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NACo Awards

Nearly two dozen County programs and initiatives have been recognized by the National Association of Counties.


September 7, 2007

Nearly two dozen Mecklenburg County programs and initiatives have been recognized by our County government peers around the nation.

Nearly two dozen programs and initiatives have been recognized by our County government peers around the nation.

The National Association of Counties ( NACo) presented seventeen Achievement Awards to Mecklenburg County programs including many Park and Recreation, public health and library services. Several communication projects, including the County's television show " The Mecklenburgers," were also recognized.

The NACo contest consists of more than 20 categories on subjects ranging from the arts and historic preservation to volunteerism, and is open to counties and state associations nationwide. Achievement Award recipients are singled out for their creativity, success and innovation. Mecklenburg County programs that received the awards are:

Park and Recreation:
- Beyond Barriers
- Harris Teeter/Purina Bark in the Park
- Challenger Flag Football League
- Little League Book Club
- Survivor: Copperhead Island Summer Adventure Day Camp
- Synthetic Turf Fields
- Shining STAR (Socialization Through Awareness & Recreation)
- Invasive Exotic Plant Control Workshop
- Dog Park Enhancements

Health Department:
- Fit City For Fit Families
- Smokeless Does Not Equal Harmless, Youth Baseball League Initiative
- Healthy Carolinians Healthy Literacy Pilot Training Project
- Fit City Worksite Wellness Program

- Fit City For Fit Families- Smokeless Does Not Equal Harmless, Youth Baseball League Initiative- Healthy Carolinians Healthy Literacy Pilot Training Project- Fit City Worksite Wellness Program

Public Library:
- Learning 2.0
- The Gaming Zone
- So Much To See, So Much To Do Library Card Campaign

- Learning 2.0- The Gaming Zone- So Much To See, So Much To Do Library Card Campaign

GIS:
- Economic Development GIS System

The National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO), an affiliate of NACo, presented Mecklenburg County with several 2007 Awards of Excellence for communication and public information services. "The Mecklenburgers," the County's television show focusing on government services and programs, was named "Best in Class," the top winner of all NACIO entries. Other projects receiving awards are the 2006 Performance Report, Outlook employee magazine, 2006 State of the Environment Report and GIS Day logo.

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners recognized the NACo Achievement Awards earned by the Park and Recreation Department at its regular meeting on August 14; the remainder were recognized September 5.

Program descriptions:

1. Beyond Barriers: This program, for children and teens who are members of the international refugee community in Mecklenburg County, was designed and executed by Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department’s Therapeutic Recreation Division in collaboration with the Refugee Relocation Program of Catholic Social Services. The program offers extended learning, language skill development, social skill development, plus interpersonal skill development opportunities, while maintaining a sense of cultural heritage and preservation.

This program, for children and teens who are members of the international refugee community in Mecklenburg County, was designed and executed by Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department’s Therapeutic Recreation Division in collaboration with the Refugee Relocation Program of Catholic Social Services. The program offers extended learning, language skill development, social skill development, plus interpersonal skill development opportunities, while maintaining a sense of cultural heritage and preservation.

2. Harris Teeter/Purina Bark in the Park: The Harris Teeter/Purina® Bark In the Park dog festivals are a public/private venture that includes dog contests, food concessions, vendors of dog services, pet products, pet adoption agencies, the nationally-known Purina Incredible Dog Team, as well as local and national celebrities. The 2005 and 2006 festivals raised a substantial amount of money to help build future dog parks. The events demonstrated that Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation provides innovative, high quality recreational activities.

The Harris Teeter/Purina® Bark In the Park dog festivals are a public/private venture that includes dog contests, food concessions, vendors of dog services, pet products, pet adoption agencies, the nationally-known Purina Incredible Dog Team, as well as local and national celebrities. The 2005 and 2006 festivals raised a substantial amount of money to help build future dog parks. The events demonstrated that Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation provides innovative, high quality recreational activities.

3. Challenger Flag Football League: The Challenger Flag Football League is the only program designed for children with disabilities. The program offers unique opportunities for players to develop their physical fitness, social and team interactions and self confidence. The program has brought together three committed organizations: Pop Warner Football, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department’s Division of Therapeutic Recreation, and the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers.

