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Philip Chamber of Commerce prepares for Horizons Program and Philip Centennial

The Philip Chamber of Commerce addressed a full agenda on Monday, November 13.

Philip has been selected to participate in a Horizons program aimed at building community leadership while addressing area poverty. Britni Ross and Jennifer Henrie updated the chamber.

"We are embarking on a phase called Study Circles which call on six community members to be facilitators of discussions concerning poverty," said Henrie. A steering committee will meet on Thursday, November 16, to begin organizing the logistics of future meetings. Some members of the steering committee are Jay Baxter, DJ Rush, Dave Holman, Shirley Chin, Del Bartels, Britni Ross and Jennifer Henrie. The Northwest Area Foundation, through the South Dakota State University extension, will fund all operating expenses incurred during all meetings.

The six facilitators must attend a day-long training session in Rapid City on December 4.

A plea is going out for people to volunteer as Study Circle members. Thirty to 35 community members will start out as three groups during weekly meetings in late February through March of 2007, then come together to pool their work.

Only then will an action forum give developed ideas and possible projects to the Foundation and USDA extension personnel.

"It is not that we fill in the blanks and get X number of grant dollars," said Henrie. "The ideas we come up with are important to the success of the community and the program. The goal is to understand how poverty affects the community and devise ways that poverty can be addressed."

Chamber president Joe Gittings pointed out that the leadership training program would have been the next step after the community assessment that was held several years ago. Such training would have cost at least $5,000. A recent spotlight meeting was when Philip began its application process for the Horizons program. The spotlight involved surrounding communities. Community and program promoters like this. The community and its businesses always benefit from people coming to Philip.

Next, the chamber was reminded of the importance of its own committees. All six must up their effort in preparations for next year's Centennial Celebration. The standing committees are: Activities, Business Promotion, Economic Development, Lasting Legacy, Hospitality and Community Development.

Three chamber board members terms will expire this year - Joe Gittings, Mark Ford and Gene Fitzgerald. The Chamber is looking for volunteers to fill these positions.

Boyd Waara read a letter that he drafted concerning an invitation by Teaming With Wildlife to join its backers. The group is depending on large numbers of other organizations, businesses and state government departments to add to its political weight when trying to convince the federal government to grant more money to wildlife and conservation issues.

Though supportive of the goals of Teaming With Wildlife, the chamber opted to not sign on as a sponsor. Though the current list of supporters is very long, no real landowners or organization concerning landowners are on that list. Philip depends on farmers and ranchers and may join the TWW when landowners also join.

The upcoming Parade of Lights will be the fourth in Philip. The Chamber encourages businesses and organizations to join the parade, or to supply activities or products before and after the parade. The Hospital Auxiliary has traditionally offered hot chocolate during the event.

Philip will not host the Prairie Expo this coming year. The Centennial preparations are too great to add this project to the future agenda. Philip will help with an expo if Kadoka decides to host it. Philip could take its turn in 2008. If this does not work, then perhaps Philip and Kadoka could rest from the expo for a year.

Carrie Buchholz, school liaison to the Chamber, offered the assistance from the Student Council, the FFA, and the FCCLA in preparing for the Centennial. Spring cleanup and helping to serve the many extra people coming to the Centennial would be of great value.

The Chamber thanked Bob Thorson and the American Legion for the free use of the hall during the chili cook-off before the home football game. The weather was too cold for the cook-off to be outside. Thorson announced that a Legion fundraiser will be this Saturday to help purchase a carpet for the hall's stage.

The next Chamber meeting will include the election of the three new officers. That meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. at the Steakhouse on Monday, December 11.