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Local club gets update on Chamber of Commerce events

VALLEY — A series of three fishing tournaments at Chambers County Lake ended last week with one more event set just for the kids. In March, April and May, prize money was available for the fishermen who did especially well those months in landing crappie, bass and catfish. The final check presentation took place Wednesday afternoon at the lake.

The Kids’ Fishing Rodeo will be taking place on Saturday, June 23 at the lake. It’s for kids in the 12 & under group. Registration starts at 7 a.m. CDT with the event getting under way at 8 a.m. and will continue until around 11:30 a.m. Entrants need to bring their own poles. The bait will be provided for them. All children who register will receive a free hot dog lunch. There will also be door prizes and rides on a miniature train.

The spring fishing tournaments and the kids’ fishing rodeo were the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce’s way of getting across how nice it is to get out to the county lake, which is one of the largest such lakes in the state.

GVACC Executive Director Ashley Crane talked about this at Wednesday’s noon hour meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Valley. Crane said she was well pleased with the participation the Chamber will have in the coming year’s junior ambassador program. “We will have a group of 45 students,” she said. “We are super excited about that. We will have industry tours with them in October, and we’re looking at taking them on a field trip to Montgomery in the spring.”

Something else Crane is super excited about is a joint venture between the Chamber and Bradshaw-Chambers County Library. It will be taking place this fall, and anyone with a library card can take part in it. It’s known as Universal Class, and more than 500 continuing education courses can be taken online.

“Once you have a user name you can take up to six classes at a time,” Crane said. “It’s a great way for local businesses to provide training for their employees without sending them out of town. We’re looking at it as a means of opening up the community to opportunities that might not otherwise be available.”

Crane said she was enthused about it and thanked both the library and the Charter Foundation for their interest in helping it get started. “(Library Director) Mary Hamilton is one of those people who will get something done when she says she’s going to do it,” Crane said.

Subjects that are available through Universal Class include computer training, business, basic writing and math skills, finance, career training, history, art, pet and animal care. health/nutrition, crafts and hobbies and how to do it yourself.

The program will feature 24/7 access through the library’s website, feedback from certified instructors, courses in over 30 subject areas, self-paced classes, opportunities to connect with other students and continuing education units on select courses.

The Chamber’s annual membership dinner will be taking place on Thursday, September 20. The GVACC will be celebrating its 55th anniversary, and a “Back to the Sixties” costume contest will be taking place. It should be lots of fun for everyone and a great chance to sample food from local restaurants.

“You may be pleasantly surprised,” Crane said. “You may find there’s some really good restaurants in the local area you weren’t aware of.”

The Chamber is looking at having a Winter Festival at the West Point Depot on Saturday, Nov. 17. It will be a good way to kick off the local Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season. There’s a good chance there will be Christmas-themed inflatables the kids will really love.

“We’re in the infancy stages of planning it,” said Crane, “but we think it will be something everyone will enjoy.”