Chamber gala Nov. 17 supports business and community development, new student program in Snoqualmie Valley

It’s likely the first holiday party of the season, and the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Nov. 17 gala is part of another first, too, a new Career Exploration Friday program open to Snoqualmie Valley School District students.

The chamber, school district, and Snoqualmie Valley Community Network have formed a partnership to introduce local students to local employment opportunities at monthly Career Exploration Fridays through monthly tours of local enterprises, panel discusses and apprenticeships and internships. And funding for the program will come from anyone who wants to support it.

At the gala in addition to the dinner, raffles, live music, plus live and silent auctions, “We are going to do a raise the paddle this year, because of the new initiative that the chamber is doing with the school district,” said Chamber Member Services Manager Monica Lynne.

What is it? An opportunity to pledge your support of the student program — as the auctioneer calls out the amount you’d like to give to Career Exploration Fridays, raise your paddle. That’s it.

Fundraising is an important part of the gala, Lynne said, since the chamber hosts only two such events each year. First and foremost, though, the gala is a community event.

“We just want to do something elegant and nice for the community,” says Lynne. “Elegant and fun with sort of a kicked-back style.”

The theme for the evening is Winter Wonderland, and the dress code is elegant, but not uncomfortable.

“In the valley nobody has the excuse to go out and be fancy,” Lynn said, so many people make the most of this opportunity to dress up, but she adds, “Anything goes in the evening attire category.”

The same is true for participants. The gala is open to non-chamber members, as well as members, Lynne says.

”Some businesses use it as a holiday party that they don’t have to host, some just use it as a fun way to get together with friends… It could be members, it could be friends, employees or neighbors.”

An unusual auction is also part of the evening’s schedule, said Lynne. “We’re trying to make our auction items more experiential, so we have a trip to Africa and dove-hunting in Argentina, a ride-along with the Snoqualmie Police Department.”

It’s a change the chamber made based on feedback from past galas, she explained. People said they preferred experiences to merchandise, she said, adding “an experience like a ride-along with the Snoqualmie Police Department is pretty unique.”

The gala starts at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Snoqualmie Casino Ballroom. Cost for the elegant evening is $100 per person, which includes dinner, the auction, dessert and raffle prizes. Reserve tickets now at www.snovalley.org.

Besides such programs as Career Exploration Fridays, funds raised at the gala will support ongoing chamber operations and programs, such as the recent candidate forums, the eight-month Business Mini-Academy which started last week.

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