One commonly hears about younger generations of the workforce fleeing Vermont as soon as they need to find employment. It is less common to hear about the ones (like me) who stay and why. The primary answer to that question is probably not unique to Generation Y-ers: quality of life. But perhaps the combination of quality factors that influence us is unique.
1) Leadership opportunities. Because of the smaller population, our business community, governmental agencies, and even our institutions are more accessible than in other states. The ability to know the people in power and for Gen Y-ers to jump into leadership roles is heightened not only by our networks, but by the resources available to help us lead efforts, businesses, or organizations. From Vermont’s smallest towns to our biggest cities, opportunity is ample – it’s what you make of it!
2) Where rural and metropolitan meet. Depending on where you live, it is your choice to be easily recognized or remain somewhat hidden. Burlington specifically has the advantage that it’s just big enough to go about your business with some privacy, while still managing to maintain close connections within an intimate network.
3) Quality of people. Vermonters are a rare breed; and there is not just one personality that defines our people. But there is a distinctive quality in those who choose to live here. From my hair stylist to our local city councilors to my fellow passengers on the planes at BTV, I am grateful for the particular humanity we share as residents of this state.
4) Landscape. And this list would not be complete without crediting our environment – both natural and built. Vermont has magnificent lakes, rivers, mountains, woods, farmlands, neighborhoods, villages, and cities. But it’s what this represents – the sheer variety of landscapes – that is not only so obviously gorgeous, but also creates an abundance of recreational, athletic and economic opportunities that translate into a unique quality of life for young Vermonters. There is something for everybody.
I could probably go on and go, but I think my pride in this chosen home is clear. And I will continue to share it with all who I meet in the hopes of keeping others here and bringing more people to this incredible place.