Community: Football Elevates a Sense of Belonging In Green Bay
We’re well into football season here in Green Bay, Wisconsin, home of Elevate97. My team of innovators is hard at work every day just a mile or so from Lambeau Field—the iconic hub of Green Bay Packer legend and community. Lambeau Field is a destination, a must-see for football fans across the globe. It’s lauded by national media who come here simply to cover a game but realize there’s something astounding about Green Bay. What is the magic of it all? It’s really very simple. It’s about community.
HOUSE OF BELONGING
At our most basic level, people just want to belong. In a small community with a fan-owned NFL team, belonging happens. On game day, it starts with arriving at the stadium and even the surrounding area of the stadium—everyone getting ready for that game. Kickoff may be at a specific time, but the draw starts way before with guests coming from out of town to people’s homes. It pulls family and friends together. It creates camaraderie with fans from visiting teams. It’s a shared sensory experience, and everyone belongs as they rally around it.
When we at Elevate97 have client-partners in town for a game, we want to share that experience—the setup of the tailgate, the smell of the grills, the music, the sound of people’s high, spirited vocals and laughter, and if we’re lucky, the University of Wisconsin Marching Band. We want to share our hometown in the dishes we offer—cheese curds and brats. It all adds up to comfort. I’m going to include in all of this the voice of WBAY ABC 2’s news anchor Bill Jartz. Bill’s voice is one of those game day sounds in the stadium. When he announces over the speaker system, I get goose bumps, because I understand that he is about more than the Packers. He volunteers his time to announce the games and has for five years. He is about community.
As are so many others. Take the Weyers Family Foundation and its Dr. Fun House tailgate parties. At this house on Stadium Drive, all they ask is that you make a donation as you tailgate. They take all that money and donate it to a local nonprofit. It’s so much greater than the Green Bay Packer team. What all of these people are doing, together, is contributing with a purpose. They feel a sense of belonging because they have a shared experience and a shared purpose.
NO SITTING ON THE SIDELINES
The fans aren’t the only ones in Green Bay with a purpose. The Packers are owned by the community, and the Packers have an allegiance to the community. I feel like any NFL team goes above and beyond supporting the community, but I can speak best about the Packers. They are personally responsible for helping to elevate Green Bay and, beyond that, the state of Wisconsin. They do what they can in order to be stand-outs as an NFL team but also as leaders locally.
One example is the Greater Green Bay Chamber’s annual Welcome Back Packer Luncheon. It’s amazing. At every table, a Green Bay Packer player sits with nine other people from the community. They chat with business owners and organizational leaders. One Packer that day receives an award for outstanding community involvement—because, of course, you reward what’s important. And the Packer organization makes it very clear that personally giving of themselves is important for players.
The Packers not only present checks, footballs and jerseys for local causes, but also have their leaders on boards and active as community members. They are in the game, folks!
So that rookie Packer player who comes to Green Bay? He learns more than football from this legendary organization.
STRIVING FOR LEGENDARY
At Elevate97, we strive to be legendary as well. We have a business purpose of elevating our partners externally and internally. We have a personal commitment to doing what we can individually and collectively as a team to make our community and world a better place, one step at a time.