National Association of Counties
Washington, D.C.


 NCGM Award program winners announced

By Jim Philipps

For the second year, NACo has recognized counties for their outstanding efforts to celebrate National County Government Month (NCGM). Six counties are being honored for conducting effective public awareness programs and events this past April to educate residents about the important functions of their county government.

A team of communications professionals from the National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO),  a NACo affiliate organization, judged the award applications.

The 2012 NCGM Award program winners are:

  • First Place (Rural Category) – Wicomico County, Md. “Building Bridges, Building Communities”
  • Second Place (Rural Category) – Eagle County, Colo. “Healthy Living in Eagle County”
  • First Place (Suburban Category) – Manatee County, Fla. “Manatee County Government Celebrates Healthy Counties, Healthy Families Month”
  • Second Place (Suburban Category) – Durham County, N.C. “Durham County Health and Wellness Education Fair”
  • First Place (Metropolitan Category) – El Paso County, Colo. “El Paso County Celebrates Healthy Counties, Healthy Families and Student Art Event,” and
  • Second Place (Metropolitan Category) – DeKalb County, Ga. “2012 CEO’s Community Hero’s Award, Lunch and Learn Series and Renewable Natural Gas Facility Ribbon Cutting.”

The first-place-winning counties received two free conference registrations to any future NACo conference, including this month’s Annual Conference to be held July 13–17 in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa., and the second-place-winning counties received one free conference registration. All counties that entered received certificates of appreciation from NACo.

NCGM, celebrated each April, is NACo’s signature public awareness initiative.

Wicomico County, Md.

This was the first time Wicomico County participated in NCGM. Activities included a proclamation; public service announcements on several radio stations; fact sheets, posts on the county executive’s Facebook page; invitations to attend County Government Day during the annual budget meeting; several community forum presentations around the county hosted by the county executive; library events such as “Healthy Cooking, Healthy Families;” health department Lunch-n-Learn events; public works facility tours to showcase recycling and methane collection functions; law enforcement displays of emergency vehicles, and updates on the county’s website to highlight NCGM and showcase photos of current county employees.

Eagle County, Colo.

Eagle County hosted a variety of events and activities surrounding the theme “Healthy Living in Eagle County.” Events included an Earth Day poster contest; an essay contest for high school students; presentations by Eagle County Public Health and Colorado State University Extension; parade celebrations honoring Week of the Young Child; and a 5k fun run-walk, breakfast and provider fair.

The healthy breakfast foods were donated by local (Colorado) companies, including Noosa Yoghurt, Boulder Granola, and LARABAR. The resource fair featured nearly 30 family-youth service providers from throughout the county, and included free lead screenings for children, car seat checks and CPR-AED training.

Manatee County, Fla.

Manatee County Government, Manatee County Health Department and the Manatee County Clerk of Court’s office hosted more than 50 events to focus on five parameters of health including physical, social, behavioral, environmental and economic health. Events included a Torch Run sponsored by Manatee Sheriff’s Office, a Health Department Farm Stand, a Knee Pain workshop, a horseshoe tournament, many classes and learning opportunities on topics such as water conservation, physical activity, disease prevention and healthy eating, along with several Relay for Life Events.

Manatee County used the health emphasis to promote a regional fitness challenge when One Bay hosted the Walk to the Moon Challenge which urged businesses and community groups throughout Tampa Bay to join in walking 238,857 miles — the distance from earth to the moon — during the month.

Durham County, N.C.

Durham County Government hosted a lunchtime Health and Wellness Fair; the health department had a booth about smoking cessation that informed citizens about the county’s upcoming enforcement of a smoking ordinance to create smoke-free zones; Cooperative Extension provided nutrition and 4-H Program booths; 70–80 people including county employees and local college students took part in a “flash mob” to promote healthy movement;  the county manager highlighted a goal of the county strategic plan: Health and Well-being for All; and a nutritionist shared how much movement people should strive to complete each week to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

El Paso County, Colo.

El Paso County celebrated the “Healthy Counties, Healthy Families” theme with a month-long series of events specifically designed to showcase “good for your health” programs and activities.

Events included a third-grade art contest; a free public health education program in partnership with Kaiser Permanente; a household hazardous waste collection day; a family-centered hiking event; a lunch-and-learn program for county employees; a child abuse prevention and child trauma educational event in partnership with Northwestern University; a water stewardship day that included water-consuming invasive plant removal and water-wise garden preparation also, a community recycling and cleanup event; a free community health event featured information and healthy local food as well as a feature presentation of a documentary film “Children in Crisis” that focused on the damaging effects of childhood obesity. 

DeKalb County, Ga.

Hosted in partnership with the Champion Newspaper, the CEO’s Community Hero Awards ceremony honored individuals and organizations making a significant impact in DeKalb County through volunteerism. In honor of NCGM, DeKalb County designated the Vanguard Award in 2011 to recognize an individual or organization whose contributions most exemplify the NCGM theme as established by NACo each year.

The Lunch and Learn series consisted of five sessions focused on physical, mental or financial health and included sessions such as Mind, Body and Spirit, looked at the role each element played in the losing weight; Financial Peace of Mind — Manage Your Money, which covered the principles of money management; and Healthy Children, Low Cost Insurance, provided information on low-cost health insurance for children and application assistance to qualified applicants.

All of the winning entries used various promotional, media relations and social media strategies to promote their ambitious NCGM activities.

To read the full NCGM Awards program entries and see how these counties effectively planned, promoted and executed their NCGM celebrations, visit


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