Shawn Neff is a busy guy. Living downtown and working in Springfield, when he’s not on the road, he’s out socializing or involved in projects that are impacting his community. As his adoptive home, and he’s doing a lot to make Dayton a place he’s proud of. Here’s his Summit story.
After the 2009 Summit, Shawn volunteered as a member of the Wayne Avenue Corridor Committee – a group committed to cleaning up and highlighting the area connecting the Oregon District with the Cannery Arts District. Then, at the 2010 Summit, Shawn took a leadership role with Downtown Street Buzz, a group that worked to highlight downtown Dayton’s nightlife by getting more feet-on-the-street and creating a fun social atmosphere at selected events for young creatives.
Q: Through updayton, you worked on two community projects – Wayne Avenue Corridor and Street Buzz. What were your experiences?
I feel that both projects were valuable to me personally and definitely worth my time. I was able to make connections with people, learn new skills, and hopefully make an impact on someone else.
For the Wayne Ave Project, I take great pride in knowing that I am a part of the team that was responsible for the murals and benches, for continuing to clean up the trash and pull weeds. Hopefully for the community, they will take from it that it only takes a small group of people to make a difference and take a run down, rather scary looking area and liven it up.
While the “Buzz” group didn’t maybe didn’t go as planned, that’s to be expected of any group project. Everyone at the start is gung ho and ready to move. After a few months, people begin to loose interest and drop away from participating. You can’t let that frustrate you. “Without failure there is no success.”
Q: Beyond the projects, did updayton provide you with any valuable experiences or connections?
Absolutely, I have made numerous connections to people in the Dayton area, several which have become close friends. It’s quite an experience just to see the hundreds of people at the summit, who like me, want to make a difference in this community.
Q: What have you been doing since your Summit project involvement?
I have been actively working with Generation Dayton as a member of both the Community Involvement & Social Committees. I am also a dedicated member of jumpstART. I have been involved with several communities to help rebuild old playgrounds.
Q: Would you recommend that local YPs attend the Summit?
I think it should be almost mandatory that not just ‘YP’ers, but anyone who wants to make a difference, attend the summit. It’s a chance to meet and network with people. A chance to give your input, and listen to other’s thoughts on what we want to make of this city. A chance to get involved and put all those thoughts into motion.
Q: What is your vision for the Dayton region?
I want to see a thriving downtown. I want to see people moving back into the urban core. I want to hear more positives and less negatives about downtown Dayton. I moved to downtown 2 years ago from out of town, and I have completely adopted this city and want to see it thrive.