2011 Fairfield Youth Summit

Saturday, January 22nd– 9:30 a.m. Fairfield Public Library

Young people, entrepreneurs, business owners and community members will join together to generate ideas for new ventures that expand the local economy in Fairfield. Can Fairfield continue to grow as a mecca for young people who create the future for our community through music, theater, art film or business?   Can Fairfield develop what it takes to be a magnet for the next generation of Fairfielders?

The Youth Summit idea grew out of discussions at the November 2010, Fairfield Local Economy Summit with special guests from the Child and Family Center from Des Moines. Anne Discher of that center reported alarming poverty statistics telling us,  “19.5% of children in Jefferson County grow up in poverty. That is 37% higher," she said, "than the state average of 14.2%.” Attendees were compelled to act and the idea for a forum where young people could address the issues was born.  Burt Chojnowski, taking the pulse of the alarm, suggested young people be invited to “sound off about possible solutions” and be brought into the epicenter of Fairfield's entrepreneurial power factory with their creative and innovative endeavors. 

Ideas from the original summit have created momentum towards a summer youth entrepreneurship program in collaboration with the University of Iowa Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and the Fairfield Entrepreneurs Association. Grant money for a business plan competition, microenterprise loan funding and a boot camp for entrepreneurs has been organized by Fairfield First. A foundation has invited a proposal for a national demonstration project in the area of youth entrepreneurship and sustainability to be centered in Fairfield.

The event is free and will include a continental breakfast supplied by Everybody’s. The affair will kick off with an asset quilting party to foster innovative thinking and strategic action.

As a further launch for innovation, presenters will give us an overview of groundbreaking activities already under way. 17-year old Galen Musser, head cheesemaker at the Milton Creamery, will talk about how he won an international award for the Milton Creamery for the Prairie Breeze cheese that he created.

Elizabeth Brown and Troy Van Beek will talk about how they discovered Fairfield and what made them decide to move here. Elizabeth Brown is organizing a microenterprise loan fund and entrepreneurial support network in Louisa County. Van Beek and Amy Greenfield created Ideal Energy, an energy savings consulting firm. They are also members Fairfield Green Business Council that support sustainability businesses in Fairfield.

High school student, Eleanor Marshall from Iowa City, will talk about the nationwide Summer of Solutions program run for and by youth that she is organizing in Iowa City. Andrew Perry of Iowa Progressive Asset Management will talk about his new career in socially responsible investing.

There will be an opportunity to bounce new business ideas. Scott Morris will present an idea for Hometown Heroes Awards. Richard Walbaum will talk about the new electronics club and the Fairfield Free University. Members of Fairfield's younger generation will be invited to “sound off” on ideas in need of support.


Door prizes will be provided by locally grown Chief Appanoose Popcorn.

 This event is a product of the collaboration of Fairfield First!, Hometown Harvest of South East Iowa, Southeast Iowa Local Economy Task Force and Fairfield Entrepreneurs Association.