Mebane Foundation Provides Free Fridays at COGNITION

By Jeanna Baxter White

Hadley Clendenin (3) “rides” a John Deere tractor into the agricultural exhibit.

Catherine (3) says she wants to be a doctor. James (5) wants to “build like daddy.” 

COGNITION meets both of their interests,” said their mom, Katie Sanders. “ It offers wonderful hands-on activities and keeps the kids away from screen time which we try to limit. We feel very fortunate that the community chose to invest in this space for our children and future children.” 

“It’s nice to have something in the area for children to do, particularly on rainy days,” said Christiana Day who brought her three-year-old daughter, Hadley.

Kids Can Get Hands-On

Initially built through a community-wide capital campaign, the interactive learning space in downtown Mocksville offers nearly 5,000 square feet of interactive exhibits for ages nine and under.  A farm-to-table theme takes children from the farm to the market to shopping for a balanced plate and preparing it in the food truck. From sewing garments to laying bricks, to investigating slides under the microscope, children get a basic introduction to some of the industries in Davie County.  Downstairs, a hands-on makerspace allows ages 10 and up to craft, tinker, and create. Admission is $5 per person for the upstairs exhibit area, with separate admission for the makerspace.

Sanders and Day represent two of the 11 families who took advantage of the first Free Fridays event held at the museum on June 11th. Sponsored by a grant from the Mebane Foundation, the program allows children ages 0-7 to visit the upstairs museum free of charge. Catherine, James, and Hadley were three of the 25 children who enjoyed the opportunity. 

Free Fridays

“With COVID-19 hitting when it did, basically simultaneously with the opening of COGNITION, we thought a small injection of Foundation funds would ease the financial burden for families, thus “Free Fridays” was born,” said Mebane Foundation President Larry Colbourne. 

“COGNITION’s vision to help children play, learn, and grow through hands-on, interactive experiences complements our mission to support early transformative learning opportunities,” said Colbourne. “Research shows that play is one of the most important aspects of a child’s life. It promotes healthy physical and emotional development as well as critical thinking skills which are essential for success in school and in life.”  

“Free Fridays are a wonderful opportunity for COGNITION to reach more families and show them everything we have to offer,” said Jessica Huyett, COGNITION site coordinator. “There truly is something here for everyone, I even caught some of the parents laughing and playing with the exhibits! Most of the families who took advantage of Free Friday said they would definitely be coming back and telling all their friends as well. We are so grateful for the support of the Mebane Foundation and everything they do to support the children in our community.”

Activities for All Age Groups

The Mebane Foundation also recognizes and supports the value COGNITION offers for older students. 

“COGNITION has partnered with local industry to put on Camp COGNITION: Cardboard Engineering. The camp highlights engineering-type skills and fosters creativity and collaboration. This is a program the Mebane Foundation will throw some support behind as well! I hope the community will take advantage of this cool opportunity”

Huyett explained the two different camps that are being made possible through Ashley Furniture Industries, which donated the tools and supplies. Four one-week sessions will be offered beginning June 21-24. Rising 2nd – 4th graders will get to design and construct a life-sized train set while rising 5th – 8th graders will design and construct a full-size functional mini-golf course. 

“What I want people to understand about Camp COGNITION: Cardboard Engineering is that it isn’t just cutting and duct-taping cardboard together. At camp, we will be following the engineering design process to plan and design what either the train set or mini-golf course will look like. Campers will then learn methods of cutting, bending, and fastening using safe tools to fabricate their design.”

“Critical thinking skills are essential for lifelong success. Our goal is to help children develop those skills while they are young through hands-on problem solving,” explained Cammie Webb, chair of COGNITION’s board of directors.

“This camp is a GREAT opportunity for kids to exercise their brains this summer while having a blast!” added Huyett. “Your children will discover a love for creating, learn basic engineering and design methods, practice teamwork and collaboration, and gain tools for the future. You don’t want to miss out!” 

How to Register for Camps

To register for Camp COGNITION visit or stop by the museum.

COGNITION is open Wednesday-Friday with a morning session from 9:30-11:30 and an afternoon session from 1:30-3:30. There is an additional morning session on Saturdays from 9:30-11:30. The museum is making every effort to keep visitors safe as they begin to reopen. An air scrubber was installed thanks to a donation from Davie Community Foundation and exhibits are thoroughly cleaned after each session.

Advanced registration is required for all activities so check out the calendar page on the website at to reserve your spot.

About COGNITION of Davie

COGNITION is located at 119 N. Salisbury St. next door to the Davie Community Foundation in Mocksville. The museum offers nearly 5,000 square feet of interactive exhibits for ages nine and under, and a hands-on makerspace for crafting, tinkering, and creating for ages 10 and up. Admission is $5 per person for the upstairs exhibit area, with separate admission for the makerspace.

