Cleared For Landing

Rockford is on the verge of winning a fantastic opportunity. For those of you who don’t know, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is thinking of building its third campus in either Rockford or Houston. Rockfordians have been wooing Embry-Riddle for some time now and recently even took a day trip to Dayton sponsored by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce and the Rockford Area Economic Development Council to visit Embry-Riddle’s campus as well as the Air Show. Rockford has shown fantastic support for the university to call Rockford home and for that, we should be proud!!

Rockford has been known to have a C.A.V.E. problem. This cute acronym was pointed out to me by a local leader and while I chuckled, it did have a scary air of truth about it. C.A.V.E. stands for Citizens Against Virtually Everything. That, my friends, is depressing.

Rockford has banned together well to attract Embry-Riddle but there are still those out there that are against the idea. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I hope everyone keeps in mind that sometimes change is scary. Sometimes change means taking a risk. Sometimes change means something coming into your community that you have no interest in or doesn’t fit into your general scope of appreciation. But the important thing to remember is, as Bruce Barton said, “When you’re through changing, you’re through.”

So often these C.A.V.E.s hold back Rockford’s future. Unfortunately, we cannot survive solely on our manufacturing roots any more. While there are traditions that need to be honored and valued, we have to reposition ourselves to be players in tomorrow’s game. Right now, if we let the C.A.V.E.s win out, we won’t even be in the game.

Embry-Riddle is a great example of what Rockford can become. With the University comes more jobs, more educated young and season professionals, more access to aeronautical technology and more economic dollars. As young professionals who care about the future of our community we need to embrace, welcome and cheer for Embry-Riddle and continue to let them know they are wanted and welcome. We need to educate the C.A.V.E.s and make sure our voice is heard by our local authorities.

But when this battle for Embry-Riddle is won, we need to continue to get out in the community and find the good. What else can we band together to do to bring change that will be good for tomorrow? How can we turn the C.A.V.E.s into citizens willing to take part in change that will better of community for years to come? It starts with us as young professionals. After all, as I was told lately, we need to “Lead, follow or get out-of-the-way.” The choice is ours. Are we going to hide in C.A.V.E.s or are we going to soar in the clouds (hopefully in an Embry-Riddle plane!!)??

Here’s to change!!

-Caitlin

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~ by caitlinludwig on October 12, 2010.

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