By Will Gormly
The Rutland Young Professionals has always believed in being as inclusive as possible. Despite the name, our events are attended by folks of all ages and backgrounds. The way we figure it, as long as you are working toward a future in the Rutland region, you’ve come to the right spot.
That said, Rutland Young Professionals is legally recognized as a nonprofit membership organization. This designation means that we need to have bylaws, a governing board, and a defined member base to vote on our policies and leadership team. Thus we created the registered membership program. By definition, to become a registered member of the Rutland Young Professionals, you need to live or work in Rutland County, be between the ages of 18 and 45, and pay yearly dues of $25.
As a registered member of the Rutland Young Professionals, you are entitled to a set of benefits. The first and foremost is the legal right to participate in governance. Registered members have the right to propose bylaws changes, vote at our annual meeting and run for a position on the board of directors. On top of this, we added a few fun perks to registered membership. Members get discounted tickets at our yearly Gala, early access to RYP Meet-Ups and special events that have a limited number of participants, and special discounts from the Rutland business community.
The $25 we collect from membership dues also goes into funding our Professional Development Grant Program. The Rutland Young Professionals designed this program to offer financial assistance to those in the area who are pursuing career advancement. Funds are distributed to applicants who, for example, are taking a photography class at Stafford in order to help with their marketing career, getting their Automotive Service Excellence certification, attending an HR professional’s trade conference, or any activity that assists in building a career in the Rutland region.
We recognize that some folks may want to support the Rutland Young Professionals, but fall outside of the age range, or don’t live or work in the area. To accommodate this, we created the Friend of RYP. This designation carries all the same perks as a registered member, but without the right to vote, or apply for the grant program.
Since the beginning of our membership organization status two years ago, we have signed up a combined total of 275 registered members and friends of RYP. Every week we continue to see new and renewing names added to the list. Despite our early concerns that a paid membership model would be a turnoff to the RYP community, it has only garnered positive feedback. Registered membership has provided our community an opportunity to buy in and show their support for our mission.
If you, or somebody you know, is interested in becoming a registered member or friend of RYP, you can register at www.rutlandyoungprofessionals.org/membership. If you are interested at getting more involved with the Rutland Young Professionals, or have any questions please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would also like to invite you to our next Mix at Live Love Yoga on May 24 at 6 p.m.
Will Gormly is president of the Rutland Young Professionals board of directors.