If you stayed indoors last weekend with your feet propped up, a beverage in one hand and your TV remote in the other, shame on you. Now don’t get me wrong, I can couch potato with the best of them when the mood strikes but last weekend in Lake County was incredible. Beautiful weather with events and community involvement at virtually every corner of our county.Last weekend was epic!

Frankly, it was so epic it was very difficult to find available people to help at the events. The community service pool was looking like my checking account on December 26th. This brings me to the point of my message this month, how incredible are the folks out there making all this possible? Community service can be thankless duty and if you’re looking for appreciation from the outside, keep searching.But giving of yourself for the greater good of your community rewards you in ways that only some appear tounderstand.

What difference does it make you ask? What’s in it for me you ask? It makes all the difference in the world. One small gesture or one kind word to a visitor or even to another community member can and will be the difference from that person leaving with a positive impression of our county or leaving shaking their head and wondering why they would want to return. Even a smile to another resident is an opportunity to put them in a state of mind to perhaps impact a visitor they encounter.

Yeah, I know it all sounds like a fantasy script from a Hallmark movie but believe me, it is happening. While some people are focused on the negative, there are quite a number focusing on what they can do to add something positive to the county. This weekend I saw Certified Tourism Ambassadors, speaking with visitors from all over the state at the NorCal High School Mountain Bike races at Six Sigma Ranch. Comments such as, “Lake County is incredible, I had no idea how beautiful it is.” and “Lake County has such a great opportunity with the open space and great weather and you’re so close to the Bay Area!”. These interactions with visitors are vital to the tourism economy in Lake County.

You don’t have to be a Certified Tourism Ambassador to make a difference, I met a fun energetic lady named Evelyn this weekend as she boarded her kayak at Clearlake Campground to participate in the Cache Creek Cleanup. Evelyn works hard during the week and this was her time to make a difference. Paddling down the tranquil waters of Cache Creek may not sound like a tough gig but armed with gloves and a trash bag to pick up God knows what from the shore can’t always be pleasant. Clearlake Cleanup Day, Earth Day, Kelseyville Olive Festival were just a few more of the activities over the weekend to provide all of us the opportunity to make a difference.

So put the remote down, it will be there when you return, I promise, and find your opportunity. That one encounter you make, could make a difference in having a visitor return with friends and contribute to the county to fix that pot hole you’ve been posting about on Facebook. Check out the Event Calendar on the Lake County Chamber of Commerce website for future events and make that leap of faith to make a difference and maybe even star in your own Hallmark movie.

Joe Casteel

2019 President, Lake County Chamber of Commerce
Owner, North Bay Merchant Services

Joe Casteel is a 20 year veteran of the Electronic Payment industry and moved his business to Lake County in 2006. A proud member of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce and current President, Joe and his wife Jacie have called Lake County their home since 2001.