Chamber starting year revitalized; 9B Ladies just ahead

9B LadiesAfter the grinding halt and subsequent fits and starts of the COVID years, the Bonners Ferry Chamber of Commerce came into 2024 with few firm plans, only a certainty that it was time to shake off the lethargy, to channel its long suppressed energy … to move again. The board met in January and started the ball rolling; reviewing by-laws, adjusting membership dues, tending to the housekeeping chores with determination.

Enthusiasm began building when they started discussing and planning the 2024 chamber calendar. Nothing too daunting … a number of old favorites; Ladies on the Loose which is right around the corner, Kootenai River Days in July and Hometown Holidays in December, to name just a few. Some newer ideas; a Ride Into Spring family bike ride around the auto tour route at the wildlife refuge, a Huckleberry Festival in August.

There’s more, but one of the most exciting and looked-forward-to developments was the decision to revive face-to-face membership meetings, breaking that awful isolation that lasted so long. With the first meeting set for noon Thursday, February 29, at the Kootenai River Inn, they will allow members the opportunity to chat and catch up on news and what’s happening in Boundary County’s business community, to share ideas and get involved in the events and activities. Membership meetings will be held from noon to p.m. the fourth Thursday of every other month.

As with most organizations, it can be typical for the work to fall on a few, and the Bonners Ferry Chamber is no exception. But there are new board members and officers who have the time and the know how to step in and take on a measure of responsibility and a cadre not only ready to share duties and delegate tasks, but understanding that their workload will actually increase for awhile thanks to the training required.

And often, board members will accept continuing in a position far longer than they want to the point of burnout simply because no one’s been trained to step in and pick up the reins.

So instead of fighting it, they are incorporating the reality into their bylaws, creating an “officer in waiting” program. Each June, anyone wishing to assume a position on the chamber board can be nominated and elected, and so have six months to shadow and learn before being appointed in January.

The current board, seated in January, is Jennifer Van Etten, president, Patti Solt, vice president, Wendy Hawks, treasurer, and Jerri Duarte, secretary; board members Natalie Bouck, TD Holloway, Lindsay Sutherland; ambassadors Shelley Kramer, Reina Harris and Samantha Shutts, Economic Development Director Dave Sims and Chamber Representative Jessica Kimble.

If you’re a Boundary County business woman and haven’t signed up yet, tickets are available for the 9B Ladies Event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 1, at the Kootenai River Inn. With the theme, “The biggest obstacles are the barriers our own mind creates,” this year’s day of workshops and guest speakers Julie Holly, Teshra Robles, Lindsay Sutherland and Arleen Erland will focus on breaking barriers.

There’ll be delicious light snacks throughout the day, a taco bar lunch , a social hour, raffles, door prizes and fabulous vendors booths.

Tickets are $70, to learn more call Lindsay, (208) 320-8204, or Natalie, (208) 304-3331, or visit the Chamber Facebook page.