Get Fresh!!

Benton residents, Greg and Jessica Bennett, are getting fresh! Their new restaurant, Get Fresh Deli & Frozen Yogurt, had a Bossier Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting to celebrate their grand opening today, July 7, 2017. Get Fresh is a locally family owned deli, with an awesome menu. Greg says the Turkey, Avocado BLT is a favorite. Twelve flavors of frozen yogurt, sandwiches, wraps, salads and pizza round out the deliciousness. Catering is available and Greg is looking forward to connecting with the community.

Get Fresh Deli & Frozen Yogurt is located in the Bella Terra shopping center at 187 Burt Blvd in Benton, LA. Stop by soon and let them know I sent ya.

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams

All Y’all Social Glue

11073554_10204945908980605_1294152985240062350_nI recently ran across the words “social glue”. What I understood social glue to be is a way of bonding or connecting people through various actions and/or sharing commonalities. The first thing that I thought about was storytelling, and, in particular, the All Y’all Live Storytelling Events and Podcasts, that my friends Chris Jay and Sara Hebert produce. Chris and Sara are providing a safe space for people in the Shreveport-Bossier community to share experiences and situations through very personal storytelling. No scripts or notes . . . just get on stage in front of, oh, say a couple hundred people, and speak from the heart.

It never occurred to me that being a storytelling could be such a powerful glue that binds a community until I experienced myself.¬†It was the night before the “Under the Influence” All Y’all event when I was contacted by Chris asking if I’d be willing to step in as a¬†substitute for one of the storytellers. I had previously mentioned that I might be interested, and I had been thinking about the possibility¬†but was by no means prepared to step in less than 24 hours before the scheduled event. What the heck? I said “yes”. I didn’t really know what I would say, nor if I would be able to say it. Chris said he’d call me back in a few hours to discuss the details. When he called me later, he apologized and basically said, “nevermind, it’s not fair to ask you on such short notice”. I knew in the moment that I had to do it. I agreed under the condition that I may chicken out at the last minute. That’s the great thing about Chris, whether he was fine with that, or not, he said something like, “don’t you worry, just give me a signal and we’ll keep on rolling with the show”.

10995707_10204945854619246_6626746765654232419_nThe day of the event, I only told four people (two of which were my kids) that I would be speaking that night. I didn’t want the pressure of people giving me encouragement and then bailing on them. I have struggled my entire life with shyness and social anxiety and this was going to be a¬†huge step for me, although, at the time, I had no idea how HUGE. I practiced all day, recording on my iPhone and realized that there was no way that I’d be able to go through with it. My voice was just not there. I worried that no one would even be able to hear me. I was making myself sick with anxiety. As I sat in the audience waiting for my turn, I wasn’t sure until that last second if I could do it, and then I stood up. I walked to the stage and I started telling my story. My voice was there. And soon, there were people nodding, and smiling, and laughing, and . . . ¬†bonding with me. The social glue began to flow.

11751413_10205857145360945_6455528596976410319_nBut that was just the beginning. After the event, as I entered the lobby, the connections started to set in as each person who came up to me said things like “your story is my story”, “I have struggled with the same issue for years”, ¬†“You are so brave”. I then met Karen, who had been sitting in a middle seat near the front row, and had become my anchor for getting through the tough parts of my story. She helped me by giving me something to affix to in the audience. For the next few weeks, I’d be attending an event or walking through the grocery store and someone would stop me to say they had been at the All Y’all event and how much it meant to them. In addition, my life has been enhanced by the friendships I’ve built with other storytellers. Jennifer and Esther were the first two storytellers that I met and I can’t begin to tell you how they have influenced my life. (Jennifer was one of the four people I told that I was speaking that night, so there ya go.)

Below the surface, we are all struggling with something. By sharing (and listening to) stories, we can recognize ourselves in others and become connected through sameness. I have come to realize that Chris and Sara are not just providing social glue for our community, they are pouring social cement. Shreveport-Bossier is most definitely strengthened by All Y’all and the bonds being built are amazing.

To learn more about All Y’all:

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

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This weekend, is the first ever, multi-night event¬†at East Bank Theatre in Bossier City. ‚ÄúMomma,‚ÄĚ an evening of stories about moms, motherhood and more, will be held on Friday, March 11, 2016. ‚ÄúDaddy,‚ÄĚ featuring stories from, to and about fathers and fatherhood, will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2016. Unfortunately, Friday is sold out and Saturday only has a few more tickets. BUT WAIT!! I have a ticket for both nights to give away.

