Vibrant Social Offerings in a Small Town
January 21, 2016
Love Where You Live
From JoAnn Turnquist:
There are many ways a community can become connected. Its residents can unite by sharing ideas to improve the community and tackling one of the projects together. A community’s residents can also be connected through common interests and passions. Our Connected Communities grants initiative has helped connect residents in a number of communities, resulting in more vibrant places that people are proud to call home.
In this week’s “Love Where You Live Series,” we have the pleasure of hearing from Nancy Cave, Archivist at Clarendon County Archives and History Center. Nancy’s organization received a Connected Communities grant from the Foundation this year to host the traveling Smithsonian exhibit Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America . I hope you enjoy Nancy’s reflections on how this exhibit helped her small town of Manning become better connected through common passion-sports.
Vibrant Social Offerings in a Small Town
By Nancy Cave
Sports are such a large part of our communities and our culture and just as the old saying goes that all politics are local so is our love of sports. It begins in the local community with your little league team, follows you through the High School years under Friday night lights, and continues on to cheering for your favorite college team and wearing the team colors every Saturday afternoon.
In November of 2013, The Clarendon County Historical Society was awarded a grant by the Humanities Council of SC to host the traveling Smithsonian exhibit of Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America as part of the “Museums on Main Street” program. This was a significant honor for Clarendon County and the City of Manning, since only six sites in South Carolina were selected to host this exhibit. One of the goals of the Smithsonian’s Museums on Main Street programs is to bring history and top quality Museum exhibits to smaller towns and communities throughout the Country and what better subject to do that than sports. This exhibit was in Manning from November 3rd to December 12th of 2015. A local exhibit on sports was also at the Clarendon County Historical Society Museum, and both exhibits were free to the public.
Now on to the interesting part: Central Carolina Community Foundation provided funding through their Connected Communities initiative and wanted to know about our “vibrant social offerings”. Wait a minute, this is small town, rural county South Carolina what vibrant social offerings? What connected community? But when we got down to it that is exactly what we found. We found that in planning events and publicizing exhibits we were in fact connecting all the communities in Clarendon County. In our county, we have three distinct school districts and County Council districts. However, despite their differences, we discovered that all of the schools, both public and private, share a passion for sports. Sports are a connection between our diverse communities spread across rural fields in different locations. In addition, we found this connection extended beyond sports and while we may come from different areas, we are all proud to be part of Clarendon County.
Through this project, we learned just how much we could connect our community and involve everyone in activities that would be vibrant, educational, interesting and entertaining. The community discovered that we already had more in common than we realized. We shared a common pride in all being part of a connected community that pulls together to participate in vibrant social offerings. While it took a tremendous amount of planning and work, we learned that it was worth it to showcase our community while offering opportunities for everyone to participate. Wow, what a successful and worthwhile project this turned out to be. Thank You Central Carolina Community Foundation for reminding us to look and see how connected we are and how much we all enjoy and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.