Changing the Narrative: Stephanie Metzger's Story
31 Jul 2019
blog, Articles, Community
This is the third article in a series that I am working on during my summer internship at the York County Development Corporation. This series strives to highlight the stories of people who were raised in York County and came back as adults to develop their careers and raise their families. A place can only be as fantastic at its people, which is why the personal histories and current successes of these individuals shows us the true heart of York County.
Changing the Narrative
Stephanie Metzger’s Story
By Sam Redfern, YCDC Intern
Most of the country seems to think small towns are running against the clock to stay afloat but Stephanie Metzger argues that that is not the reality she sees in York County. As Village Clerk and Treasurer, Stephanie has gained a much more optimistic perspective about Bradshaw but also a deeper appreciation for the county that she has lived her entire life in. The metropolitan narrative may be that rural America is dying, but Stephanie is doing her part to ensure that the opposite is taking place.
As a graduate from York High School, York County has always been home for Stephanie. She loved growing up in the City of York, where children were safe enough to have freedom and do their own thing. Her most memorable highlight was the incredible education system. In the sixth grade Stephanie became involved in the Teammates program at York Middle School, which connected her to an adult in the community. This adult, referred to as her mentor, was extremely helpful during her younger years and allowed her to gain a perspective on giving back and being involved in the community. She continued to meet with her mentor through the program until she graduated, and they still keep in touch today. Stephanie said that this guidance was truly lifechanging, a testament to the impressive Teammates program in York and those involved with it.
After such a positive experience throughout school, Stephanie labeled herself as “a lifer”, meaning that York County is where home will always be for her. Although this part of her plan was clear, she did not anticipate moving to Bradshaw and becoming the Village Clerk and Treasurer there. However, she and her husband decided to move with their four kids to the tight-knit community last year. The experience has been extremely rewarding and beneficial for her as a busy mom. She works just two blocks from home and found a daycare provider in the area that has become like family. Apart from personal changes, Stephanie says that the county has transformed over her life here as well. From her perspective, York County has become a people driven place. Community members are more likely to get involved and volunteer their time to make improvements. Although no place is perfect, Stephanie has faith that York County is moving in the right direction with recent housing efforts and she looks forward to seeing more progress across the community. She is also excited to continue working with York County Development Corporation on acquiring new grants and opportunities for other improvements in Bradshaw. In York County, people are willing to go the extra mile for where they call home, which is how a place like Bradshaw defies the national trends and continues to be a thriving community.
When asked “Why York County?”, Stephanie presents a convincing case of reasons. Of course, the appeal of a small community atmosphere, where people ban together and support one another. However, there are also extremely unique reasons that show how special a community like Bradshaw is to Stephanie. Every year the Village Board of Directors hosts a Christmas party for the kids where board members go out and buy each child their own gift. That is the type of support system that fulfills the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. Bradshaw also boasts a great bar, The Bulldog Roadhouse, that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These are the details that create a fantastic quality of life, one that makes Stephanie, and many others, never want to leave. It can be easy to write off towns like Bradshaw but stories like Stephanie’s show why people want to invest in their small towns. Most importantly, she is confident that they have the next generations in place to ensure prosperity for years to come.