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March 30, 2019 in Blog Posts

Young Workers + Families on Cape Cod Face Challenges, But All is Not Lost

As a nonprofit that works every day to advance opportunity for young, working-age adults on Cape Cod, we often ask ourselves the difficult question: are we doing enough? We know – many of us first-hand – that being a young person on Cape Cod can feel like an insurmountable challenge. From finding year-round housing we can actually afford, to identifying that next career step, or an open child-care spot, or that perfect friend community that welcomes and supports you, it seems there is much standing between us and a stable future in this place we love and call home. But we want you to know you aren’t alone, that there ARE opportunities and a future for you here, and that we will continue to do whatever we can to foster and share those opportunities with you. Because a community that lacks the vibrant energy, innovation, and drive of young people is no community at all. And we know the Cape can do better.

We are grateful to the Cape Cod Times and the Boston Globe for advancing the conversation around the very real challenges faced by young people and families on Cape Cod. For those who want to get involved, or support efforts already underway, we want to share a few resources and action-oriented solutions.

  • Build Community with Us. CCYP’s monthly and annual events are more than just networking. They’re an opportunity to build community among the young people living and working here on Cape Cod. Why is this important? Studies are showing that finding your tribe has everything to do with whether you feel attached and connected to the place where you live. Come get connected, meet new people, and find the community that’s already waiting for you here on Cape Cod.
  • Speak up. As a young person experiencing these challenges first-hand, you have a perspective worth sharing, and its one that isn’t being heard enough – not locally, and not at the state level. Reach out to your town or state elected officials with a quick email. Apply to be on a town board or committee. Write a letter to the editor. Share the reasons that brought you to Cape Cod (the natural beauty? lower rent than Boston? great place to raise a family?) and what you need to successfully live and work here. Ask them to support programs and policies that support young people living here year-round. Need help? Let us know. We are happy to point you in the right direction for who to contact, and how best to share your story.
  • Find Resources. If you or someone you know needs help with housing, a job, or child care, there are many resources already offered locally. Additionally, some very creative efforts have been underway by our nonprofit friends and colleagues to turn the tide here on Cape Cod: for example, a seasonal rental conversion program, housing advocacy trainings, child care subsidies, and entrepreneur accelerators. We’re working on compiling resource lists for each of these top needs, and would love any tips you have – just email info@capecodyoungprofessionals.org.

CCYP serves the community of young people living and working on Cape Cod - which means this is YOUR organization! If you want to get involved or just reach out and share an idea, we are here to help. Our ultimate goal is to keep Cape Cod a vibrant place for all of us to live and work year-round, now and into the future. The Cape is too wonderful a place to have it be otherwise.

Letter to the Editor from CEO Lauren Barker: A Vibrant Community is Choosing the Cape

Thank you for spotlighting the challenges faced by Cape Cod’s young people and families. Your article may leave readers with the impression that our community is unique in these challenges, or that it is somehow beyond saving. I would dispute both points.

The demographic shifts seen on Cape Cod mirror those of communities nationwide, and are symptomatic of bigger, societal issues: dropping birth rates, rising cost of living, stagnant wages, and restrictive zoning that limits smart growth. Yes, the challenges of young people and families need our immediate and focused attention, but not just locally, and certainly not just on Cape Cod.

Drawn by the region’s aesthetic beauty, recreational activities, tight-knit communities, and lower cost of living compared to cities like Boston, many young people have consciously chosen to build careers, raise families, and put down roots here. Instead of dwelling on numbers, we are building community and working incrementally on solutions that we believe - over time -- will turn the demographic tide.

Those who look at Cape Cod through the narrow lens portrayed in your article may miss what is right under their noses: a vibrant community of young people and families who know they have found home.

Lauren Barker, CEO

Cape Cod Young Professionals

Printed in the Boston Globe, March 30, 2019