Lynchburg is a rapidly growing and maturing city, one where people of every age and background come to find a home and livelihood. People live in Lynchburg for many reasons: they found a good job opportunity, their education is centered here, their family is local and much more. But whether they were born here or came from somewhere else, they stayed because they found a place to grow, thrive, build and be creative. Businesses also start in or come to Lynchburg because they know that the city is friendly to their success, whether they are a startup or a big business. These ideas of finding home, creating success and sharing it with others in a diverse and enthusiastic environment are what the “I AM Lynchburg” campaign is all about.
The “I AM Lynchburg” campaign seeks to encourage local business owners, service providers and residents alike to become ambassadors for the City. Tourism and business growth are two leading factors that will push Lynchburg into the future, and city officials want to encourage residents to remember this. Lynchburg has a lot of advantages, and for nonresidents and visitors to learn about them and seek more information, they must first be informed.
When people are asked what they love most about Lynchburg, their answers are all across the board. But some similarity in response can be found among these answers, and these ideas are some of Lynchburg’s defining traits. Among them are the scenery, with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop and the iconic presence of the James River; the people, who have a charm and pleasant nature about them that is well-known for people of the South; and the opportunities, whether they be educational, lifestyle- and activity-related or work-oriented.
City officials particularly endorse the last idea, that Lynchburg is a place of opportunity for anyone and everyone. A number of higher education institutions can be found within the borders, such as Liberty University, Central Virginia Community College, Randolph College and the University of Lynchburg. Each year, these schools educate and enhance the lives of increasing numbers of Lynchburg residents and non-residents alike. The non-residents who come for education also often fall in love with the City and decide to settle down here rather than taking their skills and education elsewhere. Furthermore, businesses have found that Lynchburg is a great place to grow and find quality workers, whether they be big businesses like BWXT and Frito Lay or the brainchildren of aspiring entrepreneurs such as those who have undergone training in a CO.STARTERS cohort.
Lynchburg seeks to support these ideas and dreams. Efforts are increasingly being made to celebrate and reward individuals and businesses alike for their hard work, success and investment in the City as a business location and as a people. People who have found a good life and great opportunities within Lynchburg are also being encouraged to let their love for their home be known. In this campaign, local influencers and leaders are encouraged to love their home by reaching out to visitors with the hand of friendship to show them what Lynchburg can do and be for them.
A Dream for the Future
This “I AM Lynchburg” campaign is only just beginning. City officials hope to establish it further in coming years through local and legacy business video and photo series, tours, economically themed events and initiatives, training workshops and more. They know that the more you invest in someone’s education, interests and development, the more likely they are to achieve success and reinvest in the local community. Growth for a city like Lynchburg must begin within and reach out.
Identity is important to Lynchburg, and being a welcoming place to call home only encourages people to see what it is that makes them tick. It’s also a lifetime journey, one that requires work and dedication. Therefore, this campaign’s goal is to see people discover who they are and what Lynchburg means to them. From there, Lynchburg’s identity will grow, as well. And when a place means as much to an individual as Lynchburg often does, becoming an ambassador for the place you call home becomes a much easier and more passionate focus. When this is accomplished, growth and success are inevitable. Officials and residents alike have a dream that Lynchburg can become even more of a thriving populace than it already is. The ones who can make that dream a reality are anyone and everyone who will willingly and proudly proclaim: “I am Lynchburg!”