UpDayton Summit History 102

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2018 marks the tenth year of UpDayton’s Summit. For the past ten years, young professionals have been coming together at the Summit to share their needs and concerns for the region, and to pitch ideas for building a better Dayton - the city we call home. As we continue our walk down memory lane, we take a look back on the past 10 years of the Summit, and in this post we’ll be covering years 2013- 2017. Prepare yourselves for a lot of talent, innovation and Dayton enthusiasm!

For part one of UpDayton Summit history, check out our previous blog post!

Let’s take a look at 2013. As year five took flight, young professionals and college students came together to brainstorm creative solutions to local problems. A keynote speech was given by Braddock, Pennsylvania Mayor John Fetterman. After discussion and collaboration, UpDayton launched project action plans for the following topics: Livability, Campus and Entrepreneur. The projects formed from these project discussions worked towards accessibility of fresh and local produce, connecting students to the City of Dayton and connecting emerging businesses to resources. Something to highlight from the Campus project was the launch of the Campus Catalyst program, which consisted of five students from the University of Dayton to serve as ambassadors for UpDayton and get students involved in the city.

Now we move into 2014. The theme of this Summit was “Pitch, Vote, Ignite at the UpDayton Summit 2014.” Cynthia Bowen, director of planning and urban design for Indianapolis-based CHA Companies, gave the keynote speech this year, and two State Senators - Bill Beagle and Peggy Lehner - were in attendance at the Summit. However, here is something you may not know. Have you ever seen the Dayton Inspires photo op spots around town? Well, Dayton Inspires was a winning project of the 2014 UpDayton Summit! It started as an initiative focused on helping residents take pride in their city and has morphed into a social initiative working to better connect Dayton residents by removing social barriers. 2014 marked the last Summit Laura Estandia was director of UpDayton. Her contribution to UpDayton was invaluable and she continues to help Dayton and UpDayton through her work with Bike Miami Valley and the Link Dayton Bike Share.

At the 2015 Summit, professionals from all over Dayton brainstormed and discussed many project ideas. You may recognize one of the projects that emerged from this Summit. If you have ever seen or taken the Link Bikes for a ride downtown, then you are familiar with a 2015 project! UpDayton worked with Bike Miami Valley on the project “Bike Racks on Brown,” which expanded from Brown Street into the City of Dayton with a grant from Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County. This initiative helped make bike parking readily available and accessible to all living throughout the downtown area and contributed to the growth of bike culture in the area. 

The 2016 Summit, with the theme of “Dayton is changing for the better. Don’t just sit back and watch. Be part of it. #ideas2action,” was quite different from the previous Summits. In the early stages of planning for the 2016 Summit, new executive director AJ Ferguson broke UpDayton volunteers into groups, and asked for feedback and suggestions for changes to the current Summit process. This brainstorming session proved to be very helpful, as the Summit adopted a new way of operating! In addition to shifting the time of the event from the afternoon to an evening to allow more people to attend, motivated community leaders pitched their project elevator speeches to all who attended the Summit instead of groups formulating projects during the event itself. A project that came out of the 2016 Summit was The Longest Table. Leader Bryan Stewart not only successfully launched the first Longest Table event in October 2016, but with the support of dedicated volunteers, multiple Longest Table events at different venues have continued throughout the entire Dayton area. This project continues its success, and UpDayton could not be more proud!  

In 2017, the Summit continued with the same evening format, but took the project preparation to the next level. Project leaders with ideas came to many brainstorming sessions and worked with seasoned UpDayton volunteers and past project leaders to discuss details and fine-tune their project ideas. The projects were pitched to Summit participants, and votes decided the top three projects.  One 2017 project that continues to touch the lives of youth in Dayton is the Comfort Bags project, led by Devin Stinson. She used her personal story of growing up in foster homes, inspiring a collaboration with Agape for Youth to expand their Comfort Bags program. This project helps to ensure children going to new homes have something to call their own, and know they are not forgotten.

If you want to help write the next chapter of UpDayton history, buy your ticket today to join us on April 26th!