 12:00 pm

By Cindy Iutzi

Staff Writer

Area residents ages 21 to 45 who want action, networking, community and the opportunity to be part of something big are invited to the Southside Boat Club from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, to help form the Greater Keokuk Young Professionals.

The aim is to have a face-to-face conversation in a casual atmosphere with dynamic young professionals interested in connecting with others in the Keokuk area to strengthen existing partnerships, foster new relationships and make a difference in the community.

“Our goal is to reach the demographic not joining, not involved with other groups,” said Brian Cross, executive petty officer with the U.S. Coast Guard, Keokuk, who with Dominique Palermini is helping form the young professionals group. Cross lives in Carthage, Ill., and Palermini in Hamilton, Ill.

As baby boomers retire, move south or slow down, a void in leadership could occur unless a younger crowd steps up. Getting a start on networking with people during the generational transition will help advance the community and the community’s potential young leaders.

“What is there available to grow middle leadership?” Cross asked. “We need to groom new leaders.”

The meeting on Oct. 24 will help kick off the young professionals group and help organizers get an idea of area interest in the plan.

The October meeting is free and will include a brief discussion of short- and long-term goals, the group’s mission and signup of new members.

A first-time membership fee of $44 is being proposed along with a $34 annual renewal of membership thereafter. The funds will buy a Greater Keokuk Young Professionals polo shirt and underwrite events or speakers.

The young professionals group is in partnership with the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce.

A link through the chamber to the young professionals Facebook page is expected to be online by the October meeting.

RSVP for the meeting to the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce at 524-5055 or at officemanager@keokukchamber.com.

Call Cross at 727-434-2767 or Palermini at 319-316-2853 for more information.

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