Tag Archives: btstl

Better Together Young Professional Group Launches

Jeff Smith talks with the BTYPs.

By Joe Wilson

This week Better Together hosted the first meeting of BTYP, Better Together Young Professionals. Twenty men and women from around the area got together to talk with each other about their vision for the St. Louis region, about the problems they see in their particular communities, and about the difficulty they have in trying to explain to friends from out of town why St. Louis is the way it is.

The men and women in attendance were a mix of newly minted lawyers, non-profit employees, and other professional fields. They might not have come together except for their interest in how the region operates and how things might be made better. Many had already heard a speaker from Better Together give a presentation at a neighborhood association or professional organization meeting.

Jeff Smith was the guest speaker. Yes, that Jeff Smith. The Jeff Smith that went for Dick Gephardt’s congressional seat against Russ Carnahan. The Smith who had a documentary made about his campaign ( ) Smith also went to prison for things that happened during his campaign. He spoke about the political strength and power that the St. Louis region has but doesn’t flex in the Missouri legislature because of the regional belief in the lines that divide the community. He expressed the belief that St. Louis would be much stronger, and more successful, if we worked with each other instead of against each other.

His message wasn’t something new for the people in the room. The new members of Better Together Young Professionals were there because they already knew, already believed, that the St. Louis region is capable of something much more and that too much time has been spent trying to win petty regional fights. Now these young men and women – these early and mid-career professionals and future leaders in the region – have a call-to-action to which they can respond.

If you are interested in joining the Better Together Young Professionals organization, please email [email protected] .

Couch to 5k, Better Together Style

By Joe Wilson

I was a college athlete, though I don’t look the part now. I walked on to the University of Missouri – Columbia swim team and was team captain by my senior year. I wasn’t the fastest in the water, or the strongest on land, but I was pretty fit.

Then I graduated in 2008. Then I worked on a campaign in 2010. Then I went to law school, which I just finished this spring. The food I eat is more fried than it is fresh. Sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week has replaced the 20+ hours per week in the pool and weight room I used to have. This is unsustainable.

Better Together is conducting its third community-based study now, and it is on Public Health. Mayor Slay apparently wants city residents to lose weight too ( here ). My dog always seems to want longer walks, but I think she probably doesn’t have my health in mind. There are plenty of things in my life saying “time to make a change.” Looks like the Better Together 5k will be my first goal to shoot for.

In light of the 5k, the Public Health study, and our upcoming Parks, Recreation, and Infrastructure study, each weekend I will be visiting one of the major parks in St. Louis County to do some running, take some pictures, and do what I can to show off the gorgeous parks our region has. I will put together a little blog post about the park and about the health and well being of the St. Louis region. I encourage you to sign up for the run. Get outdoors and run, ride your bike, play some pick-up soccer or just take a walk.

Look for a curly haired, bearded guy at the 5k. Don’t laugh if I am wheezing too much. We all have to start somewhere.