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2022 National County Government Month: Counties THRIVE

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    2022 National County Government Month: Counties THRIVE

    Quick Resources
    • Logos
    • Sample Proclamation
    • Media Relations Guide
    • Social Media Resources
    • "I Love My County Because" Art Contest
    • My County Works Activity Book
    • iCivics & Counties Work
    • Counties Matter
    • County Explorer

    National County Government Month (NCGM), held each April, is an annual celebration of county government. Since 1991, the National Association of Counties has encouraged counties to actively promote the services and programs they offer. Counties can schedule activities any time during the month. NCGM is an excellent opportunity for your county to highlight effective county programs and raise public awareness and understanding about the various services provided to the community.

    The coronavirus pandemic highlights the importance of county government. Counties are on the front lines protecting our communities from coronavirus and other illnesses that have the potential to become a pandemic. Counties support over 900 hospitals and operate over 1,900 public health departments, which are the ground troops in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Local health departments are working to protect public health by communicating with transportation officials, educating health care providers and communicating to the public best practices to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.

    Questions?

    If you have questions about National County Government Month, please contact Brian Namey at BNamey@NACo.org or 202.942.4220.

    https://player.vimeo.com/video/668788306?h=332124c977

    Presidential Message & Theme

    Dear Fellow County Leader,

    There is no better time than National County Government Month (NCGM) in April to educate our citizens on the importance of county government and how we touch their lives every day. And now more than ever, the public is seeing firsthand the essential functions counties perform.

    Through our tireless efforts and the critical services we provide to our residents, we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and saving lives and livelihoods. All across the country, counties provide meals to the hungry; help small businesses that are struggling; provide vital care, testing and vaccinations; and protect the safety, health and vitality of our communities. While we still face many challenges, we have much to be proud of. Selfless county officials and frontline employees have demonstrated bold, inspirational leadership, driving recovery and helping our residents and communities THRIVE.

    Under my presidential theme, Counties THRIVE, we are focusing on six areas that fortify what we do and allow us to best serve our residents:

    • Technology – equipping counties to expand broadband access to ensure all residents can learn, do business and communicate effectively
    • Health – improving our overall health and well-being
    • Readiness – preparing the county workforce to gain the skills they need
    • Infrastructure – strengthening resilience and the backbone of our communities
    • Vulnerable communities – advancing equity, strengthening the safety net and ensuring that our residents have the help they need
    • Economic opportunities – creating conditions for all of us to compete in the 21st century economy.

    During NCGM, we have an opportunity to focus on our work to help our communities THRIVE. Now is the time to spotlight your county’s role in achieving successes at the local level and to educate the public about how counties provide real support, identifying challenges on the ground and pursuing real solutions.

    We hope that you will nominate some of your best county initiatives for our Achievement Awards program. This helps us promote your accomplishments and share your proven practices with all NACo members. With my focus on broadband, we would especially welcome any innovative solutions to meeting your county’s broadband challenges. The deadline to apply is March 31. Learn more and apply today at www.NACo.org/AchievementAwards.

    We encourage you to continue to showcase how your county is keeping residents healthy and safe, and invite you to use NACo’s National County Government Month resources to celebrate your accomplishments and highlight how counties help to improve people’s lives every day.

    The Hon. Larry Johnson
    NACo President
    Commissioner, DeKalb County, Ga.

     

    Getting Started

    National County Government Month (NCGM) is an annual celebration of county government held each April. Since 1991, the National Association of Counties has encouraged our members to actively promote county services and programs. Counties can schedule activities any time during the month. NCGM is an excellent opportunity for your county to highlight effective county programs and raise public awareness and understanding about the various services provided to the community. Here are a few ideas on how to get started:

    Establish a Planning Committee

    The committee will plan, organize and coordinate all activities related to NCGM. Committee members should include representatives from the county board, administration, school system and each county department. Additionally, a public information officer or county official experienced in media relations should be included. Consider including a county extension service representative. This could be a staff member, 4-H volunteer or 4-H member. All areas of county government and schools should be involved in the planning process.

