Davie in contention with 19 others for All-America City Award

Published 1:32 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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Congratulations, Davie County.

You are a finalist for the All-America City Award.

Davie County will now compete against 19 other communities in Denver, Colo., June 9-11.

Although the award is called All-America City, it is actually a competitive forum of best practices open to cities, counties, tribes, and community organizations of all types.

The National Civic League’s All-America City Award has celebrated the best in American civic innovation since 1949. The Award, bestowed yearly on 10 communities, recognizes the work of communities in using inclusive civic engagement to address critical issues and create stronger connections among residents, businesses, nonprofits, and government leaders.

The All-America City Award shines a spotlight on the incredible work taking place in communities across the country. By celebrating the best in local innovation, civic engagement, and cross-sector collaboration, the All-America City Awards remind us of the potential within every community to tackle tough issues and create real change, said Mocksville Town Manager Ken Gamble.

This year’s theme for the All-America City Award is “Creating Thriving Communities through Youth Engagement.” The 2023 award seeks to identify communities that are breaking down barriers to meaningful youth participation and enacting programs that will improve the quality of life for youth and, by extension, all members of the community. Davie County’s application focuses on youth programs that build the civic capacity of young people, increase job readiness and employment opportunities and provide leadership opportunities.

In the fall of 2022, Gamble started working on an application focused only on the Mocksville community but quickly realized that the most effective youth programs had a countywide impact. He approached Davie County Manager Brian Barnett, Bermuda Run Manager Andrew Meadwell, and Cooleemee Town Clerk Aaron Thies with a proposition to work collaboratively on an application.

“Davie County has so much going for it, and I recognized this as an opportunity to bring everyone together to celebrate that fact,” said Gamble.

With support from the managers and elected boards, a group of county and municipal representatives and community leaders went to work identifying youth programs that were making a difference across the county. This was a challenging task due to the short time available to select programs, prepare the application with supporting statistics and submit a competitive product.

Four programs quickly rose to the top of the list: Ignite Davie, Davie Works (Career & Technical Education, CTE), SURF Board Grantmakers, and Davie Respect Initiative. “Teamwork makes the dream work, and once program representatives committed to the project, the entire team came together to begin the herculean two-and-a-half-month process of building the application. The final result was more than 10,000 words long,” he said.

The team and students who have benefitted from these programs will now work on putting together a presentation for the panel of judges in Denver.

Davie County was last a finalist in the All-America City Awards in 1993.

Elected representatives across Davie County were thrilled to hear that Davie County advanced to the next round of the competition.

“We are honored to be recognized by the National Civic League as a finalist for the All-American City award,” said Mark Jones, chair of the Davie County Board of Commissioners. “Davie County is a great community to raise a family and run a business. We certainly live by the tenets of civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation to address issues in our community. Thank you for acknowledging the teamwork that makes Davie County a true All American Community.”

Cooleemee Mayor Jessica Almond agreed, adding: “I was born and raised in Cooleemee. When I got married, I chose to stay in Davie County and raise my family. I love our community and how we all work together when needed to get things done. It gives you a sense of pride to live in a place like Davie County.”

Bermuda Run Mayor Rick Cross also deeply appreciates what makes Davie County such a phenomenal place to live. “As representatives serving Davie County, we know ours is a special community. We are thrilled that this is acknowledged by being named as a finalist for this prestigious recognition.”

Mocksville Mayor Will Marklin recognized the essential role our community organizations play in creating positive opportunities for our youth while strengthening the social fabric of Davie County. He shared his appreciation for the SURF Board, Davie Respect Initiative, Ignite Davie, and Davie Works (Career & Technical Education). “We are all proud of what is being done in Davie County to promote youth involvement and are excited to be a finalist for All- American County.”

Thanks to the members of the team that made this honor possible:

Aaron Thies – Cooleemee Town Clerk

Alyse Wooldridge – Career Development Coordinator, Davie County High School

Andrew Meadwell – Bermuda Run Town Manager

Anthony Davis – Director of CTE and Federal Programs, Davie County Schools

Brian Barnett – Davie County Manager

Carolyn McManamy – Director of DavieCONNECT, representing IGNITE DAVIE

Ken Gamble – Mocksville Town Manager

Jane Simpson – President & CEO Davie Community Foundation, representing S.U.R.F Board

Jeanna White – Word Master Media Group

Jeannie Taylor – Cooleemee Town Board

Julia Burazer – Davie Respect Initiative

Rick Cross – Mayor of Bermuda Run

Stefanie Morris – Career Planning, North Davie Middle School

Stephen Leighton – Davie Respect Initiative

Susan Baggett – Davie Respect Initiative

Will Marklin – Mayor of Mocksville