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Welcome to our Chamber Connection Newsletter!
In an effort to connect our Chamber Members to valuable news, information, and resources each month we will feature a spotlight topic to better connect our community. This month's topic focuses on the importance our Education including exciting announcements, transitions, and more news in our community. Next month's topic will feature a focus on Healthcare.
August| 2021 | Education
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Arvest Bank: A Community Bank Focused on Your Needs

A Tradition of Customer Focus

The story of Arvest is one of commitment started by our founders, an intense dedication to focusing on the customer above all else. This philosophy has remained the same during our growth from a small bank to a network of community banks able to provide a complete range of financial services.

Staying true to these principles has been the common thread throughout our history. We will always be active and involved members of the communities we serve and we will work to put the needs of our customers first as we continue to fulfill our mission – “People helping people find financial solutions for life.”
Serving All of Our Communities Large and Small

Arvest operates in the more than 130 communities across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, with 14 community-oriented banks that have their own local president, board of directors and management team. Our commitment to the local level is unusual for a bank our size, but we believe it is one of the values that makes us unique.

At Arvest Bank, we believe in donating our time and resources to help shape, support and strengthen the communities where we live, work and play. We want to provide our customers the products and services that best fit their needs, but at the same time, we desire to make our communities better, whether it’s through volunteering, providing sponsorships or making small business and community development loans.

Our associates are deeply involved in our communities, volunteering time and donating resources to make the communities we call home better for us all. Whether they are helping feed the food-insecure in our footprint with initiatives like Million Meals, volunteering in local schools or supporting nonprofit organizations, our involvement makes a difference by delivering a lasting and positive impact in our communities.
Teacher Appreciation Celebration
The Chamber hosted our annual Teacher Appreciation Breakfast events in early August.

Thanks to our Sponsors & Volunteers we delivered food across our public, private & charter schools for over 1,995 Teachers & Staff. 

As our educators begin the school year, we hope you know how much our Chamber & Business Community appreciate all that you do for our Children in the Fort Smith Area.
The Future of the River Valley is in your Classroom Today and the Chamber is here to support you!
Newest Leadership Fort Smith Class Announced and Held Their Opening Retreat
Class of 2022 has officially begun! They had a great time of getting to know each other, developing & fine tuning their leadership skills that will setup them up for a great year! 
The first session will be next month to focus on the “Past, Present & Future of Fort Smith!”

We still have Session Sponsorships available for this year's class. Contact Lindsey Trantham at to learn more.
Fort Smith Chamber Holds the Class VI Junior Leadership Academy Orientation & Opening Session
Our JLA Class VI kicked off this month with a dinner event to recognize each participant & then a day Retreat to build on their leadership & communication skills!

This marks the beginning of the 6th year and we are excited for this group of 35 and everything that they are about to learn about the Fort Smith Region!

We still have Session Sponsorships available for this year's class. Contact Lindsey Trantham at to learn more.
Updates from Fort Smith Public Schools
See the latest news and information from the Fort Smith Public Schools
ACHE Welcomes 400 Students to Campus
The Arkansas Colleges of Health Education welcomed approximately 400 students to campus. Students from the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, ACHE School of Physical Therapy, and the Master of Science in Biomedicine will spend the next semester attending classes and labs in preparation for their healthcare professional degrees. The ACHE School of Occupational Therapy will welcome its inaugural class in January 2022.  
UAFS Welcomes More Than 300 New First-Year Students on Campus
The UAFS campus is in full Fall swing as students return for the first fully face-to-face semester since Spring 2020. “We are so proud of the number of incoming new students enrolled at UAFS this Fall,” said Admissions Director, Andy Johnson. With 1490 new students entering the university as first-time students, transfer students, and students returning to UAFS after some time, UAFS is seeing an increase in new students over fall of 2020 and spring of 2021. Johnson said he expects that number to rise even more in the coming years thanks to revitalized recruiting strategies and the dedication of the UAFS admissions team. 

“This weekend Cub Camp welcomed more than 300 new first-year students to a three-day on-campus experience, and our Student Life Office has events scheduled every day for the next two weeks as part of their annual Welcome Week slate! All day you can see students walking to class with breakfast, coffee, snow cones and snacks provided by student organizations, and throughout the evening rooms come alive with dances and activities, and the campus green is filled with music and lawn games,” Johnson said. “It’s a great time to be a Lion!”
Fort Smith Private Schools Enjoyed to Back-to-School With Their Students
On Saturday, Aug. 21, Fr. John Antony, Administrator, joined by principal Dr. Karen Hollenbeck, blessed the Trinity school year and fall activities with help from the Ft. Smith Fire Department. Families enjoyed free food and fun, and the football, volleyball, cross country, band, and cheer and dance teams were introduced. Pictures are attached. 
New this year at Christ the King School we held a family fair on our playground the Monday before school began. This event replaced our traditional meet the teacher and parent orientation. We decided an outdoor event was safer this year because of Covid-19. The PTO, Spirit Shop, and all our teachers had booths. Each student also got a free mask lanyard, yard sign, and bible verse water bottle sticker. Everyone was anxious to get back to class and the students were especially happy about getting to travel to special classes like art and music again this year. 
Immaculate Conception Elementary School kicks off another great year for the 2021 -2022 school year!
Check out the wonderful first day of school at 1st Lutheran School!
Welcome to Our New Members in August
Upcoming Chamber Connection Newsletters
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September 30, 2021 - Healthcare
We will recap our special Healthcare Celebration contact Lindsey Trantham for more information on details at

October 28, 2021 - Economic and Workforce Development
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