It is no secret that people born and raised in Alexander City, and those who transplant in, love this little town. There is a sense of camaraderie that exists here that seems to be missing from society’s general picture today. People still wave when driving down the streets or when on the water in their boats. People here still pull onto the shoulder of the road for emergency vehicles to pass when the lights are on and even greet one another at the gas pump or grocery stores. The friendly nature of southern hospitality that is still prevalent in Alexander City today is the driving force of this thriving community.
Many facets enable a small community to prosper, such as retaining small-town values, sharing the town’s historic character, and building community partnerships. Alexander City excels in these situations.
A prime example of a thriving community partnership is that of the Lake Martin Young Professionals, a group that originated because there was a need to connect young professionals in the community. The group eventually evolved into an official program of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce, where Jacob Meacham is the staff member responsible for the program.
Meacham first became involved with Lake Martin YP several years ago when he began participating in events offered in the community. He saw a need for fresh opportunities where young professionals could start to do the things they want to see in their community.
“Lake Martin YP is pretty active. We arrange a mix of social activities that help to build leadership in the community, support local businesses and everyone who participates volunteers their time,” Meacham said.
The goal of the Lake Martin YP’s is to continue bringing in the next wave of active participants and leaders for Alexander City and the Lake Martin area.
“It might not have been the stated intention from the beginning but there was definitely the thought that a successful YP group could help advance our members into other leadership opportunities,” Meacham said. “Like becoming a part of the city council, the school board or even becoming successful business owners and great employees.”
Meacham said that when the group is planning and organizing events, it is a strategic process that is crafted to get young people involved and excited about living in the Lake Martin area.
Strand Sessions is the most recent event that the Lake Martin YP’s have on the calendar. It is a live music series at Strand Park that takes place the first Thursday of each month, April through August. The event is free to attend, and the group invites the community to bring lawn chairs and a blanket to picnic or grab a drink and dinner at one of the restaurants right there in the entertainment district.
“There is a community atmosphere and great crowds when the weather permits,” Meacham said. “People come out to enjoy great music and support their neighbors and friends. We encourage those who come to Strand Sessions to grab dinner before or after the concert.”
Strand Sessions is in its sixth year and kicked off on April 1 with a remarkable performance by Daniel and McDaniel. The event was moved inside to The Square in downtown Alexander City due to inclement weather.
“We are fortunate to have partnerships within our community, and when we found out how cold it was going to be the night of the event, we were able to make a few phone calls and quickly and easily get Strand Sessions moved inside to The Square,” he said. “My family and I own the building, so it was just a matter of convincing them that this would be great to host and allow the event to continue with very little interruption.”
But regardless of the weather, the show went on. Daniel and McDaniel delighted the crowd with their bluesy, rock n’ roll, country vibe while Alana’s Place in The Square filled bellies with a shareable plate option consisting of chicken salad, pimento cheese with pepper jelly and Conecuh sausage.
The night was full of ambiance, laughter and American folk music. Kids played with blocks and an assortment of other toys while adults enjoyed the evening. Strand Sessions is a family-friendly outing with an electric atmosphere and would make a great date night for people of all ages.
Lake Martin YP is doing big things in and around the city. They are an inclusive organization and work with anyone who sees a big, bright future for Alexander City. For more information, check out Lake Martin YP on Facebook or visit the website at lakemartinyp.com.