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James River Association is Recruiting Students for the Adventure of a Lifetime

The James River Association (JRA) is currently seeking student and teacher applications for James River Leadership Expeditions (JRLE), a year-long program for high schoolers interested in advocating for the James River.

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The James River Association (JRA) is currently seeking student and teacher applications for James River Leadership Expeditions (JRLE), a year-long program for high schoolers interested in advocating for the James River.

Photo Credit: JRA

The program is segmented into four sessions running from July 2023 through May 2024, and it provides students with the opportunity to enjoy river-based education, build new friendships, develop leadership skills, and carry out a community capstone project. JRA will accept 30 students in the 2023-24 program across the James River watershed.

JRLE kicks off during the summer with Session One, perhaps the program’s most beloved experience: a week-long, overnight paddle adventure on the James River. These trips are divided into three excursions covering the Upper, Middle, and Lower James.

Photo Credit: JRA

Throughout the trip, students learn technical skills like how to canoe and camp overnight and they receive further education through unparalleled access to local culture, history, and environmental teachings. They also experience a highly unique setting that gives them the chance to build confidence, self-esteem, and relationships with their fellow participants.

Nash McDowell, a JRLE alum who previously participated in the program, has this advice for students considering the program: “If I could tell students one thing, it’s that you will never experience something like this again. The James River Association is offering an incredible experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. To spend one week on the James River, technology-free, with good company, is something very hard to find. When the opportunity presents itself, take it.”

Continuing into the school year, JRLE’s second session offers an overnight brainstorming event where students discuss community capstone projects together. The third session consists of a working group complete with games that tap into personality styles, self-awareness, public speaking, and relationship management. The program ends with session four, a leadership launch and environmental symposium, where students can present their capstone projects and celebrate their accomplishments for the year.

“Through James River Leadership Expeditions, students learn they are capable of far more than they realize,” said Genevieve Wall, Senior Environmental Educator for JRA. “The experiences and relationships they build throughout the program help provide skills and awareness they will develop and use for years to come. As educators, we are honored to be able to sow seeds of knowledge, understanding, and connection to the James River through this unique and life-changing program. We look forward to welcoming new river stewards of tomorrow to our 2023-24 season.”

Photo Credit: JRA

The James River Leadership Expeditions program is made possible in part by generous support from the Luck Companies Foundation Fund. To learn more about JRLE and apply, visit https://thejamesriver.org/students-of-the-james/james-river-leadership-expeditions/.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

Community

Part of Bliley to be Closed for Stormwater Repair

Bliley Road bordering Westlake Hills and Cedarhurst neighborhoods in the 4th District will be closed between Forest Hill Avenue and Blakemore Road for stormwater repair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday.

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WHAT:  Street Closure

WHEN:  Now through Wednesday, February 15

WHERE: Bliley Road bordering Westlake Hills and Cedarhurst neighborhoods in the 4th District will be closed between Forest Hill Avenue and Blakemore Road for stormwater repair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday; Whitlone Road will also be closed between Bliley and Debora Street at those times. There will be no vehicular access during those times on Bliley from Netherwood to Cedarhurst and from Bliley to Debora. The rest of the area will have resident access only.

PROJECT SCOPE:  Emergency stormwater repair project

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Community

Storm the Gates with Art 180, All City Art Club, and Supply.RVA

Bridging the divide between street art and gallery spaces with street signs, black book works, graffiti pieces, and creative public art activities.

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Art 180, All City Art Club, and Supply.RVA is bringing you their first exhibition of 2023, Storm the Gates, a gallery takeover celebrating graffiti artists, illustrators, cartoonists, and people painting in the corner of their bedrooms and garages. Bridging the divide between street art and gallery spaces with street signs, black book works, graffiti pieces, and creative public art activities.

Join them this Friday during February @rvafirstfridays where they’ll unveil a mural collaboratively painted by All City Art Club and ART 180’s program alumni and current participants.

Friday, February 3
5-9 p.m.
ART 180’s Atlas Gallery
114 W Marshall St.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Business

Greater Richmond Convention Center marks 20 years serving region

Since 2003, the complex has hosted a total of 7,034 conventions, consumer shows, sports tournaments, and other events, bringing millions of people and dollars to the region.

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Virginia’s largest meeting and exhibition venue celebrates two decades of welcoming events and visitors to the Richmond Region this year. The Greater Richmond Convention Center officially opened on February 28, 2003, as cheerleaders from across the country flipped in the American National Cheer and Dance Championships in the building’s exhibit hall.

Since then, the GRCC has hosted a total of 7,034 conventions, consumer shows, sports tournaments and other events bringing millions of people and dollars to the region.

The GRCC replaced the 62,000-square-foot Richmond Center, which opened in 1986. Stretching across a six-block area, the 700,000 square-foot GRCC incorporates some of the steel and pillars from the original facility.

Construction for the project began in 1999 and was supported by a $10 million investment from former Governor George Allen and the regionwide transient lodging tax.

“It is the best example of regional cooperation in the history of this whole area,” said late Lt. Gov. John H. Hager during a 2002 press conference.

The Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority – a political subdivision of Virginia with representation from the city of Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties – oversaw the financing, development and construction of the GRCC. The Authority’s 25th anniversary is this year.

We’re immensely proud of the legacy and the positive impact the Greater Richmond Convention Center has had on tourism,” said Lincoln Saunders, City of Richmond Chief Administrative Officer and Chair of the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority. “Millions of people are introduced to the Richmond Region through events and competitions that are hosted at the facility every year. These visitors support our economy by shopping at our small businesses, eating at restaurants and visiting attractions.”

To examine the viability of the GRCC, regional leaders commissioned a feasibility study by C.H. Johnson Consulting in 1999. The researchers projected hotel tax collections to reach $30 million by fiscal year 2020. Hotel tax collection revenues reached $30 million by fiscal year 2019.

Throughout the GRCC expansion phases, groups were welcomed to the region to use completed portions of the building. About 1,200 women from the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority were the first to use the facility’s new ballroom during a three-day conference in May 2001.

When the GRCC was officially completed in 2003, Richmond Region Tourism had booked 18 conventions through 2008.

Interest and bookings have experienced a dramatic uptick over the years. During its last fiscal year, the GRCC hosted over 180 events.

From USA Fencing tournaments and ice dancing competitions to offshore wind conferences and comic conventions, the GRCC has hosted various large-scale events since it opened.

“The convention center is a shining example of regional collaboration,” said Jack Berry, president and CEO of Richmond Region Tourism. “The success of the convention center demonstrates how investing in tourism results in positive economic development for our entire region. Richmond Region Tourism and its partners are committed to working alongside our community to continue tourism’s positive momentum.”

The GRCC went through extensive upgrades to modernize the facility in 2020.

GRCC’s technological and cosmetic improvements include new LED lighting and RGB color lighting, monitors, digital signage, and a new digital sound system.  Its interior spaces were updated with new tile, accents, paint scheme, and pub-style tables and seating. The facility also features a new executive lounge and a renovated food court and service desk.

Today the GRCC features 178,159 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, a 30,550 square foot grand ballroom, and 50,000 sq. ft. of additional meeting room space.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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