    Decide How Extensive Your Activities Will Be

    Plan activities throughout the month or organize just a few featured events. Hold fun, interactive and informative activities to reach different segments of your community, including students, educators, senior citizens, young families, business leaders and community organizations. Activities should be designed to bring residents to county facilities such as the courthouse, parks, public safety building, public health department or a recycling/waste transfer station. Activities can be planned to deploy county officials to locations where residents are already assembled. Suggestions for activities such as open houses and public tours are described elsewhere in this booklet.

    Involve the Media

    Be sure members of the local news media are aware of NCGM and the activities your committee has planned. Consider involving a member of the news media in the planning process. Media outreach tips are described elsewhere in this guide. The following pages will provide you and your planning committee several ideas on what to include in your county’s celebration of NCGM.

    Join NACo's Untold Stories Campaign

    Counties are investing in local priorities through the American Rescue Plan Act's Recovery Fund. Join the Untold Stories campaign to share your efforts. Visit NACo.org/UntoldStories to share how your county is investing in local priorities and access resources to share your story with local audiences.

    Counties Matter

    National County Government Month offers an opportunity to educate residents about county programs, services and responsibilities. It is also an opportunity to promote county priorities. In short, it’s an opportunity to tell the public that Counties Matter.

    As part of NCGM, prepare and distribute county fact sheets. Some counties roll out a “County Fact of the Day” or distribute fact sheets representing key county departments, such as public safety, parks and recreation, public works and health. Promote facts and information many residents do not know about but need to know.

    Send the fact sheets to the media, post them on the county website and distribute via social media. Fact sheets can highlight county services and programs provided by your county. Examples include:

    Children and Families

    How many children, senior citizens or veterans received county services last year?

    Does your county support a child mentoring program or local food bank?

    How is your county investing in early childhood development?

    Emergency Response, Public Safety and Justice

    How many trained emergency responders are employed by the county?

    How many trained volunteer emergency responders serve the county?

    How many emergency calls were responded to last year?

    How many bookings were processed at the county jail last year?

    What is the daily average jail population?

    Health & Hospitals

    How many patients were served last year at county hospitals and clinics?

    How many health department inspections were conducted last year?

    How many vaccinations were administered last year?

    How many emergency room visits were made last year?

    How many nursing homes are in the county?

    How many county residents have health insurance?

    Older Americans

    How many seniors did your county serve last year?

    How does your county support caregivers?

    Does your county have programs to assist residents with mobility challenges?

    Economy & Employment

    How many people are unemployed in the county?

    What is the average county wage?

    How many residents received direct job training or unemployment services last year?

    How many businesses have been added to the county? How many new jobs have they brought in?  

    Veterans Services

    How many veterans are in your county?

    How does your county serve veterans in your community?

    NACo’s online interactive County Explorer tool is an excellent source of data on every county, parish and borough in America. It includes county and state-specific profiles on issues such as transportation infrastructure, public lands and forest management, community development and others.

    • Go to Counties Matter
    • Access the County Explorer

    Open the County to the Public

    A great way to educate residents about county services is inviting them to visit county facilities for an open house or public tour. While maintaining social distancing prevents in-person conveninings, use technology to open your county to the public.

    Offer In-Person or Virtual Tours

    Be sure to keep the public informed of what’s happening on the front lines. Stream meetings over your social media outlets and other digital platforms or offer virtual tours of meeting spaces.

    Encourage Volunteerism

    Inform residents of how they can help and what communities or businesses in your county they can offer aid to. During the pandemic, many volunteer programs struggled to meet new demands and continue to modify their practices so residents are able to volunteer safely.

    School Involvement

    Be sure to include schools in your National County Government Month activities to enable students to begin learning about county government.

    Counties Work online game and My County Works activity book

    NACo’s civic education resources provide perfect opportunities to inform young people about county government and have fun at the same time.

