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Walla Walla Valley Chamber Blog

By Arlene Alen
CEO & President | Walla Walla Valley Chamber


Summer is unequivocally upon us in the Walla Walla Valley. The weather has been delightfully unpredictable, with air conditioning working overtime indoors while the daily watering of plants has become routine.

As schools close for the summer, many of our businesses face staff shortages because of family vacations, while others are gearing up to welcome the influx of visitors eager to partake in our vibrant community events.

As your Chamber of Commerce, we are delighted to remind you of our affiliation with SCORE, where we offer complimentary workshops, classes, and mentorship throughout the Valley. We are actively seeking additional mentors from our local community. If you are a seasoned professional or recently retired and can spare an hour or more to assist an aspiring entrepreneur, we would be thrilled to connect with you.

Your mentorship can significantly bolster our community’s economic vitality and enrich someone's life, all while enhancing our collective quality of life. As a long-standing SCORE Certified mentor and presenter, I can personally attest to the profound joy and fulfillment that comes from helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams and to enrich our local economy.

For those enjoying the summer locally, a plethora of summer classes are now available. Many organizations, including the Chamber, have expanded their offerings during this season. Our summer schedule sees a shift from larger gatherings to more intimate settings such as Chamber Cafés, Sector Roundtables, and Women in Business Mastermind meetings.

We are also preparing for our fall events, including the annual Golf Classic on Thursday, Sept. 5, at Veterans Memorial, featuring a family fun party, a Shot in the Dark, the evening before. This event promises food, music, games, and glow golf. Stay tuned for more details on our website and consider sponsoring these exciting occasions.

In a recent meeting with our neighbors at Blue Mountain Action Council (BMAC) on Sumach Street, we learned about their exceptional Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs for adults and youth. These initiatives aim to dismantle barriers to employment. Pre-ETS helps young people with disabilities transition from school to work, offering job exploration, work-based learning experiences, and more. WIOA provides job training, education, and employment services for adults and dislocated workers. For more information, visit

BMAC is currently seeking businesses willing to take on short- and mid-term interns or employees, at no cost, as participants complete these programs. BMAC covers salaries, L&I and more. If this opportunity interests you, please reach out to them at or call 509-730-7816.

If you are interested in hosting Chamber events this fall and winter, now is an opportune time to contact us as we finalize our calendar. Email us at

For those who attended the Women in Business movie event and expressed interest in a family viewing, we are planning a Mommy/Daddy & Me showing of "The Empowerment Project" later this summer or early fall. This inspiring documentary highlights ordinary women doing extraordinary things, showcasing their journeys and contributions to society. The event will include a small group, family-friendly discussion, mirroring our luncheon format. To join the interest priority list, email

We have a special summer treat: the Downtown Walla Walla Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour, conceived and created by Lincoln High School teacher April Sorrenson. This engaging, interactive, and family-friendly activity requires only a cell phone and a map, available at the Chamber at 29 E. Sumach St. in Walla Walla and the Visitors Center on Main Street.

You can also request it via email at The map includes a QR code linked to Google Maps, guiding you through participating businesses and clues to find treasures along the way. A heartfelt thank you to April for this outstanding project and for the exciting new events she has planned.

Finally, we are thrilled to announce several additions to our reimagined post-pandemic Business Summit, including a Young Entrepreneurs Showcase. The Chamber and this event are, focused on "building the next generation of business & workforce for the Walla Walla Valley" and will spotlight the “next, next generation,” young entrepreneurs under 18 (K-12) and as early as they are creating, who have already embarked on their business ventures. If you know a young entrepreneur in your program or household, let’s celebrate their innovation and enterprising spirit. Contact for more details on how to showcase their talents.

Thank you all for your unwavering support and engagement. We are here to help you thrive in this wonderful community. Enjoy the summer, and let’s embrace the myriad of opportunities and events ahead and build our community together.

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