Cowan Community Center (Cowan Community Action Group, Inc.)
Cowan Community Center’s mission is to provide educational, social, and cultural activities for the entire community in order to strengthen and sustain a wholesome and healthy lifestyle that encourages intergenerational relationships. It has a history of over 50 years serving the community, organizing a vast array of activities, and offering rental facility for events. It’s current programming includes Grow Appalachia and the annual Cowan Creek Mountain Music School.
Cowan Community Center’s mission is to provide educational, social, and cultural activities for the entire community in order to strengthen and sustain a wholesome and healthy lifestyle that encourages intergenerational relationships. It has a history of over 50 years serving the community, and participants always vary. A few have been with it for many, many years, but new members come in as they become aware of what the Center is and does. It provides a vast array of activities, some ongoing and long standing programs, and serves as a rental facility for family gatherings, birthday parties, showers, weddings, meetings, and multiple other purposes. Notably, it is a Community Center that is owned, managed, and sustained by the Cowan Community.
Since the Center started over 50 years ago in an abandoned 3-room school, square dances have been a part of its history. Pie-suppers and community suppers were always and still are an integral part of its being. We often laugh about the fact that we can’t come into the building without having something to eat. The dances are also legendary, even though they are not held here on a regular basis at this time. They are, however; a big part of the annual Cowan Creek Mountain Music School. Currently, the Center is making an effort to participate and promote more healthy eating choices as a result of the Center’s very successful Grow Appalachia Program. It has always promoted gardening and using vegetables, with even having bought a tractor back in the early 70’s for the use of participants who wanted to do gardening or farming. In 2007, the Center won the Governor’s Folk Art Award for our role in promoting dance and other forms of traditional mountain music, so food and dance are definitely a part of our history and part of who we still are.
We welcome local participation through encouraging them to attend our monthly planning meetings, sending ideas through facebook, or other means, and we definitely try to engage them in planned events and activities. Visitors are always made to feel welcome and feel like they are part of our family. We do consider ourselves all a family at the Cowan Community Center.
We hope to be able to sustain our current status, increase growth when possible by finding new grants or new opportunities for added programs or services, and to know that when those of us who have led it for many years leave it, there will be those ready to assume leadership and carry it forward.