Happy New Year…and Happy New Us!

Welcome, 2013!

Sumter’s calendar for the new year is already packed with events, both new ones and returning favorites.  Add that to the many interesting places and personalities in the community, and it’s easy to see that there will be no shortage of things to write about as we continue bringing you our (most of the time) semi-weekly posts on Sumter’s tourism blog.

If you have been with us for a while and have paid close attention, you’ve probably already noticed that suddenly, there is a byline—and that today’s pronoun is “we” instead of “I.”  You see, one of the changes taking place in order to bring you a better-rounded picture of the Sumter community is that this page will now be home to more than one writer.  As much as I enjoy blogging, some days it’s tough to feel inspired.  And, let’s face it—no matter how amusing I may find myself, after a while, one voice can get…well, a bit stale.

Since 2010, the anonymous “I” behind the header has mostly been me.  I’m Colette Colette-DanielsDaniels, Tourism Development Coordinator for the Sumter Convention & Visitors Bureau, headquartered at the Swan Lake Visitors Center.  So albeit rather belatedly, please allow me to introduce myself.

I’ve been with the department since December of 2000, and since that time have thoroughly enjoyed both getting to know Sumter better myself, and helping others to discover this wonderful place.  As a native of southeastern North Carolina, I’m not that far from home, but to me, this is home—after all, I’ve lived here since 1975.  I’m a graduate of Sumter High School and hold a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  In addition to writing, my interests include the arts, extreme DIY, reading, gardening, hiking, and a little kayaking when I get the chance.  Just in case you haven’t noticed, I’m also a total local history nerd.  One of myBrown-Chapel proudest moments was when the late Mayor Bubba McElveen tried to confound me with a photo of Brown Chapel at First Baptist Church (he loved to play “Guess what this is?” with our staff).    Once I’d correctly identified it and given him some historical background (it was built in 1901 and destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989), he regarded me thoughtfully and said, “Miss Colette, I guess I have to admit it—you do know ‘Sumpta.’”

So, that’s me.  Now, please join me in welcoming the two new bloggers who will be contributing here.  I’m quite excited about their participation, and can’t wait to see what they’ll bring to the party!

Shelley Kile is Support Services Manager for the City of Sumter.  She supports special projects within the Administrative Services Department, which encompassesShelley-Kile Communications, Community Development, Information Technology, Recreation, Risk Management, and Tourism.  She also has one big responsibility that she never signed on for—she presently serves as Community Marketing & Operations Manager for the Swan Lake Visitors Center (that’s from the part of her job description that reads, “Any other duties as assigned”).

Shelley has an extensive background in management, and has worked in the marketing and public relations, tourism, planning, economic development, and business training fields—quite an impressive resume for someone so young.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Advertising from West Virginia University and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in public administration.  And as well as all of that, Shelley is a Photoshop expert, a gifted professional photographer, enjoys sports and historical re-enactments, has a wicked sense of humor, and—she didn’t know I knew this—loves to dance. 

Since Shelley moved to Sumter from the Pacific Northwest less than a year ago, she’s going to bring a newcomer’s perspective, and quite possibly remind the rest of us that there are amazing treasures here in our own backyard that we take totally for granted.  It’s like seeing Sumter through a new pair of eyes, and that is…well, it’s almost enchantment.  Shelley calls herself “the newbie,” but she has embraced Sumter as her new home, and has immersed herself to such a degree that she probably knows things that will surprise us all!

Our other new contributor is Patrick Enzor.  Patrick’s name may be a familiar Patrick-Enzorone already, as he spent more than seven years at The Item, holding the positions of Online/Multimedia Editor, Assistant Sports Editor, and Sports Writer (a couple of those, I suspect, simultaneously).  He came on board with the City last year as our Webmaster.  Patrick oversees all facets of the City’s website, Intranet, and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and look for him soon to bring in some cool new multimedia features.

Patrick graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  He has spent the last couple of years in “dad training” with his stepchildren, and in June 2012, he became the proud father of a new son.  As well as his sports expertise, he can bring us up to speed on what I hereby dub “Kid-Friendly Sumter.”

Beginning next week, you’ll still be seeing my name up top—but now it will be sharing space with these two talented and enthusiastic writers.  We’ll also be welcoming other guest writers from time to time.  All in all, we’re looking forward to a very informative, highly diverse, and thoroughly entertaining 2013 in the blogosphere!

by Colette Daniels

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