And, how do you WIN THE GIVEAWAY?

One lucky That Just Happened¬†blog reader will receive a ticket from season sponsor¬†Holiday Lanes¬†to both Friday 3/11/16 and Saturday 3/12/16 events. Simply¬†go to ALL Y’ALL BLOG, listen to a few of the podcasts, paste your favorite storyteller title in the comments section of this blog below. (It doesn’t have to be my podcast, but here is the link in case your want it:¬†UNDER THE INFLUENCE: ROBIN WILLIAMS, ‚ÄúMR. BOURQUE‚ÄĚ) .¬†Winner will be announced¬†on Friday, March 11, 2016 at around noon.

UPDATE 3/11/16: Congrats Pat Gill – you are the winner!

 

It really takes a community

People tell me every day that I seem to have such a fun life and then they ask how I know what’s going on in the Shreveport-Bossier community. Most of the time, I rattle off how I heard about particular events. One of the things that annoys me most is when people say that there is nothing to do in our locale. It is so NOT true. Sometimes my calendar has so many events that I have to cull my choices. I thought it might be fun to make a list of the people and organizations who contribute community event information to my life each day.

BCC new logoBossier Chamber of Commerce – I have been a diplomat for the Bossier Chamber for 5 years. This year I decided to take some time off in an official capacity, but I still make an effort to be at the events. The Bossier Chamber is probably my best resource for networking. I find the info to attend on their website calendars:

facebookFacebook Events – I hear people say they hate getting all of the event invites on Facebook. Not me! I rejoice in them, because behind each one is a person that created the event with hopes for even one “going” response. This is my main resource for finding out information about events in our community. Of course, from time to time, there are events that I’m not interested in attending, but I still look at them and value them as a contribution of knowledge in my life. I link my Facebook events with my iCal and Google calendars so that I don’t miss an opportunity. ALSO, I invite people to those events and share, share, share!

IMG_9723Jada Durden – Recently Jada was named my true soul mate by Captain Quizz, so you know it must be true. Jada has a very similar vision as mine and has made a huge impact in contributing to my life. She is in the know when it comes to the events, restaurants and attractions that are appealing. Jada writes the Loving This Life blog and has been honored by Louisiana Travel as a top 11 blogs to follow in Louisiana. She also writes for the Shreveport Times, has her own videographer and more plans in the works for sharing.  Her contribution is enormous and you should be following her every move.

IMG_7664Chris Jay and Sara Hebert – This dynamic duo = THE cool kids in town. Chris knows lots, and even more about food. Sara is who I strive to be, even though I’m sure she is 20 years younger. I follow both on social media just to pick up any nuggets they might be chucking, especially the events that they share. They know about music, food, events and even weird stuff that you didn’t think you needed to know. I’ll let you figure out those on your own. Oh, and they dress really cool. I want to rip off their style, yet I’m afraid I’m too old to pull it off. Together Sara and Chris produce the All Y’all Blog, Live Storytelling Events and Podcasts. Sara is the marketing genius at Moonbot Studios and Chris is the extra hard working Public Relations and Social Media Manager for the Shreveport- Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and writes the 20×49 Blog (listed next).  I hear that Chris writes for six magazines. Ask him about it.

19120_10153133965946328_887482314413511101_nShreveport- Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau (SBCTB) – I serve on the Attractions Association Board with the SBCTB and get lots of info just by hanging around those folks. On days when I can’t think of anything to do, I check out the SB Fun Guide and 20×49 blog:

1507837_10201883458861266_1240861387_nRobert Trudeau – Robert is one of those people who you just want to stand close to in hopes that his creativity will waft over to you. If I’m looking for info about music, art, or community, Robert is the one I look to. Robert is the editor of the Shreveport Blog and I look to him for my cultural arts fill. His wife Talbot is a fabulous artist and they make a great team.

Shreveport Chamber of Commerce – As with the Bossier Chamber, the Shreveport Chamber has many opportunities to connect with others in our community.

These are just a few of the info powerhouses that I look to for my pulse on the community. I wanted to add paragraphs to acknowledge the likes of:

but we would be here for quite a while. It really takes a community to know your community. I guess what I’m saying is . . . get to know those who know.

That just happened.
Robin Williams,
Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes

Peanut Butter for Chimps

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These chimps made me smile today!

