While I applaud the RBJ for its attention to young professionals, I was sad to see that the author of the Aug. 1 article “Fast Start: A New Phase at RYP” chose to disparage the organization and its early members by describing the group prior to 2007-08 as “limited in impact.”
I became an RYP member in early 2003 when I returned to the Rochester area to work with Thomson Reuters, and I remained active until I left in late 2008 to pursue a Ph.D. During that time, RYP membership was a defining part of my life. As your article correctly notes, social events were “legendary” (including one at which a friend met his future wife), but we early members of RYP also made contributions to the community that are worth mentioning. RYP members during that time assisted with many community events, and our newsletters regularly promoted volunteer opportunities. RYP organized community discussions on how to better retain an educated workforce in the city, highlighting the exodus of young people from Rochester. The last RYP event I participated in before leaving the area was to assist other RYP members and the Rochester Contemporary gallery in retrieving and preserving art from Midtown Plaza—preserving a part of Rochester’s heritage.
Perhaps the most important early contribution of RYP, though, was to connect and integrate young professionals like myself—those new to the area and those of us repatriating after time away—in an atmosphere where young professionals were a small portion of the population.
I am happy to see the growth of RYP since I left Rochester in 2008. In fact, I still occasionally attend events when I am there. However, I believe your writers should give more credit to the early leaders and members of RYP. The organization could not be what it is today without the efforts of its “early adopters.”
–Alexis Leanna Henshaw
Visiting assistant professor Department of Political Science Bucknell University
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