With strong support for the Visit Champaign County Foundation, we were able to hit major milestones in a variety of destination development initiatives to support our mission.

2022 Major Projects

 
IHSA Boys State Basketball

Returning after 25 years, the IHSA Boys State Basketball Tournament was hosted at State Farm Center on March 10-12, 2022. After a successful bid for a 3-year contract and a pandemic delay, teams and fans rolled into town bringing excitement and school spirit to the area.

With big format changes, moving all 4 classes to one weekend, we saw an influx of visitors of over 34,500 fans, including a massive crowd for Championship Saturday. 

Beyond center court, we coordinated the ChambanaMoms.com KidsZone alongside a TechZone with the Illini eSports Club providing mini-game experiences and the Innovation Hub providing virtual reality experiences. The University of Illinois Admissions Office also hosted a college fair on Friday for potential students.

Simultaneously, the Unified and Wheelchair State Basketball Tournaments took place at the University of Illinois Activities & Recreation Center (ARC) with a Wheelchair Basketball exhibition at the State Farm Center on Friday night.

Other Events supported by the VCC Foundation
  • IHSA State Wrestling Finals – February 2022
  • Illinois Middle School Basketball Championships – March 2022
  • Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend – April 2022
  • Teen Masters Bowling Tournament – May 2022
  • American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) All-Star Event – July 2022
  • Rank Up Football Championships – August 2022
  • National Softball Association Senior All-Star Event – August 2022
  • IHSA State Football Championships – November 2022
  • Illinois High School Theatre Festival – January 2023
Champaign County African American Heritage Trail
Champaign County African American Heritage Trail

Lead by co-chairs Barbara Suggs-Mason and Angela Rivers, significant development for the Champaign County African American Heritage Trail occurred, alongside a large committee of volunteers.  Major milestones were hit to fulfill the mission to educate today’s residents and visitors about the rich cultural history of a people whose stories have been largely unrecognized, but who directly shaped the place we call home.  

  • November 2021—Publicly announced the Trail at City View, highlighting the Skelton Park project and initial website
  • January 2022—Strategic Planning session outlining goals, milestones, and steps to be taken to fulfill the mission. Fundraising for the Trail began in full force. New logo was created by Marcus Flinn highlighting numerous themes to be found on the Trail.
  • Spring 2022—The History and Archives committee designated over 20 stops for interpretive signs showcasing historical people, places, and events. Content development commenced. Surface 51 was hired to build a comprehensive website, including a timeline and detailed trail stop descriptions, with Points of Pride and a future home for educational materials. Many community outreach events at Rotary Clubs, Champaign Public Library, Parkland College, and more to raise awareness of the project.
  • Summer 2022—Tabled at the Juneteenth Celebration, Jettie Rhodes Day, and CU Days, sharing the preliminary stops for the Trail and directing people to the website. Champaign Park District’s bus mural by local artist, Keenan Dailey was unveiled. Highlights the history of Douglass Park in the exterior and interior of the bus.

As trail progress continues, stay tuned to ccafricanamericanheritage.org for updates.

 

Chambana Welcome Crew

For the past few years, we have collaborated with the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation to work with local employers, educating and training talent attraction & HR staff on the community story to enhance the pitch to top talent to consider the greater Champaign County area as a destination to live and work. Numerous resources and opportunities were created to help bolster the community during the hiring process, such as trainings, virtual and in-person tours, videos, seasonal checklists, and much more.

 

In August 2021, the latest tool in our talent attraction strategy was launched—the Chambana Welcome Crew, a community ambassador program. A dozen passionate community ambassadors were ready to greet newcomers to the area and help them settle into their new home. Our Crew is now 41 members strong. Since the launch, the Crew has helped 45 new and potential residents in their transition, from residents moving from France for a new career to a couple from Atlanta, Georgia, who just wanted a change of pace. Our ambassadors are sharing their experiences and helping these individuals and families realize why the greater Champaign County area is an amazing place to live, work, and visit.

 

Enhancing the new resident experience, we developed our New to C-U Mixers creating a welcoming space for newcomers to start conversations, form relationships, and feel connected in their new community. Simply meeting other new residents went a long way in making everyone feel welcome. These mixers continue quarterly, so stay tuned to visitchampaigncounty.org/newtocu for updates.

 
What’s Coming in 2023

 

Continue to Support Our Efforts

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