I had the honor and privilege of leading a delegation of 34 Davie County residents, including 12 youth, to compete with communities all over the country for the prestigious “All-America” designation for our community. This process started back in October 2022 with a discussion at a quarterly elected and appointed officials meeting. Every great achievement begins with a team, and this one was no different. The elected boards and managers of Davie County, Bermuda Run, Mocksville, and Cooleemee saw the value of pursuing this honor for the entire county and that collaboration is one of the reasons why the National Civic League selected us as one of 20 finalists for the award in March 2023.
Another reason the National Civic League selected Davie County as a finalist out of all the applications they received was due to the strength of our programs. Davie County has a long history of listening to our youth and empowering them with the tools to create a better future for themselves and our county. That includes S.U.R.F. Board Grantmakers, a youth philanthropy board started as the result of countywide youth needs surveys in 2005. This board has raised almost $100,000 and funded over 70 youth-led projects to address youth-identified needs. Davie Respect Initiative was formed in 2017 as a competitive community impact challenge for Davie County youth between the ages of 12 and 21, willing to put in the work and effectively communicate a creative project that would enhance the amount of expressed respect in Davie County. D.R.I encourages youth to be the problem solvers Davie County needs now and in the future. Our youth have incredible creativity and can see solutions where adults are unable. IGNITE DAVIE College Promise is a place-based scholarship that truly makes community college an attainable goal for all. It is supported across the county through donations from business, foundation, private and government sector. We have raised over $2,000,000 of the $3,000,000 needed for the program to be self-sufficient. Finally, Davie Works is a combination of programs that help our students from elementary age through high school select a career. It does this through career days, tours, internships (students) and externships (teachers) as well as offering 14 Career Clusters, 27 CTE Career Pathways, and over fifty individual courses at Davie High School. Embedded within these offerings is the opportunity to earn industry-recognized credentials, ranging from Microsoft programs to CAD software, as well as certifications in the automotive, construction, and agricultural sectors.
The secret sauce of our “All-America County” win was our youth. They developed the vision and structure for the 10-minute performance informed with specific data provided by our program experts. They put in the time and effort to learn their parts while continually providing valuable feedback and ideas that perfected the performance. They shined during the performance and the 10-minute question and answer session by the judging panel.
That’s why Davie County, against all odds, earned the designation “All-America County”.
WE ARE…DAVIE COUNTY!
Kenneth W. Gamble