Have you ever been to Chimp Haven? Do you know what Chimp Haven is? Before today, I knew what Chimp Haven was, but had not ever visited the facility. I’m so glad I had this opportunity and can share with you.

Chimp Haven is a non-profit National Chimpanzee Sanctuary located in Keithville, Louisiana inside the Eddie D. Jones Nature Park. They provide housing and humane care for over 200 chimpanzees who have been subjects of biomedical research and other purposes for which they are no longer being used. In addition, Chimp Haven is committed to educating the public about these endangered nonhuman primates and the needs for conservation in the wild and protection in captivity.

Ashley showed me around Chimp Haven. She's awesome!

Ashley showed me around Chimp Haven. She’s awesome!

Part of my job with Holiday Lanes is to build community within our area. It’s important for us to be a leader in cross-promoting other attractions and non-profits. What this does for us is to help us see beyond ourselves. By learning what other organizations are doing and offering, we learn how to serve in a bigger way. It also gives us an opportunity to share the sport of bowling with a wider¬†audience.¬†Today, I met with Ashley at Chimp Haven to discuss our involvement with their June Fest 2015 – Discovery Day. A bowling lane in the relay race it is!

This is Matthew.

This is Matthew.

Chimp Haven June Fest 2015 event is being held on June 20, 2015 from 9 am – 1 pm. June Fest is going to be a super fun day of activities and exploration. You will be able to observe over¬†50 chimpanzees in the natural wooded habitat. You can talk to staff about the chimpanzee’s personalities and natural behavior. There will be games and field day activities (INCLUDING BOWLING!). ¬†The¬†cost for the day is

  • Adult (13 and older): $6
  • Children (12-6): $3
  • Children (5 and younger): Free
  • Optional Behind-The-Scene Hayrides: Adults: $10; Children: $5

IMG_9873I want you to consider making the drive to Chimp Haven. I really think you will be amazed at the service they are providing for these amazing primates. If you are interested in helping Chimp Haven, they have opportunities for volunteerism, donation and participation. Check out the ways that Chimp Haven relies on generosity. 

IMG_9887So now, about this peanut butter. Ashley tells me that they are having a peanut butter drive during the June Fest event. Peanut butter is a great supplement to the chimpanzees diet. With over 200 chimps, can you imagine how much peanut butter they might need? Everyone is encouraged to bring a jar of peanut butter for chimps. There will be prizes for the person who brings the most peanut butter. Will it be you?

Follow Chimp Haven:  Facebook  |  Website  |  Twitter  |  YouTube

That just happened.
Robin Williams,
Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes

I’m changing the title of this blog

Travel South USA Opening Reception with Meg Davenport and Jada Durden

Travel South USA Opening Reception with Meg Davenport and Jada Durden

Do you ever start something and never finish it? That’s how I feel about my blogs.¬†I have been neglecting both¬†lately. I’ve¬†realized that the neglect of this blog is because I do so much more than just volunteer¬†with the awesome Bossier Chamber of Commerce¬†and the title was pigeon-holing me.¬†I’ve decided to change the name of my blog from “My Time as a Bossier Chamber Diplomat” to “That Just Happened“. I’m hoping this will allow me to share more about¬†all of the activities for which I participate. This blog will now celebrate and promote good stuff going on in the Northwest Louisiana community¬†while¬†I¬†represent as Holiday Lanes‘ Marketing Maven.

If you subscribe to my blog, please be patient with me. I am going to try to back-post several events that I want included on my blog and that means you may get more emails than normal.

Sharing the Holiday Lanes message with the Bossier Chamber Board of Directors

Sharing the Holiday Lanes message with the Bossier Chamber Board of Directors

Working for Holiday Lanes is such a fun job. Melanie Coleman (managing member/proprietor) understands the importance of being in and supporting the community. She told me just today, “we are about to have the funnest year EVER”. This is exciting to me because as a “creative” it isn’t always easy to conform to a normal 9-5 position. Thank goodness she gives me lots of opportunities to work around that.

Showing my two posters displayed at the

Showing my two posters displayed at the “See America” Exhibit at the Meadows Museum in Shreveport, LA

The reason that I feel the need to share a blog about events going on in our area is¬†because I have this really goofy pet peeve. When I hear someone say (in a whiny voice) “There’s nothing to do around here”, I want to prove them wrong! So with that, I’m going to share, share, share.

I hope to see you around NW Louisiana,

Robin Williams,
Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes