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The original item was published from 10/17/2022 1:54:18 PM to 1/19/2023 12:00:03 AM.

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Posted on: October 18, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Citizens Academy provides insider look at local government

Ashley Strevel

Have you ever wanted to talk to the people working behind the scenes to improve our community? Are you curious where we’re at with the duck pond, dog park and other projects? Would you like to rappel down the side of a three-story building?

If you answered “yes,” “yes” and “can that last one be optional?” then we’d love for you to apply for our 2023 Citizens Academy. This four-week program hosted by Communications & Public Affairs gives residents a chance to learn about their City government directly from the people making things happen.

The 2023 Citizens Academy will take place 2-5 p.m. Jan. 26, Feb. 2 and Feb. 9 and 2-6 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Community Center annex, with optional hands-on activities on dates to be determined.

Citizens Academy is truly a win-win for residents and the City. The program gives participants a deeper understanding of what we do and helps to clarify common misconceptions. As part of our department’s mission to encourage informed engagement, we want to equip our residents with knowledge they can share with their friends and families, and we also want to encourage them to take the next step in community engagement by serving on our local boards and commissions. 

Here are a few of the perks of participating in Citizens Academy:

  • Learn about a wide variety of departments. Most residents can name at least some of the departments that help the City function, like Police and Fire, but what are all of the city departments and what do each of them actually do? At Citizens Academy, you’ll get to take a deep dive into each department, and you’ll also hear from the County and our other local partners.
  • Meet the people working behind the scenes. Our local government is headed up by some great people who are passionate about what they do. Participating in Citizens Academy is your chance to meet the people who make it their mission every day to improve our community. 
  • Discuss your most pressing concerns. Is there a specific topic you’ve always wondered about or an aspect of our community that you’d like to see improved? This is your chance to speak directly to our City leaders about the topics that interest you. Concluding each session, we’ll have a Q&A with each presenter to intentionally facilitate a two-way dialogue with our residents. 
  • Meet other like-minded residents. As you go on this journey, you’ll be surrounded by people of different backgrounds who also want to learn more about their local government. Each Citizens Academy cohort supports each other as we grow together and fulfill our personal goals for the program.

Residents who complete Citizens Academy will be awarded a certificate and recognized at a City Council meeting. Participants must attend every session to be recognized. Residents who complete all three of our city-led educational programs—Citizens Academy, the Civilian Responder Program and the Civilian Police Academy—will receive the Distinguished Citizen Award and also be recognized at a City Council meeting. 

There is no cost to register, but space is limited. To apply, visit The deadline is Nov. 16.

Whether you choose to join us for Citizens Academy or not, Communications & Public Affairs is here to help you stay informed about your local government. To learn more, visit

Ashley Strevel is the director of Communications & Public Affairs for the City of Victoria.

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