The Village of Beecher hosted a community-wide forum on November 28th, 2018 to discuss generational differences, and specifically how to engage millennials in both the Beecher 2040 effort and in community life. The keynote speaker was Phil Gwoke of Bridgeworks, who shared some excellent thoughts on how to relate to people from any generation, and some specific thoughts on connecting with millennials. Key takeaways include:
- Recruit millennials to recruit millennials – great point, and can be applied to attracting volunteers for local events or to attracting new residents to Beecher
- Millennials want, and expect, their voice to be heard – we must provide opportunities for them to share ideas, and encourage millennials to get together and brainstorm ideas about making Beecher an even better community
- 78% of millennials would rather spend money on the experience rather than a thing – so events, activities, and things to do will be critical components to attracting and retaining young families
- Lead with the Why! We need to come up with a clear, unique message of why people should come to Beecher to live, work and play.
- Millennials have grown up in a culture of rapid innovation – And they look for it everywhere – in their job and in their community. Thinking out a year is a stretch – let alone to 2040 (and for different reasons, 2040 is hard to focus on for our older population as well). Focusing on what makes Beecher special, why it is unique, and what could make it better are ideas that apply to all ages.
Mr. Gwoke complimented the Village on the inclusive nature of Beecher’s 2040 Comprehensive Planning process, and the participation of traditionalists (born prior to 1946), baby boomers (1947-1964), generation X (1965 to 1979), millennials (1980-1995), and Gen Z (1996-2010) in the workshop.