    Developed in partnership with iCivics, the “Counties Work” online educational game and the downloadable “My County Works” activity book for young children are great activities individuals can enjoy from their homes.

    The game educates students (and adults) about local government functions by letting them run their own county. Along the way, they will learn about the many services provided by county departments while having to balance citizen requests and budgets.

    The “My County Works” activity book offers hours of education and entertainment for elementary students.

    Both resources are free and accessible at NACo.org/iCivics.

    Contact: Ariana O’Rourke, Aorourke@naco.org, 202.661.8824

    • LEARN MORE ABOUT COUNITES WORK & iCIVICS

    In an effort to bolster civic education and educate communities on the role of county government, the National Association of Counties (NACo) is launching the “I Love My County Because” art contest in conjunction with National County Government Month.

    NACo and county leaders are spreading the word about county roles and responsibilities, which are often unknown or misunderstood. By inviting children and young adults ages 18 and under to create artwork for the 2023 “Counties Matter” calendar, NACo hopes to raise awareness about programs and services that impact people’s lives every day.

    Winning artwork will be featured in a NACo calendar, which will be distributed to NACo members nationwide. Winners will also be announced in NACo’s flagship publication, County News, and their artwork will be displayed at NACo’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    • Learn more

    Call Your Members of Congress

    National County Government Month is an ideal time to discuss national policy issues affecting county government with members of Congress who represent your county.

    During NCGM, schedule a call with your congressional representative(s) or key staff in your congressional district office. Use the call to explain the great challenges facing your county and how Congress can help.

    Many important issues are being debated nationally that affect counties. Be prepared with facts and information about how specific federal issues affect your county. Know where your member of Congress stands on important issues and on which committees he or she serves. Your message should be focused, compelling and relevant. To find out about NACo’s 2020 Legislative Priorities and obtain fact sheets on current national issues important to counties, visit the advocacy section of the website.

    Contact: Mark Ritacco, mritacco@naco.org, 202.942.4240

    • Advocacy Resources

    Sample Proclamation

    National County Government Month - April 2022

    "Counties THRIVE"

    WHEREAS, the nation’s 3,069 counties serving more than 315 million Americans provide essential services to create healthy, safe and vibrant communities; and

    WHEREAS, counties provide health services, administer justice, keep communities safe, foster economic opportunities and much more; and

    WHEREAS, [INSERT YOUR COUNTY’S NAME] and all counties take pride in our responsibility to protect and enhance the health, wellbeing and safety of our residents in efficient and cost-effective ways; and

    WHEREAS, under the leadership of National Association of Counties President Larry Johnson, NACo is demonstrating how “Counties THRIVE,” especially in supporting residents and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic; and 

    WHEREAS, each year since 1991 the National Association of Counties has encouraged counties across the country to elevate awareness of county responsibilities, programs and services; and

    WHEREAS, [INSERT COUNTY SPECIFIC INFO TO HIGHLIGHT]

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT I, [INSERT NAME & TITLE OF CHIEF ELECTED OFFICIAL], do hereby proclaim April 2022 as National County Government Month and encourage all county officials, employees, schools and residents to participate in county government celebration activities.

    Download

    Media Resources Kit

    This is your one-stop online shop for NCGM design templates to produce your county’s own posters, flyers, banners, proclamations and buttons.

    These additions are sure to enhance the festive atmosphere of your NCGM events. Plenty of space is available for you to add your county’s seal or unique county government month slogan or message. If you find something you want to use, download the file and add your county’s local touch.

    NACo Media Relations Guide for Counties

    The NACo Media Relations Guide for Counties contains helpful tips on speaking with reporters, writing news releases, planning press conferences, and much more.

    • Learn more

    Media Relations Strategies

    Careful planning is essential to maximize public awareness of National County Government Month activities and the county services and programs you are highlighting. Here are effective ways to help secure positive news media coverage.

    Educate the Media

    Inform local reporters, editors and broadcasters early and often about NCGM and your county’s plans to celebrate it.

