Adam Birkan | Daily file photo
Megan Sorenson, assistant director of the Chautauqua Fund, also serves as staff liaison to the NOW Generation.
According to John Haskell, youth, creativity and ambition are “central to sustaining Chautauqua’s mission of increasing engagement across age groups, both inside and outside the gates.”
Haskell is chair of the NOW Generation Advisory Council and, as he put it, one of Chautauqua’s main commitments is to intergenerational inclusion. The council began meeting in the spring of 2013, and extended invitations to Chautauquans ages 21 to 40 to stay connected year round by offering social, professional, family-focused, networking and volunteer opportunities. Part of its mission is to help prepare and empower young adults for leadership roles — both on and off the grounds.
Currently, there are seven members with diverse professional training, geographic locations and lifestyles.
“I hope the NOW Generation Advisory Council can help Chautauqua be an even more welcoming place for young professionals and families, provide ways for us to connect with each other during and outside the season, and encourage all of us to take a more active leadership role in the Institution,” council member Brian Goehring said.
The NOW generation membership includes more than 400 young Chautauquans and continues to grow and evolve as more people discover and join the group. Membership is open to anyone of the appropriate age. The council has also helped identify key cities where additional volunteers serve as regional captains, who are responsible for developing off-season programs to connect the NOW Generation throughout the year.
“The Chautauqua community has been where I’ve made some of my closest lifelong friends and favorite memories,” council member Mhoire Murphy said. “I hope to help extend its reach and impact.”
This summer, with the help of Murphy, Goehring and others, the council has organized frequent gatherings throughout the season. With a wide variety of events — the first being the annual President’s Reception at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 2, at Chautauqua Golf Club — there will be plenty of opportunities to socialize and become better informed about what’s happening at Chautauqua.
Other events include:
- NOW Generation “Summer Fest” including family-friendly sporting events and activities from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 5, at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club waterfront (pre-register at http://www.ciweb.org/summerfest)
- Weekly “Playdates at the Playground” from 3 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays through Week Six at Children’s School for families with preschool age children
- Ice Cream Social at 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, at the Children’s School Playground
- Council-hosted NOW Generation Porch Gathering from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 9
- Exclusive NOW Generation Gallery Reception with special guests from VACI from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, at Fowler-Kellogg Art Center
Members of the NOW Generation can become more involved by devoting their time, energy and ideas through volunteering and advocacy, or by providing their feedback to the council and staff liaison Megan Sorenson.
Philanthropic contributions are not required to attend the NOW Generation activities, but participation — at any amount — is encouraged. For the first time this summer, those who have made an annual gift of $250 or more to the Chautauqua Fund will be recognized as members of the newly established Lewis Miller Circle. Lewis Miller Circle recognition will include a special invitation to a reception at the President’s Cottage in August, discounted tickets to select NOW Generation-sponsored events and more.
For council member Amy Schiller, the NOW Generation is an exciting way for her and her peers to “take advantage of everything Chautauqua has to offer, and to introduce a larger circle of friends to a place that means so much to me.”
For more information or to RSVP for these upcoming events, please visit the Facebook group “NOW Generation – Chautauqua Institution” or contact Megan Sorenson, staff liaison, at 716-357-6243 or at firstname.lastname@example.org