LINC to Our Past Present and FutureBlock Number: 112
“LINC to Our Past, Present and Future”
By Ginger Todd
On Thursday, March 1st the McDowell Technical Community College and the McDowell County Chamber of Commerce hosted Block #112 on the McDowell Quilt Trail. The joint venture revolved around the McDowell LINC program offered yearly to a limited number of participants. LINC, an acronym for Leadership, Involvement, Network, and Community, was initially discussed and planned in 2007 at a Chamber meeting, with the first program put into action in August 2008.
The LINC education program is spear-headed by Shirley Brown, Vice President of McDowell Tech; Rod Birdsong, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce; and Bobbie Young, Coordinator of activities. LINC is described as a “comprehensive leadership development program designed to help participants acquire a better knowledge and awareness of our community and our future.” The goal is for participants to gain insight as to all the many facets there are in maintaining a productive, thriving and successful county. LINC involves all-day education in the workings of such things as Law Enforcement, Environment, Human Services, History, Government and Business, to name a few classes included in the program.
The program is possible through the partnerships of Duke Energy Corporation, City of Marion, McDowell County and McDowell County Schools, all providing generous gifts through funding and materials. The McDowell High School activity bus is used to transport participants to the various locations visited, and each tour, be it of a dairy farm, lake or public offices, provides an opportunity to learn and understand more about our county, encouraging involvement and leadership.
Enrollment forms for LINC will be available mid-summer with a kick-off luncheon in August and orientation program in September. The nine months following each includes a combination of tours, events throughout McDowell County and some classroom discussion. The classes meet the second Wednesday of each month, 8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. October through May, gathering each morning at the parking lot of the Chamber of Commerce. Lunches and snacks are provided, as well as resource materials.
Upon successful completion of the LINC 96-hour program, a Leadership Certificate with the official seals of both the College and Chamber will be presented at a graduation program in June. If applicable, Continuing Education Units will be awarded by McDowell Technical Community College and the North Carolina Department of Community Colleges. One make-up day will be announced if needed. LINC leadership participation is open to the public on a first-come basis and a company or organization may sponsor an employee either by funding the tuition or allowing release time to attend the seminars.
At the end of the year LINC participants choose a project, and “LINC to Our Past, Present and Future” is the result of that project. Mike Lucas, Jack Raker, and Alan Scholl, volunteers of the McDowell Quilt Trail, installed the 6’ x 6’ block. It faces southeast and is viewed on the auditorium entrance wall to McDowell Technical Community College.
The design and colors of the block were discussed and voted upon by the program participants, including input from the College and Chamber. It represents Lake James in the foreground, bordered by mountains and a sky of blue with white clouds in the background. The mountains, in various shades of green, are reflected along with the clouds on the darker shades of blue waters. The entire scene is encircled by chain links representing the continuing strength of community leadership and involvement and incorporating the logo of the LINC application brochure. The four corners of the block are in black, accentuating the golden chain surrounding the mountains and lake.
Jill Lucas, Chairperson of the McDowell Quilt Trail committee, presented a Certificate of Authenticity to LINC participants, and other college and county representatives gathered for the ceremony. Both the Chamber of Commerce and McDowell Tech received a framed copy to display.