by Jennifer Noel
The next generation of businessmen and women in Hanover is on the rise.
They are mingling on rooftops and connecting at Happy Hours. They are learning about the importance of investing in the community and in actively participating in Hanover’s renaissance.
And their rise is linked to Hanover Area Young Professionals.
Speaking to a group of millennials still dressed from the workday and gathered on the rooftop of the Guthrie Memorial Library, Adam Nugent, Director of Special Events for the York Revolution, said the key to making downtown strong is to get the surrounding community involved.
The rooftop gathering is an annual HAYP event, one of many geared toward younger generations of rising professionals.
Nugent, 32, is a board member for the York Young Professionals, and through his position with the York Revolution and his membership in YYP, he recognizes the importance of younger generations investing in their community.
“I want to help build the place where I grew up, and make it a place where my kids want to come back to,” Nugent said. This sentiment, like many other encouraging pieces of advice Nugent shared, seemed to resonate with the group.
Hanover Area Young Professionals was created in 2012 in conjunction with the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce when it became apparent there was some disparity in the number of professional groups, especially involving younger generations, helping to enhance business in the Hanover area.
With about 50 members ranging from 21 to 40 years of age, members are able to network with a wide variety business employees, ranging from graphic designers to engineers.
Justine Kilkelly, manager of Main Street Hanover and HAYP Community Service board member, said their mission is to provide emerging professionals with the knowledge, opportunities and connections to elevate their careers with the goal of encouraging both the growth and retention of their talents to be utilized in our local business communities.
HAYP hosts several activities for members throughout the year, including quarterly Happy Hours and professional development events. Happy Hours are held throughout the Hanover area, which also helps highlight restaurants and businesses.
Professional development events are free for members ($12.50 for non-members) and feature guest speakers, like Nugent, who share insights into advancing in business, managing the job market and giving back to the community. Past speakers have included former Hanover Hospital CEO Jim Wissler, State Rep. Kate Klunk and Jim Sponaugle, vice president and general manager of Riley Welding.
Chrissie Rapp, events chair for HAYP, said she comes to the events to meet other young professionals at a similar station in their life.
“It’s an opportunity to connect and build relationships, both personal and professional,” said Rapp, 29, who is employed by Hanover Hospital in the Marketing Department.
An annual membership fee of $30 is all that’s required to take part in group events, including volunteering with HAYP in local service opportunities.
Recently, the group participated in a clean-up of the downtown square and plans to assist in fundraising efforts for local charities during the Christmas season.
Shane Becker, 24, who is on the board of directors for the Hanover Jaycees in addition to his membership in HAYP, said HAYP membership offers the opportunity to continue to develop and apply yourself.
“This gives a group of people of our generation a place to communicate,” said Becker, who is a mechanical designer with Voith Hydro in York, Pa.
While member events tend to focus on building professional connections and networking, the youthful foundation of the group is not lost.
In June, the group held an event at the Timeline Arcade in downtown Hanover, where members tested their skills at Terminator 2 pinball and other nostalgic games. The HAYP squad is also planning a kickball tournament in the spring. And the fall season wouldn’t be complete without a Halloween costume party at Miscreation Brewing Company, situated in center square.
Kilkelly said there is always something going on to be a part of.
“We are a fun group that is always looking for fun, new events to engage us in the community in a fresh new way,” Kilkelly said.
HAYP helps young professionals as they develop the necessary skills to feel more comfortable in business settings and cultivate relationships with industry leaders. Group events are a platform to develop these skills with other people in a similar age range and with relatable life experiences.
Torren Ecker, HAYP president, said, “HAYP helps educate and develop young professionals for other groups in community. I guess you could say that we are a feeder for other civic/volunteer groups in the Hanover Area. We get lots of requests from other groups that our looking for young, motivated members to join their organization.”