A Young Person’s Perspective on Lake Township

I have lived in Hartville/Lake Township my entire life and I, like many of my peers, swore one day making my way to other areas of the country and out of this little midwestern town. When College came around, I chose to go as close to the edge of the state as possible in an attempt to help myself become acclimated with the distance I would put between myself and home one day. What moving away taught me was to make yourself as Sam Tornow internship photomarketable as possible for your career and to create your own opportunities, but never being so prideful as to never ask for guidance. Through that ideology, and with the help of lucky connections, I found myself with the chance to intern at the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce this winter, and now with it coming to end, I can say with confidence that my view on this town has changed in more ways than one.

For those of you who don’t know what a Chamber of Commerce is, it is a business network and non-profit organization that has the aim of promoting and helping local businesses grow. I could go on and on about how much I learned related to my journalism major, but that is not the most important thing I took away. Yes, I did write a lot of blog posts. Yes, I helped manage multiple social media accounts. Yes, I attended meetings. Yes, I learned fantastic marketing and social techniques. Yes, I made more phone calls than my introverted self would of hoped. Yes, I learned how to make those phone calls less painful. Yes, I networked and gained references from some amazing people. But what this internship taught me most about, was a sense of community.

Lake Township is a small, but mighty township. It’s not hard to miss on the map or to drive by on a roadtrip, but to us, it is home. However, I am not deaf to the comments my friends, peers and even myself (not anymore) make about it, and the conversation which always unfolds:

  • “I’m bored, there is nothing to do around here.”
  • “We’ve done everything around here.”
  • “Everything fun is at least a 20 minute drive.”
  • “That’s way too far.”
  • “Let’s just go watch a scary movie in someone’s basement.”

board of directors 2015 holiday board meeting at quails coveyThis constant conversation is ludicrous. There is plenty to do in Lake Township, however people have to be willing to look and open their eyes to new possibilities. Remember when the Flea Market was on the corner of Market and 619? That was when there was less to do around here. While I have nothing against poor quality horror films (trust me, I’ve seen more than I care to admit), and there is nothing with wrong with finding things to do outside of the community occasionally, there is much more to this town. In my time at the Chamber, I have had the opportunity to connect with businesses that I didn’t even know existed, or have been around for years, but I never tried out. I could write a list or make a flowchart of neat things to do in a 15 mile radius, but all that would do is send every reader into information overload and leave them with nothing but a list of businesses, which they would ultimately never glance at again. Rather, I challenge you all to explore your town and begin thinking locally.

The most common problem I see, is the willingness to write off local businesses in favor of those in other townships. Why drive to out of the township connect with us image for cc social mediafor a cup of coffee when we have plenty of great coffee shops in town? Why scour the state for thrift shops when your town has a massive list of them? Why drive nearly an hour to go to a park when we have multiple (I know you all haven’t been to them all)? I am not saying you shouldn’t take advantage of all the state has to offer, but the fact is, if you spend $1.00 at a business in Lake Township, $0.68 will be put back into the local economy, if you spend the same amount in a different township, it is doing nothing to help this area continue to grow. That is staggering. Even in the last 19 years, Lake Township has grown immensely. You can continue to make this town bigger and better, but you need to invest in it first.

DHV map jpegLake Township has multiple hidden gems. I know most of my peers have an itch for exploration, but why not explore the place you live and find out what it truly has to offer?  The Chamber offers resources such as their blogs, Facebook pages, community calendar of events and their tourism website named Discover Hartville, which is dedicated to showcasing our area assets. The site also includes a downloadable map which helps tourists and locals navigate our area with ease.

I, like many of peers, swore to eventually get away from this community. The Chamber has not changed that, I still want to see the world. However, no city started as the behemoth it is today. It started as a small town like Hartville, Uniontown or Greentown. No matter where you travel, no matter where you wander, no matter if you stay or go, this place will always be your home, and we should treat it as such.

-Sam Tornow