The Challenger Flag Football League is the only program designed for children with disabilities. The program offers unique opportunities for players to develop their physical fitness, social and team interactions and self confidence. The program has brought together three committed organizations: Pop Warner Football, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department’s Division of Therapeutic Recreation, and the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers.

4. Little League Book Club: This program uses recreational and educational activities as an intervention to decrease negative behaviors and characteristics of homeless children (i.e., anger, lack of concentration, poor self-esteem, inappropriate communication skills, poor literacy skills, etc.). The program seeks to better the lives of disadvantaged youth from diverse backgrounds.

This program uses recreational and educational activities as an intervention to decrease negative behaviors and characteristics of homeless children (i.e., anger, lack of concentration, poor self-esteem, inappropriate communication skills, poor literacy skills, etc.). The program seeks to better the lives of disadvantaged youth from diverse backgrounds.

5. Survivor: Copperhead Island Summer Adventure Day Camp: This summer camp program provides gang-threatened youth, ages 11-14 and 15-18, positive learning opportunities. The program offers camping, kayaking, rock-climbing, and a variety of other outdoor activities as an alternative to joining a gang. Park and Recreation partnered with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department to identify at-risk youth. For many participants, this was their first exposure to outdoor recreation, leadership and teambuilding.

This summer camp program provides gang-threatened youth, ages 11-14 and 15-18, positive learning opportunities. The program offers camping, kayaking, rock-climbing, and a variety of other outdoor activities as an alternative to joining a gang. Park and Recreation partnered with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department to identify at-risk youth. For many participants, this was their first exposure to outdoor recreation, leadership and teambuilding.

6. Synthetic Turf Fields: Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation was successful in partnering with the NFL Carolina Panthers to create a much needed synthetic turf football/soccer field for youth athletics at Revolution Park. The partnership created substantial savings for the County. New generation synthetic turf can sustain much more play, in all kinds of weather, than natural grass. Over time synthetic turf pays for itself in savings on mowing, irrigation, fertilization, reseeding, etc.

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation was successful in partnering with the NFL Carolina Panthers to create a much needed synthetic turf football/soccer field for youth athletics at Revolution Park. The partnership created substantial savings for the County. New generation synthetic turf can sustain much more play, in all kinds of weather, than natural grass. Over time synthetic turf pays for itself in savings on mowing, irrigation, fertilization, reseeding, etc.

7. Shining STAR (Socialization Through Awareness & Recreation): Shining STAR is a Park and Rec program for adults 18 and older, who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, head trauma, or cognitive impairments caused by a stroke. The program provides a chance for them to be involved in a variety of recreation, leisure and community-based activities.

Shining STAR is a Park and Rec program for adults 18 and older, who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, head trauma, or cognitive impairments caused by a stroke. The program provides a chance for them to be involved in a variety of recreation, leisure and community-based activities.

8. Invasive Exotic Plant Control Workshop: This program was an 8-hour workshop for more than 75 staff from seven local agencies. It was about the invasion of non-native, exotic plants and animals which are a threat to native biodiversity. Park and Rec led the effort to establish a task force to increase collaboration among these agencies about how to combat this problem. Additional training has been requested, and a second workshop is planned this fall.

This program was an 8-hour workshop for more than 75 staff from seven local agencies. It was about the invasion of non-native, exotic plants and animals which are a threat to native biodiversity. Park and Rec led the effort to establish a task force to increase collaboration among these agencies about how to combat this problem. Additional training has been requested, and a second workshop is planned this fall.

9. Dog Park Enhancements: Since 2002 Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation has built four dog parks with significant improvements as each new one came on line. The department realized the need for a better way to record registrations and other key dog-owner information after having collected registration and vaccination records manually for almost two years. A computerized database program was developed which allows registration, easy access to information on vaccinations as well as communication with pass holders via email. This program is linked to the ACCESS database software program via a computer modem for each dog park location, providing 24-hour real-time information.

Since 2002 Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation has built four dog parks with significant improvements as each new one came on line. The department realized the need for a better way to record registrations and other key dog-owner information after having collected registration and vaccination records manually for almost two years. A computerized database program was developed which allows registration, easy access to information on vaccinations as well as communication with pass holders via email. This program is linked to the ACCESS database software program via a computer modem for each dog park location, providing 24-hour real-time information.

10. Fit City for Fit Families: Fit City for Fit Families is a Web site providing 24-hour-a-day access to nutrition and physical activity resources at no cost to the public. The program has built trust between the community and the Mecklenburg County Health Department by providing an important community service to county residents.

11. Economic Development GIS System: Mecklenburg County’s Economic GIS System is a unique application that provides companies from other areas with a geographic analysis tool online, to assist in site-selection and decision making. The goal is to provide perspective businesses with more and better information than is typically available. Local businesses, contractors, and developers can also use the GIS tool in their business development research.

Mecklenburg County’s Economic GIS System is a unique application that provides companies from other areas with a geographic analysis tool online, to assist in site-selection and decision making. The goal is to provide perspective businesses with more and better information than is typically available. Local businesses, contractors, and developers can also use the GIS tool in their business development research.

12. Learning 2.0: Learning 2.0 was an online, self-discovery program that educated and helped staff explore new technologies and Web 2.0 tools that are changing the way people, society and libraries access information and communicate together. The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s Learning 2.0 program has broken new ground as an innovative staff development program that has benefited staff and the local community, and has also made an impact all over the globe.

Learning 2.0 was an online, self-discovery program that educated and helped staff explore new technologies and Web 2.0 tools that are changing the way people, society and libraries access information and communicate together. The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s Learning 2.0 program has broken new ground as an innovative staff development program that has benefited staff and the local community, and has also made an impact all over the globe.

13. Smokeless Does Not Equal Harmless, Youth Baseball League Initiative: The Smokeless Does Not Equal Harmless project is a sustainable project that given time can help create a spit tobacco-free norm during the tournaments that are held in our local area. The program reached a very targeted demographic of baseball players, coaches and officials. The program coordinator has been given the honor of presenting about the initiative during the national spit tobacco conference in March, 2007.

: The Smokeless Does Not Equal Harmless project is a sustainable project that given time can help create a spit tobacco-free norm during the tournaments that are held in our local area. The program reached a very targeted demographic of baseball players, coaches and officials. The program coordinator has been given the honor of presenting about the initiative during the national spit tobacco conference in March, 2007.

14. Healthy Carolinians Healthy Literacy Pilot Training Project: Research has shown that literacy skills are the number one predictor of health outcomes even when controlling for age, income, education, and race. In response to the research report, a 30minute training was developed to provide an overview of health literacy, train clinic staff on the teach-back method of communication. The training provided concrete examples of how staff, both clinical and administrative can address health literacy in the office.

Research has shown that literacy skills are the number one predictor of health outcomes even when controlling for age, income, education, and race. In response to the research report, a 30minute training was developed to provide an overview of health literacy, train clinic staff on the teach-back method of communication. The training provided concrete examples of how staff, both clinical and administrative can address health literacy in the office.

15. The Gaming Zone: The Gaming Zone has excelled in bringing innovative and one-of-a-kind programming to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community. The events for all ages are extremely successful and popular. Not only did the program meet and exceed its goals, but it added to the quality of programming offered free of charge to Mecklenburg County residents.

The Gaming Zone has excelled in bringing innovative and one-of-a-kind programming to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community. The events for all ages are extremely successful and popular. Not only did the program meet and exceed its goals, but it added to the quality of programming offered free of charge to Mecklenburg County residents.

16. So Much To See, So Much To Do Library Card Campaign: The program promoted intergovernmental cooperation and coordination in addressing shared problems by working with both county-funded and non-county-funded school systems throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area to address the literacy need on our community. There are now many more opportunities for educational opportunities for our community than there were before the start o f the campaign because of the new relationship built between Charlotte-Mecklenburg area school and the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

The program promoted intergovernmental cooperation and coordination in addressing shared problems by working with both county-funded and non-county-funded school systems throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area to address the literacy need on our community. There are now many more opportunities for educational opportunities for our community than there were before the start o f the campaign because of the new relationship built between Charlotte-Mecklenburg area school and the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

17. Fit City Worksite Wellness Program: The Fit City Worksite Wellness Program uses a comprehensive assessment tool to assess the work environment for physical activity and healthy eating. While most programs focus on education and incentives to change behavior, but this program focuses on policy and environmental change to support behavior change.

The Fit City Worksite Wellness Program uses a comprehensive assessment tool to assess the work environment for physical activity and healthy eating. While most programs focus on education and incentives to change behavior, but this program focuses on policy and environmental change to support behavior change.



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