The Transylvania Times -

County Recognized At National Convention – Transylvania County, NC


July 25, 2019

Taking a village to raise a child is nothing compared to the efforts of a whole county. The unique community collaborative, according to a press release, working to make the lives of children better in Transylvania County, Get Set Transylvania, was recognized recently at the national level for Best in Show for programs serving children and youth.

Commissioner Page Lemel and County Manager Jaime Laughter joined over 3,000 county leaders from across the country at the 84th National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference and Exposition, held July 12-15, in Clark County, Nev. NACo is a national advocacy and leadership organization representing the common interests of 3,069 counties, boroughs and parishes throughout the country.

"Being asked to present to my peer county leaders from across the country about how we are approaching our community work to improve early childhood through Get Set Transylvania was a true honor," Lemel said. "The work of the Get Set partners has earned the award we received and is quickly becoming a national model on how to make a meaningful impact through collaborative thinking. I am proud to have been a part of this effort and for the wisdom of our partners to approach community change in a profoundly different way."

Get Set Transylvania prioritizes and aligns the work of more than 22 local entities to improve early childhood outcomes and includes a partnership with Sesame Street in Communities to support parents, caregivers and community providers in their efforts to give all children a strong, healthy start. Lemel was invited to present a session alongside Sesame Street Workshop Vice President Jeanette Betancourt.

Get Set Transylvania was named a Sesame Street in Communities partner in 2018, making it the fourth community nationwide to receive the distinction.

Sesame Street will return to Transylvania County at Halloweenfest in October to celebrate the first year of partnership with the help of Cookie Monster.

North Carolina was represented well at the national event, according to the release. Kay Cashion, a Guilford County commissioner, was recognized for her strong support for the arts throughout her career.

Sig Hutchinson, a Wake County commissioner, participated in a panel focused on healthy lifestyles to discuss the health benefits of providing recreational areas especially in low income areas.

During the North Carolina caucus, Tracey Johnson, a Washington County commissioner, and Ray Jeffers, a Person County commissioner, were reelected to serve on the NACo Board of Directors. The North Carolina delegation also participated in the NACo business meeting, where Mary Ann Borgeson, a Douglas County, Neb., commissioner, was sworn in as NACo's 2019-2020 president.

During the conference, county leaders convened to attend workshops, education sessions and networking to share best practices and discuss common challenges. Attendees also participated in steering committee meetings and official business session meetings to shape federal priorities for the organization and elect its leaders.

Participants explored various topics, including affordable housing, technology, reducing the number of mentally ill individuals in jails, the opioid epidemic, disaster preparedness and recovery and other issues important to counties across the country.

The N.C. Association of County Commissioners is the official voice of all 100 counties on issues being considered by the General Assembly, U.S. Congress and federal and state agencies. For more information, go to


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