Discover Your Community Day Focuses on County Government and Human Services
White Cloud, MI - A group representing a variety of local businesses and organizations participated in the second Discover Your Community Day on May 20. The event was presented by Fremont Area Community Foundation in partnership with the Fremont Area and River Country chambers of commerce.
The day’s focus was Newaygo County government and human services. The event began in White Cloud at the Newaygo County building complex with introductions of elected officials and county leaders, including new County Administrator Christopher Wren.
“There are phenomenal things happening in this...
...area,” Wren told the group. “The collaboration in this county is blowing my mind.”
Collaboration quickly became one of the themes as participants heard many examples of how agencies work together to make the area stronger. The day also provided a chance to go behind the scenes at several agencies with tours of the jail, Central Dispatch, Commission on Aging, and TrueNorth Community Services.
Even long-time area residents reported learning more about the scope and services offered by local agencies. One such opportunity was a panel discussion on the court system featuring Judge H. Kevin Drake, Judge Graydon Dimkoff, Prosecuting Attorney Robert Springstead, and Trial Court Director/Friend of the Court Ellsworth Stay.
Judge Drake emphasized the importance of residents learning more about their local justice system.
“The judiciary is one-third of your government,” he said. “This is your court system.”
In addition to giving participants an idea of the scope of their work and its challenges, the panelists also spoke about the opportunities it provides to help people.
“This has to be one of the most rewarding jobs in America,” said Judge Dimkoff.
Following the panel presentation, participants boarded a Commission on Aging bus to TrueNorth where they learned more about the services offered. Representatives from Love INC and the Newaygo County Community Collaborative (NC3) provided additional information on how local agencies intersect and work together.
A round of informational “speed dating” gave participants a snapshot of several local agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse Task Force, Headway: Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, and West Michigan Housing Network. Before heading back to White Cloud to finish the day, the group also learned about the Volunteer Resource Center at TrueNorth.
Denise Roesly, who became Executive Director of the Newaygo County Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect in December 2014, said that the event was a great opportunity to connect with local government officials and get more information on resources that could help the people she serves.
“Discover Your Community Day was enlightening,” said Roesly. “Learning about the vast amount of resources Newaygo County has to offer and about community government helped me as an emerging leader to be able to share the knowledge of these resources with parents and others in the community.”
Discover Your Community Days were developed with support from local chambers of commerce and alumni of the Leadership in Newaygo County (LINC) program. The events were designed to give community leaders a broader base of knowledge of Newaygo County, an opportunity to network, and a better sense of area resources and how to get involved.
Future events will concentrate on natural resources, outdoor amenities, health, arts, culture, and local history.