    Plan to make News

    Coordinate newsworthy events or announcements. You can launch new initiatives, announce plans for new programs or recognize county employees for their excellent public service. Keep in mind that newspapers seek in-depth facts, television stations want good visuals and radio reporters want snappy sounds bites. All reporters seek good stories. They want access to knowledgeable and articulate sources to make their stories interesting and informative.

    Publish a Calendar of Events

    Publish a calendar of NCGM events on your county’s website. Ask the local newspapers to publish the calendar. Ask the local television, cable and radio stations to air public service announcements about county services or events.

    Write Media Advisories

    Prepare and send media notices well in advance for specific NCGM events. Describe who, what, where, when and why. Make it newsworthy.

    Write News Releases

    Have news releases ready to distribute to the media the day of special NCGM events. Highlight what’s new, beneficial and cost-effective. Use lively, concise quotes from appropriate county officials. Provide contact information.

    Take Your Message to the Media

    Actively engage with media to deliver the message that counties matter. All counties, regardless of size, can hold virtual press conferences, media tours of county facilities and programs, and effectively pitch reporters, editors and producers. As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and drive recovery in our communities, now is a critical time to amplify your message through the power of the media. Utilize NACo’s COVID-19 communications toolkit, and access press release, media advisory and op-ed templates.

    INSERT YOUR COUNTY’S LETTERHEAD

    CONTACT: Bea Candid
    (123) 456-7890
    bcandid@ablecounty.gov

    Able County to Celebrate National County Government Month
    Leaders to highlight county innovations in public health and safety, justice, other county programs

    Everytown, USA (April 1, 2022) — Able County will celebrate National County Government Month (NCGM) during the month of April to showcase how the county achieves healthy, safe and vibrant communities.

    The theme for this year’s celebration of NCGM is “Counties THRIVE,” demonstrating how counties help to improve people’s lives every day, especially for local government workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

    This year we continue NACo’s “I Love My County Because” art contest. This is an opportunity for children and young adults ages 18 and under to create artwork during NCGM for NACo’s 2023 “Counties Matter” calendar. For a full list of eligibility criteria, rules and submission guidelines, visit www.naco.org/ncgm.

    Featured NCGM events include virtual tours of Able County’s government center and how we provide essential services for our residents. Commissioners and department heads will showcase housing centers and hospitals throughout the month of April. The popular “Able County Family Day” will be held virtually on XXX, 2022, which will showcase essential county programs and resources.

    “Able County is proud of the programs and services we provide to our residents,” said Board Chair Tim Timmons. “Our efforts combined with efforts of counties across the country are helping American communities respond to public health needs. I encourage all county residents to participate in National County Government Month outreach events to learn how the county can assist you and your loved ones.”

    Since 1991 the National Association of Counties (NACo) has encouraged counties across the country to raise public awareness and understanding about the roles and responsibilities of counties.

    Able County NCGM public events include:
    [INSERT COUNTY SPECIFIC INFO TO HIGHLIGHT].

    A full listing of NCGM events is available at: www.ablecounty.gov.

    Download

    Social Media Resources

    The emergence of social media in recent years provides tremendous opportunities to promote your NCGM events. If you already have a Facebook or Twitter account, use it to promote county government month activities. Coordinate a county government month “social media team” to plan social media outreach efforts.

