Several years ago, Pete Papay and Jason Breidinger were selling Christmas trees for the Slatington Lions Club and discussing how to get more people involved in community projects. They thought if all of the community organizations came together under one umbrella, many great things could be accomplished.

Papay and Breidinger's idea was spun off of a group in Slatington called "The Bridge Club," whose primary focus was to deal with the economic impact of the Main Street Bridge being torn down and rebuilt. Traffic needed to be diverted from the downtown business area, literally for months.

The Bridge Club worked with PennDot and local businesses to assure the detouring had a minimum impact on local businesses. The cooperation and effort of the business community was a successful venture.

So, Papay and Breidinger thought why not take the same concept and pull all of the organizations in Slatington together under one umbrella to work on community projects. From that idea "The Venture Group" formed.

The first project the group tackled was the Slatington Trailhead, which is located at the junction of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Trail and the Slate Heritage Trail. Because it's here that people either start or end their walking, biking or hiking experience, the Venture Group agreed that a rest room would be a useful accommodation.

In addition to the restroom, currently being built are an adjoining kitchen and meeting room where organizations will be able to gather and hold events. Both buildings are being constructed using slate as the primary building material to reflect the region's mainstay product.

The Venture Group includes many supporting groups and has eight charter-members. Although most member groups are non-profit, municipalities and the Chamber of Commerce are amongst the membership. The Venture Group is only in its third year, but so far, all indicators point to success.

Papay said, "Everyone involved is open-minded. When someone comes in with an idea, like the Trail head Project, it's taken seriously." While hundreds of individuals are involved in the Venture Group, many people know of one another, but do not personally know one another. A mixer is planned for April 19 at the Slatington Moose with the intent of giving members an opportunity to meet face to face.

Papay said meeting one another face to face makes it more possible for things to happen in the community. "Each organization," Papay said is, "unique and different." Therefore, "it's important members get to know one another." They all have a common objective of serving the community. "The mixer," Papay said, "will provide a venue to share common goals, personal interests and discuss community projects."

Everyone in the community is welcome to participate and join this mixer. Contact Papay for tickets and location at (610) 428-6741.