The gears at Cognition are always turning – follow them on Facebook and Instagram for additional events and updates. You can also visit, email, or call (336) 753-1046.

Mebane Foundation and Local Businesses Come Through For Davie Youth and 4-H Programs

By Jeanna Baxter White

When Mebane Foundation President Larry Colbourne saw a plea in the Enterprise for sponsors for Davie County’s 4-H summer camps he immediately asked himself, “What would Allen (Mebane) do?” — then he wrote a check. 

“Allen read the paper every morning and I remember vividly how he’d call me into his office and tell me to take a look at a story he’d just read, articles similar to the 4-H one. He’d say, ‘I think they can use our help, what do you think?’  I knew all along we were going to help the organization, but he did that so I’d understand just how good it would make me feel. Now that he’s gone, I still do that from time to time, and you know what? It still feels as good as it did that first time in his office,” Colbourne shared. 

4-H Programs Forced to Pivot Funding Sources

4-H is the largest youth development organization in North Carolina, educating hundreds of thousands of young people each year. Sponsored by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, the goal of 4-H is to teach life skills, leadership, and public speaking to youth ages 5-18.

Because of COVID, the organization, which serves nearly 400 youth annually across Davie and surrounding counties, has seen a dramatic decline in funding due to limited donations and canceled fundraisers. The biggest fundraiser, the Davie 4-H Golf Tournament, which generally brings in $4,000, had to be canceled last year. Due to guidance from NC State University, which oversees Davie County 4-H, and outdoor gathering limits, this year’s Davie 4-H Golf Tournament was also canceled.

The decision dealt a tough blow to funding for the organization’s summer programming.  

“This was a very hard decision for us,” says Danny Lough, Davie County 4-H Extension agent. “We want to ensure everyone stays safe during this time and an in-person spring fundraiser does not allow us to do that. The funds earned from the golf tournament go directly to serving youth in our community through our clubs, camps, school enrichment, and STEM programs. Thanks to these funds, we can offer all these programs at little to no cost for our Davie families, which allows every youth an opportunity for a fun and educational experience.”

Programs Are Able to Stay Low Cost or No Cost Due to Funding

One of Davie County 4-H’s largest youth opportunities is the Summer Fun Camps that serve nearly 100 children annually and provide a safe, hands-on educational opportunity for families that need summer child care. 

Davie County Farm Bureau and United Way of Davie County donate funds annually to help cover some of the costs of camps. However, without additional funding, Lough was concerned that the cost of this summer’s camps would have to increase to cover insurance and travel expenses; possibly pricing out many families traditionally served by Davie 4-H Summer Fun.

Then he had an idea – ask businesses to sponsor the Summer Fun Programs like they sponsor the golf tournament.  

The idea was a tremendous success.

In addition to a $3,000 grant from the Mebane Foundation, Davie County 4-H received donations from Barnette Heating & Air, Fuller Architecture, Fuller Welding & Fabricators, Meg Brown Home Furnishings, Mocksville Auto Pride Car Wash, TAOksm, and Trailers of the East Coast

Summer Fun & Learning

“We really appreciate the outpouring of support from the business community as well as a few individuals. Several donors have children who have gone through the Summer Fun Camps and wanted to give that opportunity to others. We actually raised more than the funds lost which has allowed us to keep the prices low and increase the number of camps offered plus add a zoo trip.”   

This summer’s 14 camps cover a wide range of topics from gardening to computer coding. Each camp will be limited to 10 participants to allow for social distancing during transportation. After-camp care will also be provided for the first time. 

Most of the camps are led by volunteers who are very knowledgeable in the field they are teaching. “Our Davie County Master Gardeners help lead our Junior Master Gardener Camp where youth learn more about gardening. A local chef teaches the cooking camps and teaches the kids cooking skills and healthy recipes. Our Davie 4-H Shooting Sports instructor, Nelson Cowden, will teach youth about firearm safety and wildlife identification,” Lough said.

“The Mebane Foundation is all about education and getting kids involved in our community and I think our summer fun programs really align to that core value. Every kid is going to have fun, every kid going to have a safe summer camp experience but at the same time walk away with new skills and knowledge gained from our camps.” 

Registration Begins April 27, 2021

Camp registration is held in person and begins at 8 a.m on Tuesday, April 27th. Interested families may stop by the Cooperative Extension office, 180 S. Main St. #210, Mocksville, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m on weekdays. There will also be an evening sign-up on May 6 from 5-7 p.m. 

Learn More

To learn more about this summer’s camps check out the camp brochure HERE.

For more information, contact Lough at or call (336) 753-6100.