You're young. You're cute. You have energy. You're a go-getter.
Say bye-bye to sleep. Today's young professionals scene has ballooned into an unstoppable wave that's changing Houston for the better. With a social calendar that would rival the agendas of hoity-toity socialites, YPs have a challenge in deciding where to make an entrance. In fact, deciding with whom to get involved is critical as you climb the social and corporate ladder.
Young professional societies should offer a healthy combination of fun parties and volunteer opportunities while opening doors so you can meet influentials in your field.
No idea where to start? Think of this Top 10 list as your cheat sheet to finding your perfect place amid the trailblazing scenesters making a difference.
What we love about Camp For All young professionals is the melange of casual happy hour gatherings with roll-up-your-sleeves and git-er-done volunteering opportunities at its main facility, a 206-acre campsite in Burton that welcomes more than 9,000 children and adults with special needs to an environment where everything is possible.
Quarterly socials include the Camp Culinary Challenge, a food-centered competition in which top restaurants dish themed creations in hopes of earning bragging rights. During Camp Care Days, members offer maintenance and administrative support while interacting with the organization's clientele. As director Kurt Podeszwa said in his TEDxHouston chat, it's all part of "selfish selflessness," which summarizes what it feels like to give — that those who give time and money recognize that they receive much more in return.
New this year is Camp For All 2U, a camp at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center that brings smiles to children undergoing cancer treatment.
The deets: Annual membership dues are $35 for individuals, $50 for couples.
Established in 1998, Friends of Depelchin is one of the oldest YP troupes in the city. You can count on the strong and amicable steering committee to keep it real with opportunities that directly support DePelchin Children's Center's mission.
You'll make friends instantly while volunteering at such events as the Back to School Field Day for adoptive families and the Holiday Party for foster families.
You'll make friends instantly while volunteering at such events as the Back to School Field Day for adoptive families (August), the Holiday Party for foster families (December), the DePelchin Holiday Project that provides holiday gifts for more than 1,000 children (December) plus several collection drives throughout the year. Two annual fundraisers, which include a Cinco De Mayo-themed fiesta in May, plus a handful of mixers impart a balance of work and play.
The deets: Annual membership dues are $35 for individuals, $45 for couples.
It's easy to fall in love with the ladies of Women of Wardrobe, a group that was formed to bolster the efforts of Dress for Success Houston. WOW members — in their quest to provide professional interview attire, encouragement and career development advice for disadvantaged women so they become self-sufficient — volunteer at least three hours and attend chic and fashionable fundraisers that are thronged by influential ladies and gents.
The networking is fun and fabulous at events such as the annual membership bash (June 18), Sizzling Summer Soiree at Tootsies (August) and conversations with women who are making a difference in the city (Elaine Turner on Nov. 5 for example).
The deets: Annual memberships dues are $75 for individuals.
While some YP groups concentrate only on philanthropic parties, this corps, founded by darling duo Kristy Junco Bradshaw and Lindsey Brown, has found the ideal balance between mixers teeming with bubbly, first-class performances by the Houston Ballet and behind-the-scenes educational opportunities that rouse members to learn more about dance, dance makers, ballerinas and cavaliers.
It's no wonder that many members become balletomanes quickly, especially with Ballet and Bubbles, a gathering at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance in which guests can ask questions during a ballet rehearsal. Always a sell out, the delicious Raising the Barre dinner couples dancers with notable toques in a multicourse feast that spotlights culinary and performing arts.
Need extra incentive? Ballet Barre get-togethers are perfect to meet other eligible singles.
The deets: Annual memberships, which include tickets to four productions, start at $145.
What started as an intimate group of emerging good-doers a couple of years ago has grown into a powerhouse coterie helmed by a passionate leadership committee that believes there's no room for hatred, prejudice and apathy in today's pluralistic society. Case in point: More than 200 guests packed last year's kick off event that honored Holocaust Museum Houston founder, Holocaust survivor Bill Morgan.
Still a growing assemblage, this guild that's open to everyone offers a mixture of lectures and conversations with those that talk the talk and walk the walk, artsy events, cooking demos and opportunities to network with bigwigs of this 18-year-old institution.
The deets: Annual membership dues are $50 for individuals, $100 for couples.
With representation in Austin, Dallas and Houston, this newcomer on the scene has set the bar high with its 20-member strong executive committee and blooming associate base of influentials under 40 years of age. Limited to 225 regular members, only the cream of the crop of emerging philanthropists will be able to meet the basic fundraising requirements that underwrite Alzheimer's research.
What's in it for you? Invitation-only socials in the company of those who are already well connected.
The deets: Annual membership is by fundraising or donation of $1,000.
Who could say no to a charming soirée on the banks of McGovern Lake at Hermann Park? As one of the yearly gatherings that raises funds for Hermann Park Conservancy, this al fresco party is one of the highlights of saying yes to Urban Green. The bonus? When park officials open the pedal boats for cruising.
Volunteering opportunities abound, whether that's planting trees, planting flowers to add color around the Buddy Carruth Playground for All Children or helping remove invasive species. Urban Green members also receive discounts at the gift shop and Pinewood Cafe.
The deets: Annual membership dues are $50 for individuals, $75 for couples.
While grooming the next generation of Houston Zoo supporters, Flock offers young professionals exclusive up-close-and-personal opportunities to connect with experts to learn more about animal care and wildlife conservation. Members go wild about the many animal interactions that are featured at Flock shindigs, a highlight that helps attendees develop a more meaningful relationship with the natural world.
You can always count on amicable company. Because people that love animals are lovable.
Plus you can always count on amicable company. Because people that love animals are lovable.
Membership benefits include free admission to Flock events, unlimited admission to the zoo and discounts at the gift shop, special exhibits and more.
The deets: Annual membership dues are $150 for individuals, $250 for individuals plus a guest.
Ever since Houston experienced the devastating drought that nearly decimated the city's green canopy, the work of Trees For Houston has become even more important in restoring arboricultural life. With the purchase of each membership, Trees for Houston acquires a pine or oak tree, which members may plant and maintain at a location of their choosing.
More than 500 trees are also planted yearly as part of Planting on the Parkway, a volunteer event held in February that targets parkland that yearns for leafy love. Tony Marron Park, located along Buffalo Bayou in Houston's East End, received a much needed facelift thanks to the efforts of these young professionals.
Then there are the agreeable socials, such as the date auction, the Kentucky Derby-themed party and the membership drive.
The deets: Annual membership dues are $50 for individuals, $90 for couples.
An acronym that stands for Professionals United to Lead St. Luke's Health System, PULSE began beating when founders Lindley and Jason Arnoldy were preview to the cutting edge technology that was being used to treat brain aneurysms. Today, PULSE has become a meaningful contributor to the hospital, underwriting such projects as Echo Texas, a teleconferencing initiative that enables liver specialists to collaborate with physicians in remote locations.
Sounds serious? Not to worry. Wicked parties such as the Saints and Sinners Halloween Costume Bash and the upcoming First Annual Culinary Carnival will remind you that hard work is rewarded with boisterous fun.
The deets: Annual membership dues start at $100.