Passion for My Hometown

Sometimes, it takes leaving somewhere to realize how much you love it there.

A native Sioux Citian, I truly never imagined staying here forever when I was younger. I always thought I’d move on to some new adventure. And, eventually, I did. After graduating from Briar Cliff, I packed my stuff into an SUV and moved to Boston, a city I’d never visited or lived in, to attend graduate school.

While studying, I had the extreme privilege of travelling not only around the US, but abroad as well. As I explored ancient castles and European metropolises, my small hometown on the Missouri River was far from my mind. I also met my now-fiancé and landed a job upon graduation, so staying in Boston was a no-brainer.

But sometimes it takes leaving somewhere to realize how much you love it there. As I spent long hours every week in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or on a packed train, I missed the wide-open roads of the Loess Hills. I missed going outside at night and seeing more stars than I could count. I missed strangers smiling and waving, and I missed seeing someone I knew every time I went to the grocery store. I missed all of the big and little things that make a place a home.

So, when I had the chance to move back to Siouxland for a job, I leapt at the opportunity. Everyone in my corporate office in downtown Boston thought I was a little crazy to leave a big city for what they viewed as the-middle-of-nowhere, and frequently confused with Ohio or Idaho. I can’t blame them. It certainly isn’t a typical career move for a young professional. 

Yet, there was something they were missing- the passion I have for my hometown.  

Sioux City may not be the biggest, most modern city with the trendiest places to go. But it is resilient, generous, friendly, welcoming, and committed to progress. The Siouxland community has a history of coming together in times of crisis, a rich and fascinating history, and ranks as a city with fantastic job growth year after year. In the past decade we’ve seen the downtown area completely revitalized, with much more to come. 

And, when I moved back in 2019, I knew I wanted to be a part of helping Sioux City reach its full potential. That summer, I joined Sioux City Growth Organization (SCGO). Founded in 2002, our primary mission is to attract and retain young professionals to the Siouxland area. SCGO members are passionate about the community and take action by networking, volunteering, and getting involved in all Siouxland has to offer.

Every year, we host our Innovation Market, which showcases and gives grants to aspiring entrepreneurs, and Meet the Candidates, where individuals running for local office can debate and interact with voters. We also hold monthly business networking events and volunteer with numerous organizations throughout the year. 

Additionally, Sioux City Growth Organization is committed to the overall improvement of Siouxland. We recently sponsored the painting of a new Sioux City History-themed mural on the side of Work-n-Church Booze Parlor and have contributed to similar initiatives in the past.

I love being a member of SCGO because it gives me an outlet to turn my passion for Siouxland into meaningful improvement. If you feel the same way, we’d love to have you as a member!

By, Emily Vondrak

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