Town Announces September Sign Up for Citizen's Academy
Town of Southern Pines Holds Citizen’s Academy
The Town of Southern Pines, in order to expand the community ties between the Town and its citizens, is conducting a Citizen’s Academy. The goal of this program is to open conversations and communication and promote collaboration between residents and their government. The schedule will cover Town programs, services, policies, procedures and a behind the scenes look at how the government operates.
“For a number of years now individual Council members have inquired as to the possible creation of a “citizens academy” or other opportunities for our residents to learn more about what we do on a day to day basis,” commented Town Manager Reagan Parsons. “Against this backdrop, our Library Director, Lynn Thompson, approached me last month to discuss the Library’s annual thematic program and some ideas she and her staff were developing around the term “community.” This seemed to be the perfect opportunity to launch a town-wide program.”
Sessions will be held once a month from October through May, on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:00pm. The final session and award of certificates will be in June. High school students are welcome to attend. The Town will award a Certificate of Completion to all who attend at least 7 programs, one Town Council or Board meeting, and complete an evaluation of their experience.
“Any Town resident interested in attending at least 7 of the 9 the programs should complete an application,” offers Parsons. There is no cost to attend the programs. Applications will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, and programs will be limited to 20 attendees per session. Applicants who are accepted in the Academy will be guaranteed slots at each program, with any remaining spaces available for pre-registered individual attendees.
The Academy will offer citizens insight into how the Town functions through sessions held within the different Town Departments and with Town staff and elected officials. Most sessions would be held at the department itself, with the staff providing a tour and an overview of department functions, and with a question and answer session at the end of each program. As they attend each program, participants will build a guide to the Town and its services, that will help them be better informed and aid them when doing business with the Town of Southern Pines.
“Unlike many other models that push residents through a whirlwind six or eight week program, this schedule allows simply a once-a-month commitment from the resident. While some of our departments have held sessions for the public in the past, this will allow a more comprehensive picture of all Town services,” says Parsons. “Active citizens are essential for good government, and we hope that those completing the Citizen’s Academy program will become Town Ambassadors, helping their fellow citizens to navigate Town government, and advocate participation in government from within their neighborhoods.”
Applications are available at many Town department sites or may be printed from on the Town of Southern Pines website on the Forms page.
For more information call 692-8235.