PALM COAST, FL (December 16, 2020) – Teens today are typically viewed as lazy, unambitious and lacking the skills needed to enter the workforce. Enter the Junior Chamber of Commerce, a growing group of 30 Flagler-Palm Coast (FPC) High School students who are actively seeking to better understand their future and the community in which they reside. Led by FPC student Bryan Soudrain, in partnership with the newly created Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber, the Junior Chamber of Commerce has already hosted a conversation with Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland and have their sights set on growing the group beyond FPC students.
“The values the Junior Chamber hopes to instill in students include determination, ambition, understanding the importance of hard work and striving to have an exceptional work ethic,” said Soudrain. “Our Junior Chamber is ‘for the youth, by the youth,’ and we are interested in exploring our future career opportunities, better understanding the business world and creating opportunities for our group members.”
The Junior Chamber is officially sponsored by the Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce, which was recently created after the dissolution of the Flagler County Chamber. Greg Blosé, newly appointed chamber President and CEO said:
“I went on a listening tour when I entered this community and found that business leaders in our region are concerned about the quality of our future workforce. During this time, Bryan Soudrain contacted me to talk about dozens of students who wanted to do more to better prepare for their future careers. They wanted to create a club that helped students learn more about the community they live in, how to make a difference in that community and what to expect in the future as they prepare for professional careers. When we started this chamber, we committed to supporting and improving education and workforce development initiatives. It’s a natural fit for our chamber to support Bryan’s group.”
The Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber has helped the Junior Chamber establish connections to other groups in Flagler County, such as the Flagler Tiger Bay Club, and even helped schedule a ZOOM meeting with Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland, who explained the importance of being involved in the community, making their voices heard and what to expect in the future as a working professional.
“As mayor, I am happy to do whatever it takes to support our local students,” said Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland. “I was impressed by the level of interest the Junior Chamber members had about making a positive difference in their community and preparing for their entry into the workforce. This is a worthwhile initiative and I hope others join me in supporting these students.”
“Mayor Holland spent over an hour with us answering questions about her role as Mayor and much more, which was an invaluable experience for our group,” Soudrain said. “We have 30 FPC students in our group now, and we know there are more like us, who want to make an effort to improve our chances of being professionally successful in the future. Our hope is to take our Junior Chamber county-wide and build on our efforts to help other high-schoolers become involved in their community and take control of their own futures.”
The Junior Chamber meets at the Flagler County Youth Center, which is close to the FPC campus. The Youth Center staff provides a safe, physical location for the group and helps students have meetings with business and community leaders. “The Youth Center is very honored to be able to host the Junior Chamber of Commerce at the Flagler County Youth Center,” said Jordan Butler, Director of the Flagler County Youth Center. “This group is an extremely talented and driven group that is working hard to make connections between academics and local businesses.”
“The Junior Chamber is off to a strong start, but none of our success would be possible without the help of our Officers,” said Soudrain. “We have built a great team, which includes our Vice President Jesse Doolin, Operations Manager Krish Sagar, Fundraising Manager Miguel Castillo and Secretary Taylor Carroll. We are all in this together and it’s been an enlightening experience for all of us.”
The Junior Chamber has also been working with Tony Flores, SCORE Certified Mentor, to help with their most recent project: a video promoting tourism in Flagler County. “I was honored to volunteer my time to work with FPC High School students led by Bryan Soudrain and others. He and his team were able to embrace the art of communications to produce a tourism video, promoting Flagler County, Palm Coast and Flagler Beach small business scene and its amenities with a splendor lifestyle under the palms. I believe in this educational initiative, recommended by SCORE Chapter 87’s community engagement project.”
For more information, or to view the mentioned video, contact Greg Blosé, President and CEO of the Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber, at 386-846-1864 or via email at Greg@PalmCoastFlaglerRegionalChamber.com.