For the third time in six years, Dawson County’s government has been recognized for its efforts and efficiency.
Last week, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and Georgia Trend named the county one of six recipients of the annual County Excellence Awards.
The awards were created six years ago to reward counties for developing programs aimed at making local government more efficient and enhancing residents’ quality of life.
County Manager Kevin Tanner said he was excited the county’s Building Educated Students for Tomorrow program, a collaborative with the local school system that introduces ninth-graders to their local government, was selected.
“So many of our kids coming out of school have very little interest in national, state or local politics,” he said. “They don’t understand them. They’re not interested.”
Tanner said that generational gap made him look for ways to change the mind-set.
When he was unsuccessful in finding an established program that fit his vision, he sat down with school officials and created B.E.S.T.
Taught by elected officials and county employees, the 25-day program explores local government operations, as well as introduces students to various government facilities such as the law enforcement center, fire stations and court proceedings.
“The school system has been very helpful in partnering with us,” Tanner said.
According to the county’s Government and Community Affairs Director Cathy Brooks, B.E.S.T. gives students a better understanding of how their lives are affected by government.
“The primary objective is for each student to find his or her role in the community,” she said.
Mike Berg, chairman of the county commission, said he was “elated” the county had been recognized for its work in communications, “especially with young adults, our future leaders.”
The county was previously recognized in 2007 for its collaboration with the local Adult Learning Center and again in 2009 for the “In Touch with your Dawson County Government” communication program.
This year’s award will be presented at the association’s annual meeting in April.