Some of you have been following Re-Discover Washington since its birth on November 2011, and have seen it evolve as a creative project to help people appreciate downtown Washington and all the possibilities it offers. When I started out, blogging was very new to me and I had no idea where it would take me. Much to my surprise, Re-Discover Washington not only took off and received a lot of support, but also inspired others to start similar independent projects in their towns. So when my friends Michelle Anne, Tyann Marcink and Gussie Schmitz (all of whom I’ve met directly or indirectly through the blog) approached me to ask if it would be ok if they started a similar project about Union, MO I was all for it!
Experience Union was born in April, 2012 and has been going strong ever since! Almost two years after, it was high time to blog about it on Re-Discover Washington. So I asked the three ladies the same questions and here are their answers!
What inspired you to create Experience Union? How that has it grown and what have you learned from it?
All three of us knew Slava and followed Re-Discover Washington, and loved it. If I remember correctly, we all three at some point had mentioned to Slava our interest in creating something similar for Union. She brought us together.
I think Gussie, Tyann, and I have a good dynamic because we all three bring something different to the plate. Tyann is passionate about Union, has great networking skills, and a true history in Franklin County. She also is just so tech-savvy! Tyann, with us giving input, created our logo and theme on the pages. Gussie is sweet and loving in everything she does as a mom and wife, and it shows in what she covers for Experience Union. Her pieces on the Girl Scouts and other things that really highlight kids are amazing. Then, there’s me.
As for me (Michelle)? I am not always sure how I fit in. I am the single-mom of the group, full-time teacher in a neighboring town, and have lived in Union for nearly 16 years but am not really “from” here. I am a little bit of the “redneck” of the three of us (and no that term isn’t offensive to me). I’ve had people say they notice my posts because I often put nature or the Bourbese River in the photos, or I have a little bit of a smart-eleck sass in my vernacular. Once, when having my hair done by Cindy here in town, she said, “I always know when it’s you posting!”
I can say I like the bonds I’ve made through Experience Union, the friends it’s brought into my life, and the fact I’ve been able to highlight and promote so many local businesses. We aren’t always the best at updating the blog, but we are very active on Facebook and are so happy we have over 1,000 followers on our page. This all started because the three of us were inspired by Slava Bowman and Re-Discover Washington. How cool is that?
I was very excited when I first found the Re-Discover Washington page. I love the area that I live in and was so happy to see that someone else recognized how great it is, too. Because my husband and I own a small business in Washington, I was also very excited to see the support of local business. Tyann and Michelle are the ones who thought of doing a similar page for Union, and then Tyann asked me if I would be interested in collaborating on it with them. Having seen how excited people were about the Re-Discover Washington page, I jumped on board right away. We have received great support from the community and local businesses!
For me, it was the realization that social media could be used to draw a community together. Facebook could be leveraged to promote local businesses, spread important town info, and get the word out about area events.
I know I can count on the Experience Union fans to support one another with snowman sightings, best sledding hills, favorite places for nachos and a margarita, and dipping into their pockets to help one another out.
It is wonderful to start a project which purpose is to bring the community together, and it’s even more rewarding to watch it grow and inspire others to do the same! I admire these three ladies who choose to devote some of their time to bring Union together!