    Sample Social Media Posts

    • April is National #County Government Month and this year's theme is "Counties THRIVE." [INSERT COUNTY SPECIFIC INFO TO HIGHLIGHT] #NCGM
    • To celebrate National County Government Month, check out the @NACoTweets "My County Works" activity book for elementary students, created in partnership with @icivics. Download your copy today #NCGM #CountiesWork http://www.naco.org/icivics
    • To celebrate National County Government Month, play the @NACoTweets @iCivics #CountiesWork game, an online game where anyone can simulate the important roles and functions of #county leaders www.NACo.org/iCivics #TeachLocal #NCGM
    • #Counties deliver vital services to residents - [INSERT SPECIFIC COUNTY INFO TO HIGHLIGHT] #NCGM
    • #Counties are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, operating over 1,900 public health departments and nearly 1,000 hospitals, facilitating critical infrastructure and responsibly investing federal recovery funds. To learn more, visit NACo.org/coronavirus #NCGM
    • #Counties serve nearly every American every day. Urban, suburban and rural — counties work to keep our communities healthy, safe and vibrant. To learn more, visit www.NACo.org/CountiesMatter #NCGM
    • #Counties employ 3.6 million people and serve 315 million residents. To learn more, visit www.NACo.org/CountiesMatter #NCGM
    • #Counties own and maintain 44% of our nation's road miles and 38% of our nation's bridges, and are involved in 78% of public transport systems and the operation of 34% of public airports. To learn more, visit www.NACo.org/CountiesMatter #NCGM
    • #Counties operate 91% of all local jails and invest over $35B in 3,041 police and sheriffs' departments and nearly $93B total in justice and public safety services, including 911 call centers. To learn more, visit www.NACo.org/CountiesMatter #NCGM

    Share Your County's Untold Story

    Untold Stories Social Media Resources

     

    [Your County] has been on the front lines of the #COVID19. Our work has had a real impact on the lives and livelihoods or our residents, particularly our most vulnerable.

    Post

     

    As [your county] continues to respond to the pandemic, we are focused on serving the needs of our residents. They come first. Together, will tell the county story.

    Post

     

    [Your County] is ensuring all residents have access to the #COVID19 vaccine. [Insert county story / example].

    Post
     

    Throughout the pandemic, we have supported our most vulnerable residents. [Insert county story / example].

    Post

     

    #CountiesMatter in transportation & infrastructure. [County project] has connected our residents to critical services.

    Post
     

    #Counties are driving the recovery across the country. [County program] is supporting jobs & small businesses in our community.

    Post

     

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    Contact: Coleman Davis, cdavis@naco.org, 202.661.8834

    NACo Programs Help Counties Help Communities

    The National Association of Counties has many programs and initiatives available to assist counties.

    Below is a snapshot of some of NACo’s programs designed to help counties thrive. If your county participates in any of these programs, National County Government Month is an excellent opportunity to inform the public about them. If your county does not participate in any of these programs, consider involving your county in one or more of NACo’s programs and announce it during NCGM.

    COVID-19 Recovery Clearinghouse

    The NACo COVID-19 Recovery Clearinghouse features critical resources for counties, including allocation estimations, examples of county programs using federal coronavirus relief funds, the latest news and more.

    • Access Clearinghouse
    • ARPA Fiscal Recovery Fund Resource Hub

    Contacts: Teryn Zmuda, TZmuda@naco.org, 202.661.8821 | Eryn Hurley, EHurley@naco.org, 202.942.4204

    Resilient Economies and Communities

    To help counties implement innovative and effective local programs, NACo provides members with information, trainings and assistance to engage counties and multi-sector partners bound by a common interest in growing stronger, more competitive, more equitable counties and communities. The Resilient Economies and Communities practice area supports county leaders seeking to develop and implement creative, innovative, locally driven strategies that will foster economic growth and ensure long-term county resiliency.

    Topics within this practice area include:

    • Economic opportunity and diversification
    • Entrepreneurship and small business development
    • Workforce development
    • Infrastructure and transportation investments
    • Land use planning
    • Water resource protection and restoration
    • Renewable energy planning, development and management
    • Disaster mitigation, preparedness and response, and
    • Eco-efficient purchasing and facility management.

