Young professionals are getting out from behind their desks and going outdoors for adventures, thanks to a new group called Eventurous Cedar Rapids.
On Saturday, eight people gathered at the Hawkeye Wildlife trap shooting range in Swisher to blast clay pigeons into powder. On Sunday, they headed to the Wapsipinicon River for a float trip.
In the coming weeks, participants will have the chance to run with a group in a 5K in Cedar Rapids and explore Maquoketa Caves State Park.
Jordan Ulmer, 23, a Rockwell Collins co-op program member, formalized Eventurous Cedar Rapids last October after he and a group of fellow Rockwell Collins interns and co-op members met to explore the Corridor.
Ulmer used social media and the network Rockwell Collins already had in place to reach young professionals throughout the Corridor.
“I love people and I’m passionate about the outdoors,” Ulmer said. “The whole objective is to get people outside. Healthy people are happy people.”
“It’s just a fun way to get together with people and network because so many networking events nowadays are based around, ‘hey, let’s get a couple of drinks together and sit around and chat,’” Ulmer added. “I really think when people are active and doing something together, they become more involved and engaged more in each other and in the community.”
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Ulmer, who is from Marion and is finishing his senior year at South Dakota State University this fall, said he has met many young professionals through Eventurous Cedar Rapids.
Ulmer also said he hopes the events keep young professionals interested in the area’s amenities, and help them become invested in Eastern Iowa.
“We’ve noticed based on some data they collected at Rockwell Collins that people who come to these companies in Cedar Rapids stay roughly zero to three years, and then they leave,” Ulmer said. “This effort inadvertently can be solving that problem of employee retention. We’re focusing on college students and young professionals to try and engage them in the community and create a network of peers, not only (who) are interested in doing these things, but just really interested in getting to know people.”
Mark Hunter, 23, who works for Premier Investments of Iowa, has attended about 10 of the group’s events, and said he enjoys the outings because they help him be active and become familiar with Eastern Iowa.
“People should take advantage of this,” Hunter said. “It’s just nice when you have days like this in Iowa when it’s nice summer weather to be able to go out and enjoy something, whether it’s coming here or walking one of the state parks or just finding something to do. We’ve gotten to a point in our society when we tend to stay within our own circle and stay within our houses and find the simple things that don’t take a lot of effort.”
Though Eventurous Cedar Rapids is not yet classified as a tax-exempt non-profit, Ulmer said he plans to take steps to classify the organization as such.
Ulmer said he would like to work in Eastern Iowa after graduating, but if not, he still plans to start a new Eventurous organization wherever he goes.
“Wherever I’m at, I’m going to continue to try to get people outdoors,” Ulmer said.