BENNINGTON -- The Bennington Young Professionals hold monthly meetings and events to provide a social outlet in a town that otherwise has few networking opportunities.
"For folks that move here, there is no place necessarily to go," said member Mike Nigro.
Most of the people we've met and associate with, we've met there."
The group took 22 members to Boston on Saturday for a game at Fenway Park, Red Sox versus the Cleveland Indians. Nigro's girlfriend Sarah Perrin organized the event, and succeeded in buying tickets at a group rate.
"This isn't a service organization: There is no business aspect besides networking," Perrin said. "It's a different outlet to meet people. It's a lot of fun and it's how we've met a lot of our friends."
There is no membership fee to the young professionals, but events such as the trip to Boston provide activities to members at cost.
The group is called young professionals, but it has not put an actual cap on age requirements. "It's a good mix: From recent college graduates to folks like me who have been working in the community for some time," said Nigro.
Members meet for a "cocktail mixer" every third Wednesday of the month, usually at Mount Anthony Country Club. This month's mixer is being held at Hemmings, 222 Main Street, on June 19 at 5 p.m. The members contribute ideas and decide as a group on what events to plan at the monthly mixer.
There is no appearance requirements for members, so individuals can pick and choose what meeting and events they would like to attend.
"We are doing a lot more events,"Nigro said. "We are really picking up momentum This group has grown incredibly over the last few years."
A few dozen members attend each of the mixers, which Nigro said tends to be a mix of locals and more recent residents. Nigro and Perrin both work in the healthcare industry. They moved to Bennington three years ago, and joined the young professionals during the summer of 2013. They said that in the time that they've been members, they have seen participation grow.
The group was founded in 2007 by Brian McKenna with the goal of bringing together professionals in the greater-Bennington community. He is working to develop a packet as a tool for employers as an incentive for attracting young educated individuals to the area.
"We're working with employers to make sure they are aware of our efforts and to see if there is anything we can do to help attract young professionals to Bennington, and we work closely with the BCIC to make sure they're passing along the word to its members," McKenna said.
For more information on upcoming events, visit the group's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/benningtonyoungprofessionals. Join the email list by contacting McKenna at Brian.McKenna@dbmckenna.com
Contact Tom Momberg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg