Functioning democracy in our great republic requires the ability to connect in civil
discourse. County Commissioners, staff and the county’s YouthVoice delegate convened with
leadership from across the state in Guildford County for the North Carolina Association of
County Commissioners (NCACC) 112th Annual Conference to engage in just that type of
meaningful dialogue with the conference theme, “Connect Your County.”
“The public commitment to civil discussion and engagement needs to be established
first and foremost at the local level. The NCACC conference is a great example of
representatives from urban and rural, democrat and republican, coming together and focusing
on community issues and how we facilitate that type of civil dialogue. This year also marked
the tenth year that there was a youth delegation convening and, at no time in the history of the
program, has it been more meaningful to see youth learning about local government civics,”
Mike Hawkins, Chair of the Transylvania County Board of Commissioners said.
NCACC Annual Conference offers a youth delegation conference, YouthVoice, with
representatives from across all 100 counties to learn about local government, how to engage in
public service and to interact with county leaders. The Youth Voice Conference is a partnership
between NCACC and 4‐H/North Carolina Cooperative Extension to educate and inspire youth to
engage in local government as leaders. Local Rosman High Student and 4‐H Teen Council
member Josh Kupras applied through the local 4‐H and was selected to participate on behalf of
“The NCACC conference was an amazing event, full of wonderful people and wonderful
ideas. The keynote speaker, Doris Kearns Goodwin, presented a thought‐provoking talk about
Leadership in Turbulent Times, the name of her new book, and signed it for all the
delegates. The workshop True Colors was fun, with laughs going around the table as we
shared our personality results and joked about each others’. At the end of our stay at the
conference, we did the Bottom Line board game, which gave insight into the difficult choices
our commissioners make each day, and how they account for these decisions. It was an
experience I won’t forget,” Kupras said.
The conference featured author Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Leadership in
Turbulent Times, to inspire leaders by covering the leadership styles and setbacks of Presidents
Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. The conference
also featured Transylvania County’s own Commissioner Page Lemel and County Manager Jaime
Laughter as presenters in general session with Sesame Street Workshop Vice President for
Social Impact Jeanette Betancourt on the importance of communities building circles of care to
assure resiliency in children.
“The work of GetSet Transylvania with Sesame Street around early childhood carries a
message that resonates across the state. I am continually proud of the work, collaboration and
dedication of the GetSet partners and it is my honor to be able to have the support of NCACC in
sharing with other communities how Transylvania County has been successful in creating
functioning collective impact work in a rural community. The resiliency and overall health and
wellbeing of our children and youth is the most significant marker of our overall community
health. We are approaching our one year anniversary with Sesame Street and we know the
second year will model for other communities how these partnerships can make a meaningful
difference,” County Commissioner Page Lemel said.
GetSet Transylvania has announced that Walkaround Cookie Monster will be a featured
guest at Halloweenfest 2019 and that toolkits for parents will begin distribution this fall.
Parents and caregivers interested in signing up to receive toolkits can sign up at www.getsettc.