Where you stand depends on where you sit

By on September 10, 2014


Jim Summers

Jim Summers

Since changing seats at the Ephrata Rec Center a little over two years ago, moving from program coordinator to executive director, I have been reminded of the truth in this axiom quite a few times.
As program coordinator, working through the mine field of a fickle economy and customer needs, my energies and decision making were very much revenue and expense driven. How many aerobics participants were needed to run a class; where to find the best prices on athletic equipment; what would the staff to camper ratio be for Kidz Kamp?
Not that I didn’t understand the promoting and propagandizing part of the operation. After all, I worked for Tom Grater, one of the kings of PR, and was always willing to speak to groups or write articles extolling the benefits of Ephrata Recreation. Still, from where I was sitting, I felt there should be a priority on actions that had a direct effect on cash in and cash out.
It was because of the view from my seat that I didn’t fully understand the importance of becoming involved in organizations such as the Ephrata Area Chamber of Commerce. I was somewhat familiar with chamber events, primarily the Business Expo, when I switched seats. I was still a bit skeptical of the importance of being involved with the Chamber but began attending more functions and became a member of the Special Events Committee.
It did not take long to appreciate the view from my new seat and see the benefits of membership with the chamber; benefits that don’t necessarily yield an immediate return but lay the ground work for future operational improvement. It offered a chance to connect with peers and be part of an organization that unifies the community through professional, educational and social opportunities.
It was apparent much effort went into quality programming. Gov. Tom Corbett, Congressman Joe Pitts, Sen. Mike Brubaker, Rep. Gordon Denlinger, District Attorney Craig Stedman and Anne Beiler are an impressive slate of speakers. Events featuring local legislators, elected board and council members and government officials provide a voice for legislative advocacy.
Business After Hours events educate members about area businesses and allow networking in a relaxed atmosphere. Events like Reading Fightin Phil games, the annual Ephrata Cup Golf Tournament and the upcoming Murder Mystery and Progressive Dinner are fun community activities that help provide funds for programming.
The Ephrata Area Chamber is an excellent opportunity for local stake holders to advance all businesses and build a stronger community. I appreciate the time and effort from chamber volunteers and staff and enjoy the view from my new seat!
Jim Summers is the chairman of the Chamber’s Ephrata Cup Golf Tournament and has been active on the Special Events Committee for a little over a year. He has been executive director of the Ephrata Recreation Center for two years.


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