    Contact: Jennifer Kuiper, JKuiper@naco.org, 202.942.4253

    Prescription, Health and Dental Discount Program

    The National Association of Counties (NACo) Live Healthy Prescription, Health & Dental Discount Program is a NO-COST program available to all member counties. It provides relief to uninsured and underinsured Americans who face growing health costs offering three ways to save:

    • Prescription Drug Discount Card - Provides savings up to 80 percent* on generics and up to 40 percent* on brand-name prescription medications for residents and their pets
    • Health Discount Program - Includes a 24/7 telemedicine service and access to discounts on vision care, LASIK & PRK vision procedures, hearing aids & screenings, prepaid lab work, prepaid diagnostic imaging and diabetic supplies for $5.95/month or $59/year for individuals; $7.95/month or $69/year for families*
    • Dental Discount Program - Discounts on most dental procedures, including check-ups, cleanings, x-rays, fillings, root canals, extractions and dentures for $5.95/month or $59/year for individuals; $7.95/month or $69/year for families*
    • MinuteClinic Savings - Save 15% at the medical walk-in clinic located in select CVS Pharmacy© Stores using the Live Healthy Prescription Discount Card

    Since 2004, nearly 1,300 counties, parishes and boroughs joined, saving residents over $725 million over 51 million prescriptions. The Live Healthy Program is NOT insurance.

    NACo provides all marketing resources AT NO COST to participating counties through a self-service portal. Access digital and printed resources on demand to promote the program to the residents. County Live Healthy contacts have been given access to the self-service portal. 

    Contact: NACo Membership Team, LiveHealthy@naco.org, 202.661.8832

    *Prescription savings may vary by drug and pharmacy; discounts are only available at participating pharmacies. Health and dental discounts are subject to coverage and are available in every state except Washington. MinuteClinic discounts are available in 33 states and the District of Columbia

    Contact: NACo Membership Team, LiveHealthy@naco.org, 202.661.8832
     
    *Prescription savings may vary by drug and pharmacy; discounts are only available at participating pharmacies. Health and dental discounts are subject to coverage and are available in every state except Washington. MinuteClinic discounts are available in 33 states and the District of Columbia

    Smart Justice Initiative

    The Smart Justice Initiative aims to build knowledge and capacity for successful justice policies and practices among the nation’s counties and provide a closer examination of the need for intergovernmental collaboration and public private partnerships in an effort to create safer communities and invest taxpayer resources more effectively. Issues include pre-trial services, post-release service coordination, justice and mental health collaboration, supportive housing, and employment.

    Contact: Nastassia Walsh, nwalsh@naco.org, 202.942.4289

    Stepping Up Initiative

    In May 2015, NACo, the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation launched Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails. Since then, more than 500 counties have joined the initiative.

    Stepping Up participants receive a resources toolkit to assist with efforts, including webinars, networking calls, online tools, peer exchanges, conference workshops and a comprehensive resource library. Find out more and join the initiative at www.StepUpTogether.org.

    Contact: Nastassia Walsh, nwalsh@naco.org, 202.942.4289

    Healthy Counties Initiative

    NACo launched the Healthy Counties Initiative in 2011 to enhance public-private partnerships in local health delivery, improve individual and community health and assist counties in implementing federal health reform. The initiative engages county officials and private sector partners to:

    • Fulfill a leadership role in implementing health reform at the county level
    • Enhance coverage, access to and coordination of health care for vulnerable populations in the community, including health services in hospitals, community health centers and county jails, while focusing on cost-containment strategies
    • Promote community public health, prevention and wellness programs, including increased physical activity and healthy eating
    • Participate in the national transition to health information technology and telemedicine, and
    • Offer information, ideas and solutions for county government employee and retiree health benefits and programs.

    Contact: Nastassia Walsh, nwalsh@naco.org, 202.942.4289

    Nationwide Retirement Solutions

    NACo’s Defined Contribution and Retirement Services Program offers county employees a voluntary, tax-deferred savings opportunity to supplement employer-sponsored retirement plans. It also offers a 401(a) match and stand-alone defined contribution plans. Since NACo’s partnership with Nationwide began, we’ve helped more than 1.5 million county employees and retirees save billions of dollars for retirement. 

    April is National County Government Month! Use this toolkit to celebrate your accomplishments and highlight how counties help to improve people’s lives every day.
    2022-01-25
    Reports & Toolkits
    2022-04-01

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