Chambana Welcome Crew, a new community ambassador program, launched today with the goal of attracting and retaining new residents to Champaign County by creating a welcoming environment and a sense of belonging.

Featuring a dozen ambassadors with a range of backgrounds, demographics, and experiences, the program will match newcomers to ambassadors based on their interests to help them navigate their new home.

The program is a collaboration between the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, Visit Champaign County, and the Dual Career Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ambassadors will connect with their recruits to serve as a “first friend” in the community, helping find the resources they need to settle here

The program will be open to any residents that moved to Champaign County since early 2020 and to anyone considering a move to the area. “We anticipate that our local employers will rely heavily on our ambassadors to help share their living and working experiences, so they can see what life here will be like beyond their career,” states McCrory-McKay.

The Chambana Welcome Crew will continue to add new ambassadors regularly to meet the demand in the community. Community members that are passionate about the area that want to serve in an ambassador capacity are encouraged to apply at the website, The organizers of the program are seeking a diverse group from all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, and stages of life. “