Civic Connections: Hands-On Opportunities – Smiley Pete Publishing
FROM LAYTON GARLINGTONADVISOR TO 5TH DISTRICT COUNCIL MEMBER LIZ SHEEHAN
Civic Connections launched in 2021 to help Lexington residents better engage and understand their local government and all its moving parts. A great way for people to get more involved is to explore the free educational programs the city offers: the Community Environmental Academy, the Citizen Police and Fire Academy, and the Senior Intern Program.
The Community Environmental Academy (CEA) offers Fayette County residents ages 18 and older the opportunity to learn comprehensively about solid waste management, urban forestry, stormwater, energy, transportation and wastewater. This year-long program runs from June to June and “culminates in participants putting their knowledge into practice by implementing projects related to the Academy’s content, developed in partnership with city staff.” The city provides $1,500 for class-selected projects to implement, which has resulted in a number of innovative projects being completed in recent years. The 2022-23 application period has passed, but I encourage all interested parties to keep this program in mind when applications are accepted for the class of 2023-24.
The Citizen Police Academy (CPA) is “a dynamic 10-week program designed to promote better communication between citizens and the police through education”. This program is available to anyone living and/or working in Fayette County who is at least 18 years of age and has no criminal record. Classes are offered three times a year (Spring, Summer and Fall) and cover a range of subjects from across the department. Those interested in this program can learn more at www.lexingtonky.gov/citizen-police-academy.
The Citizen Fire Academy (CFA) is also a 10-week program that provides a glimpse into the inner workings of our fire service. Through a mix of classroom instruction, demonstrations and hands-on experience, participants gain valuable insight into day-to-day operations. Similar to the CPA, this program is available to people who are at least 18 years old and have no criminal record. However, this program is open to residents of surrounding counties (with Fayette County residents being preferred). For more information, visit www.lexingtonky.gov/lexington-citizens-fire-academy.
One of the city’s most popular programs is the Senior Intern Program. Aimed at Fayette County residents age 50 and older, this program allows participants to have face-to-face interactions with numerous “decision makers” across government. Several field trips are typically included, with previous classes having visited the mayor’s office, council, public safety departments, and more. Places are limited to the first 45 eligible applicants who have not participated in a previous year. Interested parties can obtain more information by contacting Kristy Stambaugh, Director of Aging and Disability Services at [email protected]
I encourage anyone interested to explore these opportunities!