BY: RACHEL WUMKES
I am a mix of emotions as I begin this blog post, as it is my final one as a Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce employee. I have accepted the Academic Assistant position in Agriculture and Skilled Trades at NIACC. While the words about Clear Lake activities and Chamber members have flowed easily over the past seven years, this one is a bit harder to write.
I began my journey with the Chamber in the spring of 2017. I had spent the previous year caring for my ill husband as he battled cancer. After his death that January, I knew it was time to go back to work. As a single mom with two little kids, I struggled with the thought of being tied to an office full time.
The gig at the Chamber came on a whim, sent to me by a friend. I messaged Libbey that day and said, “I’m totally applying for this after Spring Break.”
It was, quite honestly, exactly what I needed.
Writing can be stressful at times. While one day the words seem to pour out like lava, the next day may consist of staring at a blank screen for hours. You write, then delete. Write a bit more, then delete that, too.
It’s a vicious cycle.
In writing for the Chamber, the words always came easily to me, and my love for this community continued to grow with each blog that I posted.
Some highlights over the years come to mind immediately. Of course, there was the famous “Midges & Mayflies” post that garnered thousands of hits to our website. I think I even had a snippet on the news from that post! Before the invention of Chat GPT, my brain (all on its own) would often come up with fun little remixes about our signature events. There was this one, a remix of The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. And who can forget when I reworked the famous song, Imagine, as we mourned the loss of our beloved July 4th celebration during COVID.
That one even garnered a phone call from a reporter with the Washington Post!
During COVID, I kicked off the “Feel Good Friday” blog post series. My hope was to shine a bit of good on everyone during an otherwise dark time. It was something often brought back when an exciting weekend was on the horizon.
During the holidays, Stacy and I dressed as ridiculous elves and frolicked through the streets visiting Chamber members. The following year, we wore pink getups from head to toe as we promoted Pink Friday, an annual November shopping push for local retailers.
Needless to say, there have been a lot of great memories during my time with the Chamber.
And while I will miss being front and center to all the fantastic action at the Lake, I will mostly miss the people.
The friendly smiles that accompanied “I loved your blog post last week” at the grocery store. Heck, even the random text messages about event details (when they could have easily looked up the information for themselves. LOL).
But most of all, I’ll miss being a part of the Dream Team. It is not every day you find coworkers who become your friends. Thank you for listening to my crazy ramblings and all the woes that come with being the ringleader to my large circus. For supporting me through some pretty significant milestones in my life, especially this one.
And while my words will no longer be gracing the socials weekly, I won’t be far. I will always be the Chamber’s biggest cheerleader (and a chamber member), so you’ll see me at lots of activities and events as a volunteer.
It was a fun ride, friends. Thanks for reading my words all these years!